At the February 27thCheltenham Township monthly Board of Commissioners meeting numerous police officers were recognized and received commendations for merit and heroism.
In photo above, back row: Left to Right: Sgt. Jeffrey Murphy, Ofc Michael Barone, MontCo 911 Operator William O’Connell, Ofc Filoon, Sgt. Kevin Brewster, Sgt. John Barr, Ofc. Kyle Turner, Springfield Det. Robert Baiada, Ofc. Matthew Hungerford, Ofc. Donald Baldwin, Ofc. Seated: Sgt. Edward Baskin, Sgt. Jason O’Keefe, Ofc. Thomas Byrne, Springfield Sgt. Bruce Nisbet & Ofc. Joseph Pentasuglio.
On August 14, 2018, the Cheltenham Police Department and two officers from Springfield Township responded to an active shooter at the Wal-Mart Store in Wyncote. Responding officers were met with a chaotic scene in which civilians were running out of the store reporting the shooter was still inside and multiple victims were in need of help. Without hesitation and regard for their personal safety the officers immediately entered the store in an effort to locate and confront the shooter to put an end to this violent incident. The gun used was recovered and thankfully no one was killed considering numerous gunshot victims were treated and transported to local hospitals.
The Heroism Commendation recognizing outstanding courage was awarded to: Officer Donald Baldwin, Sergeant John Barr, Officer Michael Barone, Sergeant Edward Baskin, Sergeant Kevin Brewster, Springfield Detective Robert Baiada, Officer Thomas Byrne, Officer Filoon, Sergeant Jarreau Francis, Officer Matt Hungerford, Sergeant Jeffrey Murphy, Springfield Sergeant Bruce Nisbet, Sergeant Jason O’Keefe, Officer Joseph Pentasuglio, and Officer Kyle Turner. William O’Connell, MontCo 911 Operator was also commended for his fine performance of duty related his superb communication skills during an active shooter event.
Detective John Barr was commended for merit for his faithful performance of duty during a criminal investigation which resulted in the arrest of a two serial armed robbers who robbed the Verizon Store at Cedarbrook Plaza on December 4, 2018. Detective Barr began an intensive investigation that lasted six months and uncovered a series of robberies and thefts committed by these two individuals all over the tri-county area, including Philadelphia, Lower Merion, Tredyffrin, Conshohocken and Upper Darby.
Detective Barr and Detectives Ronald Cupo and James McClelland were also recognized for performance of duty achieved through extraordinary teamwork with their participation in an investigation related to a brutal double homicide of a mother and her unborn child at an apartment in the Elkins Park on February 20, 2018.
The Board of Commissioners commended Detective Matt Gonglik for his efforts as the lead detective in a vigorous and complex investigation of a robbery at Tobacco Towne in Cheltenham on March 12, 2018, by a masked suspect who used a handgun. Detective Gonglik located and arrested one suspect and recovered the handgun used in the robbery. The suspect confessed his involvement in 15 robberies and became a suspect in 24 additional robberies and two shootings.
Officer Mark Gindhart, Sergeant David Feinstein, Officer Ryan Murray, Officer Nicholas O’Connor Officer Kevin O’Donnell and Officer John Thompson were recognized through a unit citation for extraordinary teamwork in resolving a domestic disturbance that occurred on August 31, 2018. Officers were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at a residence where a male was barricaded inside a home, holding a two year-old child hostage. The officers tried to de-escalate the situation, but the male’s demeanor continued to decay and officers feared the child may be in danger, so SWAT was activated. Believing the child was in imminent danger officers kicked down the front door and engaged the male with repeated verbal commands to release the child. The child was returned unharmed to his mother. The male was arrested and charged with serious felonies.