2014 Valor Award Winners
Aiman Salih - Gold Medal Meritorious Service
Emergency Dispatch Aide
On May 13, 2013, Emergency Dispatch Aide (EDA) Aiman Salih received a 911 call from a citizen reporting that he had killed his wife and his daughter and tried to kill his son. The male then advised that he planned on taking his own life. Another 911 call from the caller's son confirmed that this was not merely an idle threat and the caller had every intention of killing himself.
EDA Salih knew that there was a great potential for the caller or a responding officer to suffer a significant injury or death. He carefully engaged the caller in conversation to gain his trust and to obtain vital pertinent information on the condition of his victims, his location in the house, the location of weapons and any other information such as his extensive military background that would assist the police officers who were positioned around the outside of the residence.
For forty-seven minutes, EDA Salih remained focused on keeping the caller from taking his own life. At the appropriate times in the conversation, EDA Salih spoke of his own experiences and reminded the caller of the other family members who would be affected by his death. In spite of some very stressful points in the conversation, EDA Salih was able to convince the caller to end the situation peacefully.
EDA Salih immediately updated the CAD to ensure new information was accessible to officers on the scene. He coordinated the eventual surrender of the caller giving him detailed instructions on how his apprehension would take place and explained how no one would be harmed if he followed his instructions. It is clear that the actions of EDA Salih were directly responsible for the prevention of further injury or death.
Omayra Mendoza - Silver Medal Meritorious Service
Senior Emergency Dispatch Aide
Senior Emergency Dispatch Aide (Sr. EDA) Omayra Mendoza is a certified Spanish Interpreter in addition to her normal duties. On August 31, 2013 she received a 911 call from a Spanish speaking resident reporting that a child from the neighborhood came running to his home and had serious bleeding from a wound on his head. Because the child did not speak Spanish and was hysterical, the resident could not tell Sr. EDA Mendoza what had happened.
Speaking back and forth in Spanish with the resident and in English with the child, Sr. EDA Mendoza was able to determine that the eight year-old child had been attacked by the ex-girlfriend of his father and that she had apparently tried to kill him before he was able to get away from her. Sr. EDA Mendoza knew that she had to determine if the attacker was still posing a threat and she knew she had to get the serious bleeding under control in order to save the child’s life.
Sr. EDA Mendoza was able to quickly calm the child by speaking to him with compassion and empathy. This helped to reduce the bleeding and enabled her to get more information about the attacker for responding officers. She continued to communicate with both individuals and was able to provide specific dispatch life-support instructions to the resident in Spanish that enabled him to control the bleeding until paramedics could arrive. Also, based on the information provided, the police officers were able to take the child’s attacker into custody.
The actions of Sr. EDA Omayra Mendoza prevented the child from suffering permanent injury or death. By gathering and relaying important pertinent information no further harm was done to anyone involved in this tragic incident and the alleged attacker was apprehended.
Samantha Walker - Silver Medal Meritorious Service
Emergency Dispatcher II
In the evening of Saturday, December 7, 2013, Emergency Dispatcher (ED) II Samantha Walker was assigned to the H sector talkgroup when she received a call for an armed robbery in progress in District Heights, Maryland. Once units arrived on scene to establish a perimeter, they observed the suspects fleeing the store and provided a full description of the suspects, a partial description of their vehicle and direction of travel. Within seconds, the police officers on scene informed ED II Walker that they had a bail out with shots fired and that one of the suspects and one of the officers was down. She acknowledged the message, entered a call for emergency medical services, advised the officers on the scene that help was on the way, she began to check on their safety and made notification to her supervisor.
ED II Walker continued to track the location of each officer and announced pertinent information on the two suspects that had avoided apprehension. When numerous citizens were observed running out of a business, ED II Walker assisted officers on the scene with coordination of a building lock down which resulted in another apprehension and another request for emergency medical services for an officer that was suffering an asthma attack.
ED II Walker soon received and dispatched another call for a shooting in a nearby neighborhood. She remained aware of the location of numerous officers at several locations and assisted with the latest incident as it progressed into a pursuit of the final suspect from the armed robbery. Tragically, this ended with a significant fatal accident that once again required ED II Walker to remain calm, make sound decisions and get the correct help to units in the field in order to prevent further injury or death.
Lindsey Woolery - Bronze Medal Meritorious Service
Emergency Dispatcher II
In the evening of February 20, 2013, Emergency Dispatcher (ED) II Lindsey Woolery was the emergency dispatcher assigned to the Fire/EMS operations talkgroup when she received a call for a pedestrian struck in Oxon Hill, Maryland. At the same time, a Fire/EMS Department command officer notified her by radio that he was on the scene of two pediatric patients struck by a vehicle in the same area.
ED II Woolery confirmed that these two emergencies were one in the same and based on her experience; she located and immediately dispatched the additional units necessary to ensure the two children would receive appropriate and timely emergency medical care. Knowing that rapid transport to a medical facility would be a key to survival, she contacted local hospitals to determine their capability to handle pediatric trauma patients and make them aware that they could be the receiving hospital. This information was provided to the units on the scene as they were completing patient assessment and preparing to transport the children.
From the time she was first aware of the emergency until the units had completed transport, ED II Woolery anticipated their next request and took decisive action to support them. This was just one of seventeen calls for emergency service involving heart attacks, medical emergencies, and fire emergencies that she was coordinating all at the same time on her radio talkgroup. The actions of EDII Lindsey Woolery went well beyond what was required. Her ingenuity, compassion and dedication to serve significantly increased these children’s ability to survive this horrific incident.