Police chief honors Federal Way citizen heroes | Duo saves crash victim, woman spots kidnapper, pair fosters safer city

Five citizens were honored by Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson during the Sept. 6 city council meeting. Wilson awarded two Police Chief Citizen Citation awards, two Life Saving Awards, and one Police Chief Citizen Commendation awards.

Life Saving Award

Wilson awarded Ashleigh Ligon and Nicole Battles with Life Saving Awards for their actions on May 5, after a serious car accident took place in the 400 block of Dash Point Road. Wilson described the scene that Federal Way Police Deputy Chief Andy Hwang saw as he approached the scene that day.

“One of our officers, Officer Hwang, was arriving on the scene. He observed two citizens who had just got there. They went right to the accident victim. They climbed into the vehicle, which was overturned, and they found the driver, who was unconscious and had the seat belt wrapped around their neck.”

Ligon and Battles, in their attempts to help the driver, noticed that he stopped breathing. The duo, along with Hwang, extricated the driver from the car and began administering CPR until the paramedics arrived.

“Their unselfish acts, and willingness to assist, saved this driver’s life,” Wilson said.

Police Chief’s Citizen Commendation

LaJohnna Greenwood was honored by Wilson for her actions on April 11, 2011. An Amber Alert went out that day for an 8-year-old girl who was abducted from a park near Olympic View Elementary. Greenwood, who had signed up for Amber Alerts through text message, received the alert while working her job at Target.

The 8-year-old and her abductor visited Greenwood’s store that day, and Greenwood immediately phoned police, which led to the man’s capture and the girl’s safe return to her family.

“She recognized the suspect and the victim in her tour of duty, and called 911. That information led to the arrest of the suspect in this case,” Wilson said. “The citation says the following: Awarded for assisting law enforcement with an Amber Alert for observation and involvement which helped capture and remove a dangerous predator from society, and which rescued a young victim.”

Police Chief Citizen Citations

Tom Pierson, the former CEO of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, and Robert McKenzie, the chair of the Chief’s Call organization in Federal Way, were the recipients of the “police chief citizen citation” awards. Wilson gave a few brief thoughts on both men and why they earned the honors.

“He has been a consummate supporter of the Federal Way Police Department, and the city of Federal Way,” Wilson said about Pierson. “He has chaired our Safe City board of directors … which is our partnership with the Federal Way Chamber, the Federal Way Police Department, and the city of Federal Way to provide Internet communication and camera systems to catch criminals and crime.”

Outside of that function, Wilson said Pierson has been an active participant of the Advancing Leadership program at the Chamber, and also of the “Adopt a Family” program that runs during the Holiday season. Pierson now serves as CEO of the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce.

“There is just a tremendous relationship between him, the police department and the Chamber of Commerce and his staff, and that was a function of his leadership,” Wilson said.

McKenzie has played an important role in fostering communication between the police and the greater community, Wilson said.

“He serves as the chair of the Chief’s Call, which is a community task force made up of representatives of the community,” he said. “(It) has a very focused mission. The purpose of this task force is to act as a communications channel and access mechanism between the chief and the citizens of Federal Way. The intent is not provide oversight, rather it is to provide insight, which is an essential precursor to leadership and community development.”

Wilson said McKenzie has been able to help foster relationships between FWPD and citizens because of the trust that the community has for McKenzie.

“He has served as a designated spokesman for me as the chief, on community relations,” Wilson said. “There are some issues where the chief shouldn’t be talking about certain things, but to have the chair of this group in the community talking about those things, it becomes more appropriate in terms of citizen information.”

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