Medal of Valor No. 2 for St. Paul cop

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: December 15, 2010 - 10:58 PM

Adam Bailey, one of seven St. Paul police officers honored for actions in the line of duty, is only the second to receive more than one Medal of Valor.

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St. Paul Police Officer Adam Bailey, right, was congratulated Wednesday by fellow officers after being presented the Medal of Valor at a formal ceremony. A program printed for the occasion, below, bears an image of the medal.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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Most cops go their whole career without receiving a Medal of Valor, the St. Paul Police Department's highest honor.

On Wednesday, officer Adam Bailey -- a former Gophers football player on the force just five years -- became only the second officer to receive more than one.

It all started with a suspect on the loose, a hot pursuit, a confrontation. It ended with shots fired, an officer wounded, a suspect dead.

Chief Thomas Smith called the actions of Bailey, Thomas Weinzettel and Stephen Bobrowski "extraordinary" as he placed the medals around their necks.

"These officers represent the best of the St. Paul Police Department," Smith said of this year's winners.

This is what Bailey, Weinzettel and Bobrowski did to earn the award: Bailey and Weinzettel were looking for a suspect when they spotted a man in an apartment courtyard. He had one hand inside his jacket and the other clasping it, as if concealing something.

The suspect was running away as Bobrowski rounded the corner of the apartment complex in the 1600 block of Maryland Avenue. Bobrowski ordered him repeatedly to show his hands. The man, though cornered, refused.

Bobrowski tasered him and he went down. When the officers struggled to move the suspect's hands from under his body, a gun went off. A bullet grazed Bailey's right knee before striking his left calf. Bailey and the other officers returned fire.

"Any time you are recognized for any situation, it is a tremendous honor," Bailey said Wednesday at the awards ceremony, adding that a second honor is "a humbling experience."

Officer Gerald Vick, who was killed by a gunman in 2005 while working undercover, is the other officer to earn more than one. He had three Medals of Valor, including one posthumously.

The 35-year-old Bailey, a former placekicker for the Gophers, was among seven officers honored at the ceremony.

"Everything happened so quickly," Bailey said of the shooting, which occurred in December 2009.

The suspect, 19-year-old Romell Hill, died at the scene. The incident had started four hours earlier when some people got into a fight and Dwight R. Tate, 24, was shot. Tate drove off in an SUV that crashed into parked cars, careened through a fence and stopped in a yard. He later died at a hospital.

Bailey underwent three months of therapy and returned to full duty four months after being shot. He still deals with a tingling sensation in his left foot from nerve damage.

In a 2009 incident that led to Bailey, and others, getting their first Medal of Valor, the officers -- including Boomer, a police dog -- encountered Robert Jeske, who was holding a weapon in an East Side alley.

Jeske, 34, refused to drop the gun, and Boomer was turned loose.

When Jeske aimed at the officers, Bailey, Brian Casey and Douglas Wilson fired, killing Jeske and wounding Boomer in the mouth.

Bailey was named 2010 Minnesota Police Officer of the Year earlier this summer for his action in the two incidents.

Bailey, who kicked for Burnsville High School and walked on with the Gophers in 1994, experienced plenty of drama during his playing days at the U, too. In 1996, he made two late field goals in the Gophers' two-point victory over No. 23 Syracuse.

The next season, he kicked five field goals in a 16-15 loss to No. 1 Penn State. In 1998, his field goal with 13 seconds left upset Michigan State.

Four others honored

Wednesday's other medal winners were Jermaine Davis, Jason Giampolo, Todd Ludvik and Justin Tiffany. The four were working at the State Fair on Aug. 31 when a semitrailer truck struck a utility pole and live wires fell on five people.

Giampolo ran to assist a man, Spencer Jackson, who was sitting in a chair working at a private parking lot. A power line was on his leg and he was convulsing.

Giampolo kicked the chair out from under Jackson and pulled him to the middle of the street.

Davis, Ludvik and Tiffany helped a family caught between live wires and a snow fence.

The wire was on the father's shoulder and also was running across a stroller, causing it to bounce up and down. The officers brought the family to a nearby building.

"We're grateful that they helped," said Jackson, who attended Wednesday's ceremony with his wife, Shenequa Jackson.

"I'm proud of all seven for their courage and dedication under some of the most dangerous conditions any officer will ever face," Smith said.

cxiong@startribune.com • 612-270-4708 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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