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‘Above and Beyond’ the Call of Duty

May 11, 2018 GMT

CHELMSFORD -- They faced personal danger to prevent a violent man from further harming his ex-girlfriend, and stopped a fire from spreading to a home.

The five officers honored last month for their actions all “went above and beyond the call of duty and acted selflessly in the face of dangerous circumstances,” said Police Chief Jim Spinney. “I’m proud of each one of them, and am happy to recognize them all for their commitment to the community of Chelmsford.”

The annual awards ceremony, sponsored by the Chelmsford Police Foundation at Princeton Station April 11, was a chance to recognize the officers for their work protecting residents and property.

The morning of July 23, police were called to a Clover Hill Drive residence for a domestic violence disturbance. William Santiago, of Lowell, allegedly punched Officer Brian Gervais repeatedly before other officers arrived at the home.

Santiago, barricaded in a bedroom with his bloodied and screaming ex-girlfriend, allegedly opened the door repeatedly to throw a hammer, large mirror shards and other items at officers. When tasers failed to subdue Santiago, Officer Kristin Leary decided to “fire two rounds from her department-issued firearm, which stopped the defendant’s assault and allowed for the female to be freed from the bedroom,” Spinney said.

Gervais, Leary and Officers Christopher Mauti and Craig Mead were recognized with the department’s Meritorious Award of Valor for their actions during the incident.

Officer Aidan Gillis received the Meritorious Service Award of Recognition for outstanding performance of duty for extinguishing a planter box fire on March 26.

Gillis was on patrol about 3:15 a.m. when he noticed smoke coming from a home in the area of Westland Avenue and Woodbine Street. Upon investigation, he observed smoke coming from a planter attached to the garage of a Woodbine Street house.

Gillis put the fire out and got the residents out of the house, “preventing serious property damage and people being hurt,” Spinney said.

The department also presented Chelmsford Police Foundation President John Harrington with a certificate of gratitude for the foundation’s support over the years, including a recent gift of a telephone pole-mounted radar sign board worth about $5,000, Spinney said.

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