The Ludlow Board of Selectmen recognize police Lt. David Irwin, officers Michael Whitney, Ryan Churchill, Timothy Goodchild and Adam Roach, and dispatchers Samantha Jordan, Linda Zina and Michael Lynch with commendations for their courage in assisting a wounded Wilbraham officer on Jan. 20. Whitney and Goodchild, and dispatcher Zina not present.
Reminder Publishing photo by Sarah Heinonen

LUDLOW — Six Ludlow police officers and three dispatchers were recognized at the April 16 Ludlow Board of Selectmen meeting for their bravery in coming to the assistance of an injured officer in a dangerous situation.

On the night of Jan. 20, officer Adam Roach explained, a call for assistance came over the scanner from a Wilbraham officer who had responded to a domestic disturbance call. He said the voice on the radio was “frantic” and he headed to the neighboring town to help the officer with the situation.

At the meeting, Board of Selectmen member and retired police officer Derek DeBarge said that for officers, “There’s two things you hate to hear. One is ‘shots fired’ … and the other is ‘officer down.’”

At the Carriage Drive scene, Wilbraham police officer Cameron Prosperi had been shot through the door of the home and the suspect’s wife and teen had locked themselves in an upstairs bedroom. Ludlow K-9 Officer Michael Whitney arrived on scene within two minutes. He used a trauma bandage to administer first aid to Cameron. Roach soon arrived, along with Ludlow police Lt. David Irwin and officers Ryan Churchill and Timothy Goodchild. They secured a perimeter around the home, with the knowledge that an armed suspect’s whereabouts were unknown.

“There [was] no way to do it without risking safety,” said Ludlow police Chief Daniel Valadas. Roach reflected, “It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t.”

Several other law enforcement departments also responded to the situation. The two hostages were able to climb out of a window and onto a lower roof, where they were helped down to the ground safely by the Massachusetts State Police Stop Team. The suspect was found wounded in the home and taken into custody.

The aid from the Ludlow Police Department would not have been possible without coordination and support by emergency dispatchers Samantha Jordan, Linda Zina and Michael Lynch. Working in emergency dispatch “is a different kind of chaos” from what officers experience, DeBarge told the people at the Board of Selectman meeting, which included the families of those being recognized. He described the hectic nature of being surrounded by ringing phones and constantly updating screens, all while providing help to people in their community and officers at the scene in Wilbraham.

Valadas said he feels “tremendous pride” in the officers and dispatchers involved in the incident. “I can’t think of a higher calling than responding to a fellow officer.” He credited the tactical training of the officers, three of whom were formerly in the military, with helping to save Prosperi’s life.

Wilbraham police Chief Ed Lennon described the teamwork between neighboring towns as “vital.” He said police departments are often understaffed and when a “rare, but serious emergency” occurs, such as the incident on Carraige Drive, “We all pitch in to help each other.”

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