May 21, 2013

Daily Times Chronicle: Officer Gibbons earns ‘Badge of Bravery’

BOSTON - The honors and accolades to Woburn Police Officer Mark Gibbons keep on coming as state and national leaders recognized the hazards of being a police officer as well as bravery in the line of duty.

In Boston on Monday, the entire Gibbons family showed at the John J. Moakley Federal Courthouse at One Courthouse Way and went to the third floor courtroom for even more honors for the heroic officer.

In formal ceremonies with much pomp and circumstance, Officer Gibbons was given another award in a Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Ceremony.
Among those at the ceremony were U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator William M. Cowan, Congressman Edward F. Markey from the 5th Congressional District where Gibbons resides and additional remarks by U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

Officer Gibbons, as they pointed out, on Sept. 6, 2011 went to a "take-over-style jewelry store robbery,"which resulted in injuries to fellow Officer Robert DeNapoli. Following the shooting of Officer DeNapoli, it was noted, Officer Gibbons responded to the area of the suspect's last known location, (Mayflower Road) at the Four Corners in West Woburn. Here, one of the two suspects fired at Officer Gibbons "multiple times putting three rounds into the driver's side of his cruiser."

In turn, Officer Gibbons was able to strike the suspect multiple times and then disengaged temporarily. He then exited his cruiser and took up a tactical position, it was pointed out. More gunfire was exchanged and ultimately Officer Gibbons was able "to neutralize the suspect."

"I really wish they could have included Bobby (DeNapoli)," remarked Gibbons after the ceremony. "He was so much a part of it all.

And on the same vein, Gibbons felt "a joint award would have been appropriate - very appropriate. Bob really deserved it."

Also, Gibbons pointed out, a host of others should get individual awards or joint awards. As an example, he pointed out, Officer Dean Sullivan arrived at the scene and had to protect Bobby DeNapoli while there was still gunfire in the area. The Woburn Fire Department, too, he said, should come in for some major praise "as they came right in to help Bobby right in the line of fire." "They, too, should get some recognition."

Officer Gibbons said he didn't know until just lately that he had been even put in for an award, or the scope of the award. Woburn Police Chief Robert J. Ferullo Jr. had put him in for the award. "I was pretty surprised," Gibbons remarked. "It's a case that we don't even think medals in Woburn and don't get medals in Woburn as a rule but here it all came about again."

In the incident, Officer Gibbons had radioed in his position and maintained cover over the wounded suspect, issuing verbal commands, and finally taking the suspect into custody.

According to U.S. Attorney, the Congressional Badge of Bravery was for: "Every day, federal, state and local law enforcement officers engaged in exceptional acts of bravery while in the line of duty. Often, such acts place the officers involved at personal risk of injury or result in their sustaining a physical injury. To honor these acts of bravery, Congress passed the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Act of 2008 (public Law 110-298) creating the Federal Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery and the State and Local Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery. The act establishes an award to honor exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement officers. The medals are awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and are presented by the recipients' Congressional representatives."

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