PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This year’s Amen Corner awards ceremony for police bravery was marked with a sense of solemnity as the tragedy in Lower Burrell brought home once again the dangers of police work.
“Years ago it was very unheard of in this area for an officer to be killed in the line of duty,” Allegheny County Police Supt. Charles Moffatt said. “In the last couple years as you well know, we’ve had six officers killed in this region.”
The awards go to those who stand up to danger — putting themselves in peril to save others. Mayor Ravenstahl presented an award to officers John Brennan and Michael Coleman who dove into the Allegheny River to save a drowning man.
KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan presented an award to Franklin Park Officer Kenneth Wise who in responding to a domestic call placed himself in between an armed assailant and a victim so that other officers could subdue the armed man.
And special tribute was paid to wounded Clairton officer James Kuzak whose gunshot wounds have consigned him to a wheelchair. He says the death of Officer Kotecki shows the supreme sacrifice of a career in law enforcement.
“We’re not just out there unfortunately writing the speeding tickets and things like that. Everything we tend to do is dangerous,” he said. “Not many other employees go to work wearing a bullet proof vest and putting a gun or two on and then expecting that that’s their day.”