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Surprise in D.C. after Obama honors Paramus Officers Morgan, Hayo

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Hours after being among 34 police officers honored by President Obama at a White House ceremony Saturday, Paramus Detective Rachel Morgan and Officer Ryan Hayo were singled out from the group when the National Association of Police Organizations presented them with the prestigious Citizens Achievement Award at the annual TOP COPS dinner.

Morgan, Hayo (front), Paramus Police Ceremonial Honor Guard, at NAPO HQ on Saturday

Each year, NAPO reviews all of the incidents of bravery and valor by the TOP COPS recipients and chooses one that stands out.

This year it was the shooting of Morgan and her rescue by Hayo.

“We didn’t even know about the award,” Paramus Police Chief Christopher Brock told CLIFFVIEW PILOT just before midnight. “It came as a complete surprise.”

“I couldn’t be more proud. They are both outstanding officers, not only for what they did that night but for how they have handled everything since then,” the chief said. “We’re lucky to have them in Paramus.”

White House PHOTO

The NAPO awards dinner tonight was one of several events this weekend – among them, a luncheon Monday at which Morgan and Hayo will be honored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Presenting the colors tonight was the Paramus Honor Guard, which will do the same at Monday’s event.

Morgan and Hayo got to meet the president during this afternoon’s Rose Garden event, which Brock said they both described as “an amazing experience”:

Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were joined by, among others, NAPO President Tom Nee and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in honoring this year’s TOP COPS for showing bravery and valor in the line of duty.

“Every day, hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers keep our neighborhoods safe, and frankly, they don’t ask for a lot.  They don’t ask for a lot of credit.  They don’t go to work planning to be heroes,” Obama said. “They just do their jobs.

“But when you put on that badge, you assume a special responsibility.  And every time you put it on, you never know if this day will be the day that you’ve spent your entire career training for -– the day when just doing your job and being a hero are exactly the same thing.

“For the men and women standing behind me, America’s TOP COPS, that day came.  And when it did, they were ready.  They didn’t flinch.  They didn’t back off,” the president said. “There are people who are alive today only because of their courage.”

Hayo, Morgan at NAPO TOP COPS awards dinner

Biden gave the event a bit of a political edge when he chided governors (he didn’t mention any names) who have tried to strip collective bargaining rights from government workers.

“To say you’ve earned those rights would be the understatement of the day, and they will not be taken away as long as we can do anything about that, or anyone else who cares,” Biden said.

The White House supplied this narrative for Morgan and Hayo:

It’s the most urgent message a police dispatcher can hear. Last February, Officer Morgan had run a license check on a car she’d seen driving erratically. When the plates didn’t match the vehicle, she tried to pull the car over, but the driver took off. As the car sped onto an exit ramp toward the Garden State Parkway, it spun out of control and landed in a snow bank.

Officer Morgan gave the suspect inside repeated instructions to get out of the car with his hands in plain sight. But the man refused, and kept trying to free his car. Morgan began a cautious approach with her weapon drawn, continuing to order the driver out of the car. Suddenly, when she was about three feet from the car, shots rang out. Morgan fell to the icy ground. She’d been shot three times, and two of the bullets had hit just below her bulletproof vest. But even as she lay bleeding in the snow, she switched her gun to her left hand and continued firing.

By this time, Officer Hayo had arrived, and began returning the suspect’s fire. He reached Morgan, who was still on the ground, badly wounded, yet calmly reloading her weapon to continue the fight. Finally, shots stopped coming from the vehicle and Hayo was able to drag Morgan to safety.

“Our safety will always depend on the quiet heroism of ordinary Americans, like the ones that we recognize today,” Obama said.

“We will be forever in debt to those who wear the badge; to men and women with a deep sense of duty, and a willingness to serve and sacrifice on our behalf.

“And I think these individuals don’t mind me saying that they are representative of the sacrifices and that quiet courage that exists among law enforcement officers all across the country — and their families, because I know the strains of families in such a difficult job is significant as well.

“And to those families, those of you who are here today, we want to say thank you to you as well.”

Founded in 1978, NAPO bills itself as the strongest unified voice supporting law enforcement officers in the United States:  “NAPO represents more than 2,000 police units and associations, 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers, 11,000 retired officers and more than 100,000 citizens who share a common dedication to fair and effective crime control and law enforcement.”

(Click on headlines to read):

Paramus Detective Morgan, Officer Hayo receive TOP COPS awards

Sunday, 04 March 2012 12:49 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Paramus Police Detective Rachel Morgan and Officer Ryan Hayo have been named 2012 recipients of the prestigious TOP COPS Award given by The National Association of Police Organizations.

A fleeing suspect crashed his car and then shot Morgan when she rushed to help him the night of Feb. 6, 2011. Hayo came to her aid, fending off the crazed gunman in a firefight before the shooter turned the gun on himself.

Morgan was struck twice in the abdomen and once in the leg. It was touch-and-go at the start, but she fought through four separate surgeries the first three weeks, determined to not only survive physically and emotionally but to become a detective – and a role model.

She got her shield in December and returned to the department in January, even though she has various surgeries and procedures left .

Wounded officer to speak to police academy grads

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:56 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Hometown heroine Paramus Detective Rachel Morgan, shot three times during an encounter with a crazed gunman last year, is the keynote speaker at tonight’s River Vale Junior Police Academy Commencement Ceremony.

Should newspaper get shooting video of Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan?

Saturday, 11 June 2011 02:38 Jerry DeMarco

EDITORIAL : Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan is outraged that the Bergen Record has asked a judge for the in-car videotape of a crazed gunman shooting her — and so are a rising tide of people who think the newspaper’s got some nerve.

Donation to Paramus police vest fund

Thursday, 12 May 2011 00:33 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : Chris Riportella, President of the All American Corvette Club, made a donation on behalf of the organization to the Paramus P.B.A. Local 186 Vest Fund, which is used to purchase new vests for borough officers when they are hired or once their existing vests have reached their life expectancies.

Paramus police officers among those honored at moving memorial

Saturday, 07 May 2011 03:55 Jerry DeMarco

WITH VIDEO: Pardon Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan if she was somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the Stamford Police Department’s fifth annual memorial parade, as rows of motorcycles, pipe and drum corps from Bergen County and other areas and hundreds of police officers in formal dress descended on city headquarters following a march down Bedford Street.

Officers honored for bravery by The 200 Club of Bergen County

Friday, 06 May 2011 12:55 Jerry DeMarco

A car with two fleeing occupants had just knocked down Fair Lawn Police Officer Kenneth Cavanaugh when the driver accelerated straight for Sgt. Michael Messina. The car sent Messina flying, but not before he squeezed off two well-aimed shots into the hood. For their bravery, both officers were honored by the 200 Club this week.

Hail to Paramus Officer Rachel Morgan and Ryan Hayo — and to Bergen’s prosecutor

Thursday, 31 March 2011 17:42 Jerry DeMarco

EDITORIAL : Technically, he didn’t have to do it: Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli could have simply filed his report with the state Attorney General about the Feb. 6 chase and subsequent shootout that left Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan critically wounded and the suspect dead from deliberately shooting himself. But the prosecutor held a news conference today to laud Morgan and her backup, Officer Ryan Hayo, as heroes.

Officer Rachel Morgan, wounded by gunman, released from hospital

Thursday, 17 February 2011 23:12 Jerry DeMarco

Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan was released from the hospital today, following the announcement that police in River Vale police are holding a blood drive in her honor. Morgan, who was shot several times by a fleeing suspect Feb. 6, lives in town.

Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan publicly thanks friends, family — and her hero

Saturday, 12 February 2011 23:02 Jerry DeMarco

Are you ready for this? From her hospital bed, Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan sent a message to everyone praying for her recovery — and thanked her backup, Officer Ryan Hayo: “I may not have survived had u not gotten there so fast,” she wrote.

Wounded Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan tells her boss: ‘I’m coming back to work’

Friday, 11 February 2011 13:27 Jerry DeMarco

“Tell him I’m coming back to work,” Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan wrote to her boss, Acting Police Chief Christopher Brock. “Amazing,” Brock said of the 31-year-old officer, who is recovering from being shot twice by a fleeing suspect Sunday night.

Gunman who critically wounded Paramus police officer dies at hospital

Wednesday, 09 February 2011 15:15 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : 3:25 p.m., Feb. 9: The man who shot Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan and then turned the gun on himself was declared dead at 3:02 p.m. today, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Gunman in Paramus firefight shot himself in suicide try, authorities confirm

Monday, 07 February 2011 17:07 Jerry DeMarco

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : Two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT Monday that the trajectory of the bullet through Michael Sean Carmody’s chin clearly indicates he turned his own gun on himself after he was wounded in a shootout with police.

Paramus police officer critical but stable after shooting surgery

Monday, 07 February 2011 10:35 Jerry DeMarco

UPDATE : Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan is listed in critical but stable condition this morning after she was shot following a chase last night. The gunman, Michael Sean Carmody of Westwood, is reported in critical condition after being shot several times, including in the head.

Paramus police officer shot

Monday, 07 February 2011 00:25 Jerry DeMarco

UPDATE : Paramus Police Officer Rachel Morgan is listed in critical but stable condition this morning after she was shot following a chase last night. The gunman, Michael Sean Carmody of Westwood, is reported in critical condition after shooting himself in the head.

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