It was an early summer night in 2010 when Chelsea Police Officers Felix Rivera and Joseph Capistran were dispatched to Marlboro Street for a breaking and entering call.
It was the kind of call they’d probably responded to without incident hundreds of times before, but that June night was quite different.
As they entered the residence at 41 Marlborough St. around 11 p.m. on June 19, 2010, they immediately found themselves in the cross-hairs of an armed conflict.
There were multiple armed people who they knew to be very dangerous, and one of them had a loaded .38 calibre handgun pointed directly at the officers – and he wasn’t scared to use it.
The officers confronted two of the armed men and were able to prevent them from shooting.
Several innocent victims were standing alongside the officers and were in great danger as well.
After several tense moments, both officers were able to apprehend the armed men and diffuse the situation without anyone getting injured or fired upon.
For that bravery in the face of certain death, both officers were awarded the ‘Medal of Valor,’ the highest state honor in policing for bravery. Both received their awards at a special State House ceremony two weeks ago during the annual Hanna Awards – a handful of awards for bravery and courage that are given annually to police officers from around the state.
However, the Chelsea Police didn’t stop with just one award.
Yet another officer, Thomas McLain Jr., also received the ‘Medal of Valor,’ an unprecedented series of awards for just one department.
On September 23, 2010, McLain responded to a dangerous armed home invasion at 44 Lafayette St.
As he arrived, the armed and dangerous subject was fleeing the scene.
Instead of waiting for backup, McLain took out after the man – chasing him through the streets and finally catching up to him.
At gunpoint, McLain was able to apprehend the man despite him having a loaded .357 Magnum that he was ready to use.
For that, McLain also received the coveted ‘Medal of Valor.’
Chief Brian Kyes and City Manager Jay Ash expressed great pride in having three officers win the top state honors and said it was a testament to the professionalism and courage of the entire force.
The Nov. 18th ceremony honored 27 law enforcement officers statewide, including 23 local police officers from various cities and towns.
“In recognition of the courageous and selfless actions these heroes displayed, Massachusetts owes them a debt of gratitude,” said Gov. Deval Patrick at the ceremony. “This award recognizes officers whose actions have demonstrated bravery above and beyond expectations and for that they are to be commended.”