By David Fleet
On May 9, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office presented the annual awards commemorating National Peace Officers Day. More than 400 gathered at
the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ auditorium in Pontiac for the recognitions. Honorees include citizens and law enforcement personnel from the metro area in a tribute to those who have in some way make a difference in their community through heroic acts or deeds. Included in those awards was the Brandon Substation and two individual Citizen Awards for their actions in assisting law enforcement.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, who presented the awards also recognized Dep. Eric Overall of the Brandon Substation who was killed while trying to stop a suspect during a police chase on Thanksgiving morning.
“In our agency the measure of a warrior is not if they ever get knocked down, it’s how they get back up and get back into the fight,” said Bouchard. “It’s the heart of a worrier and a guardian when they put themselves in harm’s way to protect others and risk their lives and lose it while doing it.
Americas have been reminded of that over the year or two and they are starting to come back to the understanding how good the men and women who put on this uniform everyday are—police, fire, military— they don’t do it because they are going to make a lot of money or they love the hours; they do it because they care, they want to make a difference. And at the end of your life that’s what matters.”
The Brandon Township Substation earned the Sheriff’s Distinguished Unit Citation.
“I’m very proud of the guys,” said Lt. Greg Glover, substation commander. “With getting this award at such a rough time in the year for us at the substation, they never wavered from their commitment to the residents of the township and the sheriff’s department . I’ve very proud of my crew for the men and women assigned to the substation. It was a rough time.”
Locally the Sheriff’s Office recognized 22 citizens for their efforts in assisting deputies.
Brandon Township resident Scott Laga assisted township deputies take a suspect into custody on Nov.15 in connection with the shooting of two people. The suspect evaded law enforcement for almost 24 hours prompting three schools closings and a massive manhunt.
Laga, discovered the suspect hiding in his van behind his home.
“I kept my gun on him and I was starting to get nervous, then the SWAT team came out of the woods and took over,” said Laga, following the incident. “They were there real fast—maybe two minutes. My adrenaline was high—I was scared before and after I confronted him—but I was really pretty level. Honestly this situation could happen to anyone.”
Glover recognized the importance of the residents assisting officers.
“It’s nice to see at a law enforcement level because there are so many residents that don’t what to get involved at anything,” said Glover. “When you have couple residents that jump in to help out on a major incident—it’s great. We are doing our job—they are putting themselves in danger on their own. Hat’s off to those citizens.”
Also receiving an award was local citizen Tim Hester.
“Tim stepped in during a foot pursuit following a bank heist on Dixie Highway in Groveland Township,” said Glover.
At approximately 3:41 p.m., Aug. 14, the Oakland County Sheriff office received a call from an employee of the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, 4 South St. Ortonville that two individuals were currently in the credit union drive-thru attempting to obtain funds fraudulently. The driver was attempting to cash a fraudulent check. Prior to contacting the Sheriff’s Operation Center, the credit union employee contacted the Brandon Township Sheriff’s Substation directly to report the incident.
Sgt. Werner, from the Brandon Substation observed the suspects from the substation and pursued the them in his police vehicle.
The pursuit entered Groveland Township and eventually, turned northbound on Dixie Highway near Grange Hall Road. While on Dixie Highway, the driver of the Cadillac made a sudden U-turn and proceeded to drive toward the pursuing sergeant’s vehicle. At that time, the driver of the Cadillac intentionally struck the sergeant’s vehicle head-on. As a result of the crash, both the suspect vehicle and the sergeant’s vehicle were disabled.
One of the suspects fled and DNR Conservation Officer Jacob Griffin and resident Hester assisted other law enforcement in a foot chase to append the suspects. As a results of their actions a major nationwide check fraud ring was busted.