MACLEA Hosts 2021 Awards Ceremony to Recognize Exceptional Service of Massachusetts Campus Police Officers

The Massachusetts Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (MACLEA) is pleased to share that 14 campus police officers and administrators were honored Thursday for extraordinary, lifesaving and heroic work.

The annual awards ceremony was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Thursday’s ceremony recognized exemplary work from both 2020 and 2021.

“I would like to thank and congratulate not only our 14 incredible award winners today, but also all of the officers, dispatchers, emergency management staff and support staff whose dedication and hard work helped campuses across the Commonwealth safely navigate two years that were anything but normal,” said MACLEA President Capt. Andrew Turco, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Department. “Campus police officers, administrators and support staff have all done our profession proud with two years worth of professionalism and commitment to the institutions they serve.”

Awards presented at the event were:

Exemplary Service Award — Sgt. Caitlin Elnitsky, Babson College Police

On Jan. 8, 2021, Sgt. Elnitsky came across a motor vehicle crash while conducting an off-campus property check. Sgt. Elnitsky reported the incident to dispatch immediately and ran to assist a victim who was trapped in a vehicle. Sgt. Elnitsky spoke with the  motorist to calm them until Fire and EMS arrived and extricated the victim from the vehicle. The motorist did not survive her injuries, but senior members of the Wellesley Police Department recognized the leadership and compassion of Sgt. Elnitsky’s response.

Exemplary Service Award — Officer Philip Burns, Brandeis University Police

On Sept. 8, 2021, Officer Philip Burns responded to a fire alarm in a residence hall, discovered a fire in a third-floor room and notified the local fire department. Burns then located a fire extinguisher, returned to the room and put the fire out before it could spread. Officer Burns was recognized for his calmness and courage as he quickly prevented a dangerous incident from becoming worse.

Exemplary Service Award — Sgt. Mark Randall, North Shore Community College Police

On Sept. 7, 2021, Sgt. Mark Randall responded to assist an elderly faculty member who was lost in a densely wooded area near campus. Sgt. Randall contacted the victim by cellphone to keep her calm, and located the faculty member after a diligent search. Sgt. Randall then carried the faculty member over overgrown terrain since she was exhausted and dehydrated. Once out of the woods, Sgt. Randall provided basic first aid.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Sean Gannon and Sgt. Jeremy Cole, Endicott College Police

On April 23, 2021, Officer Sean Gannon and Sgt. Jeremy Cole responded to a report of a person not breathing on a softball field on campus. Officer Gannon and Sgt. Cole located the patient and used two-person CPR, including the use of oxygen and an automatic external defibrillator until the patient resumed breathing. The quick and professional response of Officer Gannon and Sgt. Cole likely saved the patient’s life.

Lifesaving Award — Officer Brett Morava and Lt. Glenn McCune, Tufts University Police

On Aug. 20, 2021, Officer Brett Morava and Lt. Glenn McCune responded to a medical emergency in which a worker was electrocuted while working on power lines. Officer Morava and Lt. McCune discovered the person unresponsive, and used a department-issued automatic external defibrillator to administered a shock that caused the victim’s heart rhythm to return. Officer Morava and Lt. McCune’s quick response and skilled actions likely saved the worker’s life.

Administrative Initiative Award — Director of Police Dispatch and Security Operations Ken Wilson, UMass Lowell Police

Director Ken Wilson worked since 2012 to propose several possible solutions to the UMass Lowell Police Department’s need for a new radio system, eventually serving as chair of a committee that was setup to study the matter. As a result of the committee’s work, UMass Lowell made a significant investment in a state-of-the-art radio system that provides better coverage for officers, eliminating several dead spots the old system could not reach. Director Wilson also worked with Lowell Police to access the encrypted radio channels so that UMass Lowell officers would be safer while responding to back up city officers on emergency calls. Director Wilson’s dedication and persistence created a safer environment for both UMass Lowell Police officers and students.

Outstanding Personal Contribution — Officer Dan Dolan, UMass Lowell Police

Officer Dan Dolan, in his role as the UMass Lowell Police firearms instructor, developed a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan for firearms training, updated the range’s first aid kit and created an Emergency Action Plan Manual that was requested by other agencies. Officer Dolan also worked with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) to create a landing zone for medical helicopters at the range in case of an emergency. Officer Dolan’s forethought and dedication may save the life of a campus or municipal police officer in the event of a training incident.

Heroic Action Award — Officer Kimberly Carter and Officer Anthony Celona, Brandeis University Police

On Aug. 19, 2021, as Brandeis University experienced flooding caused by Tropical Storm Fred, Officers Kimberly Carter and Anthony Celona responded to a report of a student who fell into a flooded pond. The pond was over 10 feet deep and the student was unable to swim, so both officers jumped into the water and rescued the student, pulling them safely to shore. The bravery displayed by Officer Carter and Officer Celona, without regard for their own safety, likely saved a student from serious injury or death.

Heroic Action Award — Officer Brian Ethier, UMass Lowell Police

On Aug. 7, 2020, while off-duty and asleep at his home, Officer Brian Ethier was awakened by his son because a neighbor’s home was on fire. Officer Ethier ran to the burning home, and upon hearing screams from inside and seeing that the doorway was blocked by flames, he smashed a front window and helped five children between the ages of 1 and 8 escape through the window. After saving the children, Officer Ethier realized an elderly woman was still trapped inside and worked with a good Samaritan to break another window in an effort to save the woman without success. Despite an explosion from within the house during the rescue attempt, the resident was rescued once additional help arrived. Had it not been for the quick, selfless and courageous response of Officer Ethier, several lives could have been lost.

Ralph Avery Leadership Development Award — Chief Frank Bourgeois, Bentley University Police

Bentley University Police Chief Frank Bourgeois cares about his employees, inspires their betterment and growth, and encourages all to embrace opportunities offered by the university. A chief who leads with kindness and excellence, in just over a year Chief Bourgeois has updated or rebranded uniforms, cruisers, the organizational charge and policies at the Bentley University Police Department, while encouraging members to challenge the status quo and value accountability and responsibility. Chief Bourgeois truly lives up to the standard set by the award’s namesake, Ralph Avery, a pioneer in campus law enforcement and public safety who served as a mentor to many.

Sean Collier Award for Innovations in Community Policing — Detective Sgt. Travis Rixford, Bentley University Police

Detective Sgt. Travis Rixford, also known as “Officer Trav” on the Bentley University campus, has raised the bar for Community Policing Officers with his work to establish authentic relationships with all on campus. Detective Sgt. Rixford creates videos that have reached thousands of students and families on social media, helping to reduce the level of stress and anxiety on campus in recent years. Detective Sgt. Rixford is also dedicated to crime prevention, serving as a RAD instructor, crime prevention officer and criminal investigator. In one example of the compassion and attention Officer Trav brings to the Bentley community, he sat with and cheered for a student at commencement whose parents were unable to join her due to illness. Detective Sgt. Rixford’s commitment to his campus community, compassion and dedication to duty earned him the coveted award named for fallen MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.

“Today we recognized the exceptional work of those who went above and beyond the call of duty to keep their campus communities safe,” said UMass Lowell Police Chief Randolph Brashears, who hosted the awards ceremony at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. “I’d like to thank each and every one of those officers and the colleagues, dispatchers and support staff who assisted them. I’d also like to thank each of the individuals who took the time to recognize exemplary work on their campuses and submit nominations for awards. The nominations are a testament to the respect we all have for our peers.”

From left, Brandeis University Police Officer Anthony Celona, Chief Matt Rushton and Officer Kimberly Carter as Officer Celona and Officer Carter receive the MACLEA Heroic Action Award for jumping into a flooded pond on campus and rescuing a student who could not swim during Tropical Storm Fred in August.