June 2014 Officer of the Month
While on routine patrol on the 15th of April at approximately 1800 hours, Officers Samanthia Smith and Kevin Tate were turning N/B onto Michigan Ave from 119th St. it was at the time of the turn, Officer Tate, who was driving the squad car, noticed smoke down the street. Officer Tate, knowing that the smoke was too dark to be something common, made way towards the location of the smoke. Arriving at 11611 S. Michigan Ave, Officer Smith immediately got on the radio to request assistance.
Officers Tate and Smith then exited their vehicle to see a lady standing there stating that there were people in the house and unable to get out. Knowing that quick action was necessary, Officer Tate headed straight for the front door with Officer Smith following behind. Overcome by the aggressive smoke, the officers backed out of the house. The lady standing outside began pointing up at the window on the south side of the house and stated that there were kids in the window. The officers went to the side of the house where there was a gentleman standing directly below telling the boys to jump from the second story window.
It was at this time Officer Tate told the boys (Ronnell Wooden, 15 and Jeremiah Wooden, 8 years old) to continue breaking the glass out of the window. Then Officer Tate asked the lady to come over with Officer Smith, the gentleman and himself to form a small circle to catch the kids. Officer Smith continued to console Jeremiah to let him know we would catch him, just jump. Jeremiah jumped just as instructed and was caught safely. Ronnell then jumped awkwardly and in bracing his fall, he landed on Officer Smith’s right shoulder, causing injury.
After both boys were safely out of the house, Officer Smith took the boys to safety. Officer Tate then heard someone calling out from the back of the house, as he made his way, he saw Tobiah Carter, 36 years old male, sitting on the window ceil with smoke barreling out behind him. Officer Tate told Tobiah to stay put as he could hear the Fire Department pulling up. Officer Tate then called out for fire to come to the back with a ladder. Tobiah was able to climb down unharmed.
There were four people in the house and all four were rescued safely. Officer Smith explains the situation as, “God using us by putting us in that area at the right time.” Officer Tate stated that, “there was no time to think about what to do, we need to get the kids out now.”
Officer Smith and Officer Tate would like to thank the CPD Memorial Foundation for honoring us for our work. As we both still insist that we are not heroes, we appreciate the acknowledgement of deeds.