Governor Parson Awards Missouri Public Safety Medals to First Responders and Civilians for Heroic Actions in 2018
JEFFERSON CITY – Governor Mike Parson awarded Missouri Public Safety Medals to a total of 18 first responders and 6 civilians for heroic and live-saving actions in 2018.
The awards are the state’s highest recognitions for first responders working as individuals and as members of teams during critical incidents. The civilians were honored for taking on extreme risks during critical incidents to support first responders and the safety of the public.
“The Missouri first responders we honored today performed heroically, decisively, and with great skill in life-threatening situations, risking their own safety to save lives and protect the public,” Governor Parson said. “They are outstanding examples of the difference committed public safety professionals make in communities across Missouri.”
“The private citizens we honored performed extraordinarily courageous acts,” Governor Parson continued. “They confronted violence, risked being shot to support law enforcement officers, entered a burning building to save a fire victim, and performed heroic, life-saving assistance during the Branson duck boat tragedy. It was truly an honor to stand with all of these heroes today.”
Awarded to a group of public safety officers in recognition of acts above and beyond the call of normal duty during a critical incident in which the collective performance of the group was essential to the successful resolution of the incident.
Cody B. Ross, Jason M. Huff, Cade A. Thompson, Andrew W. Fritzinger, Missouri Department of Corrections; Richard W. Bashor, Cameron Police Department; and Bradley R. Muck, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop H – At 8 p.m. on May 12, 2018, approximately 209 offenders in two dining halls in the Central Services Building at the Crossroads Correctional Center refused to leave and stated they were staging a protest. The Corrections team notified all housing units to go on lock down, which prevented an escalation to other areas of the facility. Conditions quickly deteriorated when offenders breached the kitchen area, obtained potentially dangerous cooking utensils, and began vandalizing the kitchen. Offenders broke out windows and damaged doors and locks, allowing them to access unsecured areas of the facility and do even more destruction. The correctional center’s food service employees, corrections officers, and other staff were at risk. Corrections Supervisor I (Captain) Ross, Corrections Officer III (Lieutenant) Huff, Corrections Supervisor I (Captain) Thompson, and Corrections Officer III (Lieutenant) Fritzinger acted decisively, first attempting to deescalate the situation and then moving swiftly to evacuate staff members as the threat level increased. Corrections officers bravely put their own safety at risk as they inserted themselves into volatile areas to extricate personnel and remove them from the building. In a turbulent situation that could have easily devolved into chaos, the Corrections team tactically deployed pepper spray and tear gas and secured doors. They helped evacuate and secure 131 surrendering offenders, containing inside the 78 holdouts, who caused extensive structural and property damage. Because of their brave actions, no staff members were injured, and no offenders sustained serious injuries.
Reached at home, Chief Bashor knew the potential for escalation at the prison. While en route to Crossroads, he activated the Cameron Police Department’s tactical team and mobile command center. As more details developed, he requested and received back up from eight sheriff and police departments as well as ambulance and fire departments. The law enforcement officers and Corrections Emergency Response Teams secured the perimeter of the institution. Operating from the incident command center, Chief Bashor received the first phone contact from the offenders and played a critical leadership role throughout the incident. Chief Bashor’s decision to muster over 100 law enforcement officers undoubtedly led to the offenders’ decision not to escalate further.
Trooper Muck, who was part of the Highway Patrol response, reported to the incident command center. Offenders had just made contact with Chief Bashor by phone. Trooper Muck, who had only weeks before completed hostage negotiator training, established rapport over the phone with two unidentified offenders. Working through the night, Trooper Muck listened as the offenders at first shouted their complaints all while gathering information that he relayed to Warden Ronda Pash, including the number of offenders, their locations, and injuries. Remaining calm and in control throughout the disturbance, Trooper Muck continued to establish trust and ultimately got the remaining 78 offenders to return to a dining hall and peacefully end the disturbance. Corrections officers then escorted the offenders to administrative segregation without incident.
Since the incident, Cade A. Thompson has been promoted to Corrections Supervisor II (Major), Andrew W. Fritzinger has been promoted to Corrections Supervisor I (Captain), and Cody B. Ross has retired.