Oct 28, 2015
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They confronted trigger-happy suspects, stifled gang activity and threw themselves into all sorts of other danger to help rid the city of drugs, violence and weapons.

And in multiple incidents this year and last year, officers were credited with using CPR to revive pulse-less citizens, including a suicidal man who had hung himself on a tree.

In total, eight Richmond police officers were recognized last week for exhibiting bravery and skill at the Richmond Police Department’s inaugural Medal Award Ceremony.

In the tree suicide attempt, which occurred this year, Officers Andrew Domenici and Michael Pagaling immediately cut the man down so that Officer Pagaling could clear the victim’s airway and initiate CPR.

“Because of the officers’ actions, the male regained a strong pulse and he ultimately survived,” police said.

It was just one of several examples of incredible police work, police said.

The Richmond Police Officer’s Association, which sponsored the awards event, says it hopes its finest members are recognized every year from now on.

Here are the RPD’s descriptions of the award winners:

Courage and Bravery Medal

Sergeant J. Lopez, Officer R. Branch and Officer D. Reina (pictured below) – In February of 2013, all three officers responded to a call from a female who said her estranged boyfriend was outside her residence, armed with a firearm. While responding, the boyfriend fired a shot. All three officers expedited their response to confront the armed individual. The officers arrived and confronted the subject which resulted in his arrest.

couragebravery.10-28Meritorious Achievement Medal

— Officer M. Anderson (pictured in middle below) – In 2013, numerous shootings occurred in Richmond. Detective Anderson identified the local street gang responsible for most of the gun violence. Anderson worked tirelessly on tracking, surveilling, and investigating all the members of the violent gang. As a result, 25 search warrants were served, 21 suspects were arrested and charged for attempted murder, conspiracy, and various other illegal firearm and drug charges. Furthermore, because of Anderson’s investigation, RPD detectives were able to intercede in at least 3 shootings and seize 17 firearms.

meritachievement.10-28— Officer M. Castillo (pictured below) – In 2013, Officer Castillo was assigned to the department’s Narcotic’s Unit. He identified one of the city’s major drug trafficker and conducted surveillance. The suspect conducted his own counter-surveillance, providing the detective with additional challenges. Based on Castillo’s observations, he was able to articulate the sequence of events and author a search warrant for the suspect’s residences. The search of the residences yielded 12 pounds of methamphetamine and 7 ounces of cocaine hydrochloride, with a combined street value of over $545,000.00. The suspect was also arrested and held to answer on various charges.

meritachievement2.10-28Life Saving Medal

— Officer Andrew Domenici (pictured below) – In 2015, Officer Andrew Domenici responded to a report of a person who was down on the ground and unresponsive. Domenici arrived and saw a male lying on the ground with a bicycle on top of him. Domenici removed the bicycle, and checked for vital signs, but there was no pulse. Officer Domenici immediately went into action and performed CPR on the male for 10 minutes. When the ambulance arrived, the male had a pulse and ultimately survived from the fall because of Officer Domenici.

lifesaving2.10-28— Officer Andrew Domenici and Officer Michael Pagaling (pictured below) – In 2015, Officer Domenici was Officer Pagaling’s field training officer. They responded to a report of a possible suicide, where the male was hanging from a tree. When they arrived, they saw the male suspended from a tree by a ligature around his neck. The officers cut the ligature and lowered the male onto the ground. Officer Domenici was unable to find a pulse, so Officer Pagaling cleared the male’s airway and initiated the CPR process. Because of the officers’ actions, the male regained a strong pulse and he ultimately survived.

lifesaving.10-28Meritorious Service Medal

— Officer Darrell Graham – In 2014, Officer Graham responded to a traffic accident where the driver of the involved car was unconscious behind the wheel. Graham arrived and was unable to find a pulse on the driver. Officer Graham took the driver out of the car and performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. Graham was able to help the driver regain a light pulse and he was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the driver passed away due to complications from a massive heart attack.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.