RI Police Officer Receives National “Officer of the Month” Award

Saturday, January 05, 2019

 

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Jamestown police officer Nathaniel Schaffer named Officer of the Month

Jamestown police officer Nathaniel Schaffer has been named Officer of the Month of December by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

“I am very proud of Officer Schaffer for the action he took in placing his own life at risk in order to save another. He is a tremendous officer and fine example of what we should expect in our police officers,” said Jamestown Chief Edward Mello.

Schaffer, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2018, will be honored at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in 2019.

Schaffer’s Action

On December 6, 2018, Schaffer was working an extra patrol shift when a call came in at 1 a.m. about a man who had jumped into to the frigid waters of the Narragansett Bay and was unable to get out.

Schaffer arrived first on the scene and was soon joined by another officer, but they were unable to convince the man in the water to swim to a nearby ladder. The man was also unable to grab the flotation device that Schaffer threw to him.

Soon, the man became unresponsive.

As the other officer went to retrieve another flotation device,  Schaffer removed his shoes, jacket, and vest before diving into the freezing water.

He was able to grab the man but realized he would not be able to lift him up the six-foot ledge to first responders who were waiting.

Schaffer swam100 feet to a nearby dock, where the first responders were there to meet him. Both the officer and the victim were taken to a hospital for treatment for hypothermia.

They recovered and were released.

 

Related Slideshow: 2018 Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame Inductees - June 2018

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Hugh Clements

Colonel of the Providence Police Department

Clements was appointed to the Providence Police Department on May 5, 1985, as a night Patrol Officer in the Uniform Division. He then went on to serve on the Neighborhood Response Team Uniformed Task Force before being transferred to the Special Investigations Bureau, the department’s vice and drug unit. In 1990, Clements was promoted to Detectives where he worked in the night squad. In 1992, Detective Clements was promoted to the rank of Sergeant where he spent three years as a night Sergeant in Sub-District 1, South Providence. Sergeant Clements was then transferred to the Detective Bureau where he served as the Squad 2 Sergeant and spent the next seven years supervising the investigations of all major crimes including murder, robbery, burglary, firearms offenses and gang activity. In a squad that carried an extremely heavy caseload, he played an active role in several major investigations during this time.

In 2002, Hugh was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and transferred to the midnight shift of the Patrol Bureau. Lieutenant Clements was later assigned as District 5 Commander covering the neighborhoods of Olneyville, Hartford, and Silver Lake. Consistent with the department philosophy at this time, the true community police model was practiced with several creative and innovative initiatives carried out in this particular district. He was transferred back to the Detective Bureau, and in December 2005, he was promoted to Captain where he was responsible for all major crimes operations in the Investigative Division.

In 2008, when promoted to Major he was assigned for one year as the Commander of the Homeland Security Division, before being reassigned as the Commanding Officer of the Uniform Division.

He later served as Deputy Chief and was appointed as Acting Chief of Police in July 2011, and on January 6, 2012, he was appointed as the 37th Chief of the Department and promoted to the rank of Colonel.

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The Honorable Walter Stone 

Associate Justice, Rhode Island Superior Court

Walter Stone passed away in September of 2017.

He was named to the bench in October of 2010 by then-Governor Donald Carcieri. He replaced Judge Rogeriee Thompson when she was elevated to serve as a U.S. Circuit Judge.

Before being appointed to the court, Stone was a partner at the Providence-based law firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan.

Stone was a graduate of Fisk University and earned a J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law.

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Joseph Stetkiewicz  

Chief, Central Falls Police Department

Joseph Stetkiewicz served as the chief of the Central Falls Police Department from 1946 to 1968.

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Robert McKenna

Director, Roger Williams University Justice System Training, and Research Institute; Lieutenant, East Providence Police Department (Ret.)

Robert McKenna is the Associate Dean and serves as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Justice Studies at Roger Williams University.

Additionally, he serves as the Director of the Justice System Training & Research Institute, the professional development component of the School of Justice Studies.

Associate Dean McKenna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science degree in the Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island, as well as a Juris Doctor degree from The New England School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts. 

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Stephen Springer

(retired) Detective, Providence Police Department; Investigator, Rhode Island Office of Attorney General

A 1968 graduate of the Providence Police Academy, Stephen J. Springer served in the Patrol Bureau for approximately five years before being promoted to Detective. For the next 30 years, he served as a Detective, largely in the South Providence area.  During that time, he served as the primary or secondary investigator on more than 200 homicides, a number unmatched in Rhode Island law enforcement. He joined the RI Office of Attorney General in 2004 as an investigator, retiring in December 2017.

He has received numerous awards over his career, including the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Award (1978), Rhea Archambeault Award (1984), Medal of Valor (1984), Commissioner’s Award (1993), Rhode Island Justice Assistance “Neil Houston Award” (2001), and FOP Outstanding Police Officer of the Year (2002).

Over the course of his nearly 50 years in law enforcement, Stephen Springer epitomized professionalism, dedication, courage, and integrity, tirelessly working on the streets for his entire career, and in the process served as the face of law enforcement to all those he encountered.

 

Springer and his wife Virginia McGinn reside in Barrington, RI.

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Susan Erstling, Ph.D., LICSW

(retired) - Family Services of RI; Rhode Island State Victim Assistance Academy

Erstling headed the Family Service of RI trauma and loss center, and is a founder of the RI State Victim Assistance Academy.

She has a wealth of experience working with victims, witnesses, and responders in the aftermath of violent incidents, including shootings. 

She and her team also provided training to professionals across the state regarding the effects of trauma.

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Lionel “Pete” Benjamin

Major, Rhode Island State Police

Lionel Benjamin passed away in 2008. 

Benjamin joined the RI State Police Department in 1958, retiring as a Major in 1990, having served 15 of those years as the youngest and longest serving Executive Officer in the country.

As a graduate of the F.B.I. Academy, he was recognized for his expertise in the prevention of organized crime and served proudly under the direction of the legendary Colonel Walter E. Stone.

Consistent with his altruistic nature, he had been a volunteer fireman for the Marieville Fire Department for 15 years as well as a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran of the Korean Conflict.

 
 

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