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BUPD Sgt. Patrick Palmer Gets Life Saving Award

Police honor many at Fall Awards Ceremony

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University police officers and citizens were honored at the Boston University Police Department Fall Awards Ceremony on October 28. Photos by Chitose Suzuki

Almost a year ago, the Boston University Police Department received a phone call from one of its emergency call boxes about someone in distress near the Charles River.

At approximately 12:14 a.m. on October 31, 2009, a concerned Rebecca Rasmussen (SAR’10) told police she heard cries coming from near the BU Sailing Pavilion. Sgt. Patrick Palmer (right) of the BUPD, who had joined the force less than a year before, was working his usual midnight shift when the call came in. Palmer raced to the scene.

“We get a lot of calls about people playing around in the water,” Palmer said, “but you never know what it’s going to be. When I met the caller and she said there was screaming for help, I knew someone was in trouble.”

After meeting Rasmussen at the call box, Palmer ran across Storrow Drive to the path along the Charles that runs under the BU Bridge. A quick sweep of the river with his flashlight revealed nothing. Preparing to dive in to search the water, Palmer took off his duty belt and climbed over the railing, at which point the male victim surfaced.

“I grabbed him as quick as I could, because with the lighting I knew I might not be able to find him again,” Palmer said. Pulling him to shore, he administered first aid, treating signs of hypothermia until Boston EMTs arrived.

The sergeant was honored with a commendation award for his heroic actions at the BUPD Fall Awards Ceremony on October 28. Palmer also received a Life Saving Award for intervening in a suicide attempt in the Conrail train yard behind 300 Babcock St. He detained the suicidal person until EMTs arrived to transport him to a hospital for psychological observation.

“I’m honored,” Palmer said, “but as far as I’m concerned, it was just part of my job. It’s our duty to help people that need assistance.”

Rasmussen was given a citizen commendation award at the ceremony for her part in the river rescue.

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins, who presented the awards, said Palmer’s actions were “an outstanding performance of duty. He put himself in harm’s way. It’s a wonderful thing.”

The ceremony included awards to several other people for bravery, quick thinking, and contributions to the University.

Sgt. Lawrence Cuzzi received a commendation award for tracking down the thief of a $5,000 painting at the Hotel Commonwealth in January using video footage and a credit card receipt.

Sgt. Jack St. Hilaire was given a commendation award for serving as the accreditation manager responsible for BUPD’s certification with the Massachusetts Accreditation Commission.

Officer Melissa Lombardo a received commendation award for implementing a new evidence tracking software program that modernized BUPD evidence management and prepared the department for accreditation.

Commendation awards went to Officers William Campanella and Robert McCarthy for making two separate motor vehicle stops in September that led to the arrest of individuals wanted for a stabbing and assault and battery with a wrench.

BUPD honored Jennifer Hwang (SED’12), Horacio Frydman, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of biology, Shane Kocher, a College of Communication employee, and Brandon Huxley (ENG’13) with citizen commendation awards for chasing down and apprehending a thief who stole Hwang’s iPhone in June.

Citizen commendation awards were also given to BU Telecommunications project manager Cheri Maw, BU Information Services & Technology desktop service specialist Joseph Salmeri, and BUPD evening dispatcher Michael Diluiso for helping implement a new fire, burglary, and panic alarm system that allows BUPD to monitor alarms, review reports, and connect live to camera surveillance units.

J. Larry Mahoney, BUPD special project manager, received a distinguished service award for coordinating a single point of contact for University departments when they have issues with alarm systems, saving the University thousands of dollars.

Stephen DiMarco, former owner of T’s Pub, was given a citizen commendation award for providing BUPD with resources during various critical incidents, such as weather emergencies and power outages.

Robbins said that most BU police officers see their actions as ordinary. “They’re very humble,” he said, “but it’s important to recognize these individuals so what seems routine to our police officers is made known to the whole community.”

Brendan Gauthier can be reached at btgauth@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on BUPD Sgt. Patrick Palmer Gets Life Saving Award

  • A BU Mom on 11.03.2010 at 11:51 am

    Thanks BUPD

    Congrats to all who were honored and those who go about their daily work not receiving special kudos! Boston is an incredible city to attend college in but as parents, we do worry just a little. Knowing the integrity of the BUPD staff helps me feel more at ease. KUDOS to all!

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