Indebted to Some Very Brave People

Paul Kelly is the president of the San Jose POA.

By Paul Kelly, President, San Jose POA

In the past, I don’t remember a lot of “Good Samaritan” stories in which law enforcement officers were helped or saved by citizens doing the right thing. But I am happy and grateful to say this year seems to be different. Within the last few months, several law enforcement officers’ lives across this country have been saved by brave citizens who took grave risks to come to our aid.

I only hope that we as a country have turned a corner with the false narratives that has caused so much violence and even ambushes of our officers. We hope in 2017 to hear a lot more stories like the ones below. All of us in law enforcement need the support of our communities and the people we serve to stand by our side and work with us. And there are those rare times that we need them to roll up their sleeves and get into the fight if the situation calls for that.

We are all indebted to these citizen heroes who stepped up when they were needed.

• In Arizona, a 27-year veteran Trooper was dispatched to a vehicle accident. When the Trooper arrived on scene, the suspect ambushed him. The suspect shot the Trooper and began to beat him. A motorist came to the rescue of the Trooper by shooting the suspect. He saved the Trooper’s life.

• In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a 56-year-old woman saw an Officer fighting with a suspect as she drove down the road. The suspect was beating the Officer with his own baton. This 56-year-old hero stopped her vehicle, got out, and began to fight with the suspect, which allowed time for other units to arrive.

• In Austin, Texas, a Sheriff’s Deputy got into a fight with a suspect, who eventually was able to take the Deputy’s duty weapon. A citizen who was nearby pulled his own gun out and held the suspect at gunpoint until more units arrived to take the suspect into custody.

• In Rising Sun, Indiana, the Indiana State Police reported that a Conservation Officer was being violently assaulted when a female citizen in a nearby home came to his rescue. This citizen helped the Officer fight the suspect, who was eventually took the suspect into custody.

• In Anchorage, Alaska, police got a domestic violence call. The suspect in this case was armed with a knife and was attacking a woman he had a prior relationship with. When the Officer arrived, he attempted to take the suspect into custody. The suspect fought back, stabbing the female victim and the Officer. During this attack, a citizen jumped in to help the Officer.

• In Estero, Florida, the suspect in this case (who was under the influence of drugs) attacked a Lee County Deputy, slamming him to the ground. The Deputy was fighting for his life when a hero citizen shot and killed the suspect.

• In our own backyard, in San Francisco, a homeless male under the influence of drugs attacked a San Francisco Police Officer. The suspect pinned the Officer down on the ground and multiple citizens came to the Officer’s rescue, prying the suspect off the Officer while other units arrived on scene.

Paul Kelly can be reached at


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