SIDNEY — Four police officers who rescued the driver of a semi rig who was pinned inside his smoking vehicle were recognized at the Sidney City Council meeting Monday night.
James Jennings and Brian Boyd received lifesaving awards and Kyle Lambdin and Andrew Shappie received letters of commendation for their work at a June 4 incident on Interstate 75, south of Fair Road. Council and the audience, which included the officers’ family members and fellow officers, applauded the award recipients after the presentation.
“I would like to commend all four officers for their courage, professionalism and teamwork. Officer Jennings and Officer Boyd showed their professionalism and courage for taking action even at a risk to their own health to help the pinned driver,” Police Chief Will Balling said in his report to council. “They worked quickly and together as a team to remove the driver. Officers Shappie and Lambdin also quickly responded and took positions to support their fellow officers in case they were needed.
“As officers we receive countless hours of practical training and instruction during our career on a wide variety of topics. Your actual reactions are unknown until you respond to this type of a situation. I am very proud of my officers and their ability to recognize the seriousness of the event and to quickly respond as a team.”
Jennings responded to the accident scene after being notified by passing motorists, Balling said. He found a semi rig hauling a tanker had rolled over. He notified dispatchers so that Fire & Emergency Services and other officers could respond. Jennings then ran to the truck to check for occupants, and found the driver was injured and trapped inside the cab. He also saw that the engine was smoking and it appeared a fuel line had broken and was spraying fuel on the engine.
Boyd arrived a short time later. He and Jennings decided to remove the driver, as they were concerned a fire might erupt. They also did not know what was inside the tanker.
Boyd turned off the engine and he and Jennings began removing objects from the cab to free the driver. Jennings pulled the seat out and Boyd freed the driver’s leg from under the steering wheel. They then were able to move the driver to safety.
Lambdin and Shappie arrived and stood by with fire extinguishers while the other officers extricated the driver.
All these officers’ actions took place in less than five minutes, Balling noted.
Jennings has been a member of the police force 17 years; Lambdin, 20 years; and Shappie, 14 years. Boyd retired in June after 25 years.
Balling also introduced council to the Police Department’s newest officer, Robert Hurd, who was hired July 28.
Hurd is a graduate of Northmont High School. He completed his Ohio Peace Officer Basic training at Clark State Community College in 2008. He was hired by the New Paris Police Department in 2009. He continued to work there until coming to Sidney.
Hurd is married and has two children. He and his wife, Heather, are expecting their third child in September.
Balling told council that hiring new officers is “one of the most important things that the chief of police and the department can do … so that we can put our best foot forward over the next 25 to 30 years.”
“The Sidney Police Department’s core principles are professionalism, integrity, courage and compassion,” Balling said. “During the interview process, Robert demonstrated those values. One of the questions Robert was asked was to give an example of good conduct of an officer. He replied, ‘I believe that good conduct of an officer is one that works with the community and keeps the civilian’s rights in mind. I believe that the officer should show respect, have integrity, be honest, and to speak with the public as if they were their family.” These are the exact values we want from our officers.
With everything going on across the country, this is what we want our officers to be: to be part of the community, to work with the community.”
Hurd is currently assigned to second shift and his field training officer will be Officer Matt Dembski.
Council and the audience welcomed Hurd with applause.
The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.