Alford receives Purple Heart Medal at ALEA ceremony

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

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The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor is pleased to announce the recipients of the Agency’s Lifesaving Award and Purple Heart Medal of Honor for outstanding professionalism and skills displayed through heroic acts that saved the lives of others, as well as preserving public safety, while simultaneously upholding ALEA’s proud tradition of selfless service.
Secretary Taylor presented nine Lifesaving Awards and one Purple Heart Medal of Honor to recipients during a ceremony held at ALEA Headquarters, in Montgomery, Tuesday, Nov. 7, where both families and colleagues were in attendance. The event highlighted the remarkable stories detailed by ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director, Colonel Jon Archer; Director of ALEA’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Christopher Inabinett; Unit Commander of ALEA Aviation, Greg Rankin; and Statewide Recruiting/Public Affairs Coordinator, Sgt.
Jeremy Burkett.

Corporal Jeremy Alford with ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division received the valorous Purple Heart Medal of Honor. Cpl. Jeremy Alford with the ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division, received the Purple Heart Medal for his courage, professionalism and heroism after being shot in the line of duty. The incident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9, when Cpl. Alford attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on Interstate 65 near the 101 mile marker, in Conecuh County. The driver attempted to elude, and a pursuit ensued. The pursuit continued into Escambia County, where the vehicle eventually left the roadway. Once off the roadway, the officer-involved shooting occurred, which left one subject deceased and two other subjects injured. Cpl. Alford was also struck by gunfire and was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment.

Senior (Sr.) Troopers Jonathan Soto, Vu Quang, Spencer Adkinson, Christopher Carlton, Travis Smith, Kendra McKinney; along with Corporal Freddie Ingram of ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division; Tactical Flight Officer Wayne Barlow of ALEA Aviation; and Special Agent Senior (SAS) Don Carter of SBI each received the Agency’s prestigious Lifesaving Award.

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During the ceremony, SBI Director Chris Inabinett quoted a popular speech from President Theodore Roosevelt, known as “The Man in the Arena,” stating, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Director Inabinett went on to say, “When I look out across this room, I see a bunch of you who live in that arena day in and day out and do so proudly.” Secretary Taylor closed the ceremony by also thanking the loved ones and family members in attendance, and said, “Your families deserve our deepest appreciation and respect. The training you receive and everything you do on a daily basis are to ensure you return home safely to your loved ones. No one serves alone, and none of us could do what we do without the support of our families. These awards are for the remarkable achievements and the lives you have saved, which is a true testament to your dedication as public servants of our great state.”

Award Summaries for other recipients:
On Saturday, April 22, at approximately 6 p.m., Sr. Trooper Jonathan Soto was patrolling in Mobile County when he observed a Ford F-350 speeding and driving erratically. He also observed two occupants in the truck bed appearing to be distressed. Sr. Trooper Soto conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and, upon approaching the vehicle, noticed a male occupant who was severely injured and bleeding from a severed leg. Sr. Trooper Soto immediately recognized the victim was in critical condition from blood loss and turned around to retrieve his first-aid kit. In a panic, the driver drove away from the traffic stop, yelling at the Trooper that he was trying to get to Providence Hospital. Sr. Trooper Soto remained calm, followed the truck and, utilizing his PA system, communicated with the occupants. Sr. Trooper Soto contacted Mobile County EMS, informed them of the emergency, and coordinated their response. He eventually persuaded the driver to pull over at Creekwood Church of Christ on Schillinger Road at Yorkhaven Drive, so he could provide immediate aid until EMS arrived. Sr. Trooper Soto used his training to apply a tourniquet and quickly stopped the bleeding until help arrived.

On Friday, March 10, at approximately 6:08 p.m., Sr. Trooper Vu Quang was dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 65 just north of Calera. While interviewing the involved parties in the crash, another vehicle pulled up and advised Sr. Trooper Quang of a second crash a half-
mile back on Interstate 65. Upon arrival at the second crash, Sr. Trooper Quang noticed flames coming from the engine, and he sprinted back to his patrol car to retrieve a fire extinguisher. He quickly assessed the situation, where all occupants, including a baby, had safely exited the vehicle except the driver, who had suffered a spinal cord injury and was unable to move. Sr. Trooper Quang was able to suppress the fire while a Calera Police Officer worked on breaking the window. Calera Fire and Rescue arrived on scene, and they were able to safely extract the driver, ultimately saving his life.

On Friday, May 12, at approximately 7:05 a.m. Sr. Trooper Spencer Adkinson was investigating a traffic crash on U.S. 84 near the 201 mile marker, in Houston County, when a vehicle not involved in the crash approached the scene, left the roadway and entered Bear Creek. Immediately, Sr. Trooper Adkinson jumped into the creek and busted the rear glass of the vehicle to communicate with the driver as the vehicle had already begun submerging. The driver, who suffered a broken knee, was able to climb toward the rear window, where she was intercepted by Sr. Trooper Adkinson and removed from the vehicle. Deputy Sheriff Dusty Oswalt with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office was also on scene and assisted with extracting
the driver and getting her safely onto the creek’s bank to receive medical aid. The driver was transported to Southeast Health Medical Center for further treatment.

On Friday, Feb. 17, at approximately 4:38 p.m., Sr. Trooper Christopher Carlton responded to a single-vehicle crash on U.S. 84 East near Bay Springs Road, in Houston County. Sr. Trooper Carlton observed a vehicle that had struck a tree, and the driver was entrapped within the vehicle. He also observed a small 4-year-old child, who had sustained a serious head injury. A member of Wicksburg Rescue advised that he would need to call for another ambulance, since there were two patients who needed immediate medical attention. Instead of waiting for another ambulance to arrive on scene, Sr. Trooper Carlton, along with a private citizen who was a nurse, jumped into action and immediately transported the child in his patrol vehicle to a local hospital. The child, who was in and out of consciousness during transport, was stabilized upon arrival at the hospital.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, at approximately 11:20 a.m., Sr. Trooper Travis Smith responded to an injury crash involving multiple commercial vehicles on U.S. Highway 84, near Monroeville. One of the occupants involved in the crash had suffered a severed arm and was losing a large amount of blood. Sr. Trooper Smith, along with Sergeant Ellis Manuel with the Monroeville Police Department, applied a tourniquet to the individual to stop the blood loss while waiting for EMS and fire personnel to arrive. As a result of their quick actions, the individual survived the crash.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at approximately 2:34 p.m., Sr. Trooper and Public Affairs Officer Kendra McKinney encountered two vehicles that pulled to the side of U.S. 84 near Scarborough Road, in Houston County for her assistance. It was discovered that one of the occupants had suffered a gunshot wound. Immediately, Sr. Trooper McKinney notified dispatch and requested an ambulance. She was able to locate the wound near the back of the subject’s leg. She then went to her patrol vehicle to retrieve her first-aid kit and began providing aid. Sr. Trooper McKinney cut the subject’s pants near the wound and placed an emergency trauma bandage on top of the wound, which stopped immediate bleeding. Shortly after she administered the trauma bandage, Wicksburg Fire and Rescue arrived, and the individual was transported to Southeast Health in Dothan for medical treatment.

On Saturday, July 8, Cpl. Freddie Ingram and Sr. Trooper Ryan Wise were on patrol on Lake Tuscaloosa when they observed a pontoon boat that was reported to be having trouble returning to the rental company. Cpl. Ingram and Sr. Trooper Wise offered to lead the boaters back to the rental business since they were unfamiliar with the lake. During the trip, the pontoon boat lurched forward causing two passengers (one male, one female) to fall off the back of the boat. Cpl. Ingram threw a PFD to the male, who was struggling to stay afloat. Sr. Trooper Wise then entered the water and performed a chest tow of the male passenger to his patrol boat, while Cpl. Ingram was able to position the boat near the female passenger and assist her safely to the back of the patrol vessel, ultimately saving both lives. (Sr. Trooper Ryan Wise will be recognized at a later date.)

On Wednesday, May 3, Sr. Trooper Charles May conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 85 in Macon County near the 46 mile marker. During the traffic stop, Sr. Trooper May observed suspected narcotics in plain view inside the vehicle, which was occupied by an adult male driver and an adult female passenger. Sr. Trooper May requested assistance over the radio to which Special Agent Senior (SAS) Don Carter responded and arrived on scene. Both suspects were placed under arrest. The male subject was placed in Sr. Trooper May’s vehicle, and the female was placed in another Trooper’s vehicle, and both were to be transported to the Macon County Jail. While enroute to the jail, Sr. Trooper May requested dispatch have an ambulance meet him at the jail. Sr. Trooper May advised that the male suspect was going in and out of consciousness and having difficulty breathing. SAS Carter heard the request and told Trooper May to pull over, and that he would meet him with his emergency medical bag containing Narcan. SAS Carter arrived and assisted with pulling the suspect out of Sr. Trooper May’s vehicle and then began giving first aid to the suspect. SAS Carter administered six individual doses of nasal Narcan to the suspect before he started to breathe normally and was aware of his surroundings. Sr. Trooper May continued transportation to the jail, with SAS Carter following. Approximately one mile down the road, Sr. Trooper May pulled over to the side of the road stating he was not feeling well and could not breathe. SAS Carter grabbed Sr. Trooper May and assisted him to the rear of the vehicle, where Sr. Trooper May became unconscious. SAS Carter immediately administered two doses of Narcan to Sr. Trooper May and began to remove his duty gear and vest to help with first aid and breathing. SAS Carter requested assistance from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and for an ambulance. Once assistance arrived from the Sheriff’s Office, SAS Carter obtained two additional doses of Narcan and administered them to Sr. Trooper May. SAS Carter determined the ambulance was too far away, so he decided to transport Trooper May in a police vehicle with a police escort to the closet trauma center. Not only did SAS Carter assist in saving the subject’s life, but he also saved the life of one of our own, from which Sr. Trooper May continues to recover.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, ALEA Aviation assistance was requested by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADNCR) and the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office for help in locating a 79-year-old male who was reported missing. According to the victim’s wife, on the morning of Sept. 22, the victim traveled from his home in Crestview, Fla., to Crenshaw County to do some work on his hunting property. When the man did not return home or contact his family at dark, his family drove from Crestview, Fla. to Crenshaw County and located his vehicle and the empty trailer on the property. The family then contacted law enforcement for assistance. ALEA Pilot Dave Williams and Tactical Flight Officer Wayne Barlow received the call for assistance at approximately 9:45 p.m. and departed from Montgomery shortly thereafter. Once helicopter crew members were in the area, they were able to locate the victim laying in thick brush approximately 700 yards from his all-terrain vehicle using the FLIR system. The crew directed the ground units to the location of the subject using the FLIR and Searchlight. First responders on the ground would not have been able to locate the victim without the help of ALEA Aviation because of thick vegetation. The victim, who was found to be barely responsive and unable to walk, was transported by ground ambulance to Andalusia Hospital. (ALEA Pilot Dave Williams was awarded the Agency’s Lifesaving Award and recognized at a previous ceremony.)