Mpls. police honor dozens of cops and civilians for heroism

Janee Harteau and William Gregory
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau gives Minneapolis police officer William Gregory a Medal of Valor for his part in arresting two murder suspects in 2015. Photographed Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Minneapolis, Minn.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

They stanched horrible wounds, pulled people from bridge railings and talked one man out of firing the gun he held to his head. That's just a sampling of the on-the-street heroism in 39 officers and 12 civilians the Minneapolis police recognized at its annual awards ceremony Tuesday.

Fifteen of the awards were for saving lives last year.

"MPD officers respond to an average of over 400,000 calls annually. This is just a small snapshot of the heroic and honorable work of the MPD every day," said police chief Janee Harteau.

"In a time when communities across our country voice concern of police conduct and police community relations, I am honored to highlight the other daily reality that is the incredible teamwork trust and partnership of our community members with our officers."

Harteau recognized north Minneapolis officer William Gregory for two incidents last April. In one, he was working off-duty at Pizza Luce downtown, when a man smashed a plate glass window and severed a major artery in his arm.

"The man had no idea he had severed his brachial artery and was in danger of bleeding to death," Harteau said. Gregory wrestled with the intoxicated man, both to apprehend him and try to stop the bleeding. Another officer, Sherry Appledorn, applied a tourniquet to the injured man, saving his life.

In the second incident, Gregory was on his way to another off-duty job when he heard a report of a double fatal shooting and happened on two suspects.

"He's a good cop. He works hard. He sees two people running, and he's pretty sure he has the right two," said Inspector Mike Friestleben, who commands the department's Fourth Precinct. He said Gregory chased down and captured one of the suspects, and even noted where he'd pulled out and dropped a gun, hoping to dispose of the weapon.

"Officer Gregory's life was definitely in danger there," Friestleben said.

Gregory's description of the second suspect and video of the suspect getting on a Metro Transit bus helped identify him. "Officer Gregory's great efforts on the radio and descriptions led to an easy ID on the second suspect, getting him secure and keeping our community safe," Friestleben said.

Others were recognized for, among other things, intervening in deadly domestic disputes, helping a gravely injured trick-or-treater hit by a car, and breaking up a prescription drug ring.

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