Two undercover Toledo police detectives received the department’s highest recognition Friday for their service during a December shootout with violent suspects near a Monroe Street carryout.
The detectives received the Medal of Valor, the highest award obtainable by an officer who performs an exceptionally brave act that is of great danger to himself.
One detective said he was humbled by the award, but it could have been any one of his fellow officers in the same position.
“It does feel good to get recognized but in doing so, I also know that I couldn’t have done what I did without the rest of my team,” he said. “Everybody should be getting this medal because we all work so closely together, and we depend on each other.”
Two others who assisted in the incident were awarded the Meritorious Service Medial, which is given to an officer for diligence and perseverance in performing a difficult task in which a life is protected.
The four — who are part of the Special Intelligence Group — are undercover officers.
“Most of my job is not getting recognized,” one detective said.
They stood next to Chief George Kral, holding their medals and certificates, during the awards ceremony Friday in One Government Center. The room was filled with Toledo police officers and their family and friends, city officials, and members of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office and Toledo Fire Department.
On Dec. 6, detectives were conducting surveillance on three suspects at a motel after they were believed to be involved in a string of shootings, the police department reported.
The suspects — all of whom have gang affiliations — entered a vehicle and left the motel, according to police.
One of the detectives ordered a vehicle containment technique to stop the suspects — a tactic that relies on teamwork to be effectively deployed.
When one of the detectives maneuvered into the position, one of the suspects began firing.
The detectives’ partner fired the initial shots, and he then engaged the suspects as they ran from the vehicle, he said. He said the suspects were heavily armed.
“Our team trains for that, so I wouldn’t want anyone else in the department to have to deal with that,” one detective said.
The detectives returned fire, and two of the suspects, identified by police as Jayvon Wynne, 22, and Richard Morris, Jr., 26, were wounded.
The other two detectives assisted at the scene, and Mr. Wynne, of the 700 block of Blum Street, Morris, of the 1000 block of Markham Court, and Phillip Overton, II, 22, of the 1200 block of Mason Street were arrested.
Mr. Wynne and Morris, who allegedly fired shots at two officers, are charged with two counts of felonious assault and a weapons charge, while Mr. Overton, who was allegedly driving the car, is charged with complicity to felonious assault and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.
Their cases are pending.
Also recognized were detective Jason Picking and Sgt. Matthew Ayers for their service during a warrant search in the 4100 block of Caroline Avenue on Nov. 16.
The Toledo police SWAT team and members of the vice/narcotics section executed a “no knock” search warrant for drugs at the residence. As SWAT members made their way to the front door a gunman fired multiple rounds through the front door.
One of those rounds struck detective Picking in the face. Sergeant Ayers began life-saving medical assistance to the detective before he was transported to Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center.
Jamaine Hill, 38, is accused of firing the weapon. His case remains pending in court.
Detective Picking has previously declined comment, and Sergeant Ayers declined to comment Friday due to the sensitivity of the incident. He was still getting emotional just thinking about it, he said.
The department’s other award winners were:
- Letter of recognition: Officers Andrew Dlugosielski, Todd Osting, Jonathan Curtis, Stephen Bates, Daniel Revill,; Sergeants Paul Cunningham and William Cashen.
- Meritorious Service Award: Officers Michael Futrell, Jon Gruenberg, Benjamin Cousino, Shaun Conklin; and Sgt. Ward Lemke.
- Meritorious Public Service Award: Patrick Bensman and Johnnie Lawhorn
- Professional Service Award: Captain Kevin Braun; Sergeants Jeremy Carey, William Cashen, Roy Kennedy, James Taylor, Karrie Williams, William Windnagle; Officers Kimberly Darrington, Angela Knoblauch, Robert Szymanski; Detectives Richard Risher, Israel Garrett, Michael Murphy, Eric Schwalbe; Sergeants Edward Holland, Bryan Hollingsworth, and Danielle Kasprzak.
- Civilian employees: Sherry Crockett, Teresa Lopez, Denise Hart, and Christine Roudebush.
- Civilian Employee of the Year: Lisa Caughhorn.
- Patrol Officer of the Year: Officer Lon Woodard.
- Command Officer of the Year: Lt. Edward Bombrys.
In the afternoon, a ceremony was held to recognize fallen officers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
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