27 correctional officers honored

Baker says officials don't get credit they deserve


TWENTY-SEVEN CORRECTIONAL officers and one K9 were honored Friday at the State House as correctional employees of the year, each one recognized for acts that went above and beyond the call of duty.

“What happens behind the walls of the institutions you work in, where in many cases you are in enormously close proximity with some very dangerous people many of whom literally have nothing to lose day in and day out, creates a dynamic and environment that is enormously challenging,” Gov. Charlie Baker told the officers. “And because so much of this happens behind the wall in one place or another, you often don’t get the public recognition and the credit for what you do every day that you deserve.”

Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Creed and his wife Laura were recognized by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Friday for their heroic actions during a stabbing attack in the Silver City Galleria in Taunton earlier this month. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]
Baker addressed a House chamber full of correctional officers, other law enforcement officers, friends and family members, and stressed that correctional officers do “really complicated, really difficult” work that often puts them in harm’s way each day.

“My definition of a tough day at the office is a heckuva lot different than yours. I don’t worry — mostly because I’m surrounded by more troopers than I’ll ever figure out what to do with — whether or not someone is going to club me from behind, or stab me, or punch me, or try to hurt me,” the governor said. “But for many of you, that’s every day.”

Among the awards conveyed Friday was the Medal of Honor, which is presented to an officer who “demonstrates actions above and beyond the call of duty, in the face of certain and imminent danger to life and limb,” according to the Department of Correction.

Sergeant Jonathan Credit of the Essex Sheriff’s Department was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Feb. 21, 2015 that helped apprehend a shooting suspect who had fled Gloucester police. According to DOC, Credit was working a snow removal detail when he heard a radio transmission from Gloucester that there had been a shooting and the suspect had fled in a silver Mercedes Benz.

Credit saw a vehicle matching the description drive through the work zone where he was stationed and pursued the suspect until the suspect pulled over. Credit then got out of his cruiser, took cover, drew his service weapon and ordered the suspect not to move. When backup arrived on the scene, the suspect was ordered out of the vehicle and arrested, DOC said. A gun was found in the suspect’s jacket.

Before the awards were handed out, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito recognized Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Creed for a more recent act of heroism.

Creed was off duty and dining with his wife at the Bertucci’s in the Silver City Galleria in Taunton earlier this month when a man who had already stabbed several people entered the restaurant and attacked others.

Creed, who was in civilian clothes at the time, “discharged a single round from his personal firearm, bringing the attack to an end,” according to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. Creed fatally wounded the attacker, who had killed two people. He and his wife Laura, a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, then began to administer first aid to the victims.

“If you can just even imagine for a moment how these two individuals were able to take that moment and turn it into what they did was absolutely incredible,” Polito said. “And then after securing that room and that place, to go on and administer First Aid to others in that room, we are eternally gratefully and thankful.”

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Though Friday’s ceremony was intended to honor the 28 recipients for 2015, Baker told those who attended that it would take a much longer ceremony to aptly recognize all the bravery, heroism and dedication among correctional officers.

Lieutenant John Kilrain and K9 Lolek of the Norfolk Sheriff’s Department were awarded a meritorious recognition Friday for their actions on July 2, 2015 in finding a human scent and scouring Needham Town Forest for a suicidal individual. Kilrain and K9 Lolek located the person and were able to call for emergency medical help. [PHOTOS: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

“There is simply no doubt in my mind that for those stories that we recognize today, there are many more that happened throughout the course of the year that are just as significant, just as heroic and just as game-changing as the ones we’re recognizing here,” he said.