Officer of the Year honored by 7th PDAC

An exceptional cop: Inspector Benjamin Naish, Lt. Mike Root and 7th PDAC chairman Mike Myers present Officer Vincent Goodchild (second from left) with the Officer of the Year award.

Danger, guns, life-or-death scenarios: police officers encounter them every day on the streets. And sometimes at the police station, too.

Officer Vincent Goodchild found himself face-to-face with these perils inside the 7th district station twice last year. Each time, he preserved a citizen’s life while protecting his own. For those efforts and his all-around job performance throughout 2014, the 7th Police District Advisory Council recognized him as Officer of the Year on May 21.

Goodchild was among four nominees for the award. The others were Joseph Staszak, Walter Zagorski and Richard Johnston.

As the aide to Lt. Bettina Baldere, Goodchild was assigned to work inside the 7th district station last July 21 when a 79-year-old man approached the service window with a loaded gun and announced that he intended to kill himself. Goodchild grabbed the man’s hand and wrestled him to the ground. With the help of other officers, the man was taken into custody and sent for a medical and psychological evaluation.

That episode occurred barely a month after Goodchild had saved the life of a gunshot victim. On June 18, a car arrived at the police station with a woman passenger who had been wounded seven times in a nearby shooting. Goodchild carried the victim in his arms into the back of a police car and, with another officer driving, rushed her to the hospital. During the trip, Goodchild applied pressure to the woman’s wounds and attempted to keep her calm. She was admitted in critical condition but survived.

In addition to those exceptional cases, Goodchild’s performance throughout the year reinforced his credentials for the award, according to a nomination letter by Baldere. The lieutenant described him as dedicated to his assignments and committed to duty, an asset to the community and the department.

During the PDAC meeting, the district also recognized a new Officer of the Month, Felix Rivera, whose expertise in fingerprint evidence led to the arrest of a man for breaking into a car on the 800 block of Susquehanna Road. The theft actually occurred last September, but it remained unsolved until police arrested a man for DUI in February. Police recorded the fingerprints of the DUI suspect and entered them into a database. Those prints matched the previously unidentified sample recovered by Rivera from the car last year. ••