Salem Police Office of the Year honored for saving woman on brid - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Salem Police Office of the Year honored for saving woman on bridge

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The Salem Police Department's officer of the year earned his award by saving a woman's life.

On Tuesday, the department revealed Detective Danny Crouse as its officer of the year for 2012.

"This is a fantastic honor and it really makes you feel good to be recognized in this way," Det. Crouse said  in a city news release about his award. "I'm almost 45-years-old, so I'm old enough to say that, hopefully, a younger officer will look at me as kind of a role model and say 'if he can do it, then so can I.'"

Detective Crouse's heroism took place on March 11, 2012.  After being sent to check out a call of a jumper on an Interstate 81 bridge, Det. Crouse found a woman on the Route 419 (Electric Road) bridge, that goes over I-81, near Exit 141.

Police say the woman was on her cell phone and talking with relatives, telling them she was going to jump off the bridge into the path of a tractor trailer.

"The main thing I was concerned about was her well being," said Crouse.  "I just didn't want her to do what she was attempting to do and not only hurt herself, but a lot of other people who were close to her."

The woman crawled over the guardrail, then stood on a narrow concrete ledge.  While a group of officers approached the woman from one direction, Crouse came up behind her.  Crouse went over the guardrail, grabbed the woman quickly, and pulled her back to safety.

"You just have to rely on your instincts in that type of situation," Crouse said.  "I wasn't doing anything spectacular - I was just doing my job."

The woman struggled with officers, and had to be handcuffed.  She eventually told Crouse and the other officers that she was waiting for a "large enough" truck to pass by.

Salem Police Chief Jeff Dudley says, "Danny's actions at this incident show his true professionalism, and how he never hesitated to place himself into harm's way in order to keep this person from harming herself.  Danny demonstrated his ability to maintain his composure and cognitive reasoning under a dire life-threatening situation."

Chief Dudley also praised Det. Crouse's training efforts in the Field Training Officer's program.

Det. Crouse has served in the Salem Police Department since January of 2008.

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