Five Richmond police officers were promoted in a ceremony Thursday morning, and Code Enforcement Officer Dave Ragowski received a Lifesaving Award for successfully negotiating with a Richmond resident who had threatened to commit suicide.
Police Chief Chris Magnus saluted the two newly minted lieutenants—Rahn Carmichael and Darren Monahan—and three new sergeants—Brian Gard, Armando Moreno and Tim Simmons—for their work.
“Getting promoted at the police department—at least at this police department—is no easy process,” Magnus said, adding that the officers had brought more than dedication to the department. “They project warmth, a good sense of humor, and they aren’t afraid to show empathy to others. These are not your cold, faceless, sour kind of guys who have been in police work for a long time and have that tough persona. These are people that aren’t afraid to interact with the public, to show that they care.”
Before an audience of family, friends, and current and retired Richmond police officers, City Clerk Diane Holmes administered the oath of office and family members stepped forward to pin new badges to the officers’ uniforms.
Magnus praised Darren Monahan for his role in building “one of the finest code enforcement units in the country” and noted that Carmichael, a 32-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department, had just been promoted, in March, 2011, to sergeant. “It worked out so well, I thought I’d do it again,” Magnus said.
Armando Moreno, cited for his work in the department’s K9 unit, thanked his parents in Spanish, explaining in English, “All my accomplishments in life and goals I’ve set would not have been possible but for the strong effort that they’ve provided, their hard work and ethics.”
Brian Gard, who was praised by Magnus for his work as an evidence technician, choked up as he thanked his family: “My beautiful wife Stephanie and my children, who sacrifice their time with me on a daily basis so I can pursue my career.”
Tim Simmons, who established the department’s prescription drug collection program, which allows residents to safely dispose of expired medications, echoed that, saying of his wife, “There’s a lot of sacrifice that she’s gone through, raising three stepchildren and a husband who’s trying to be involved in his career.”
The five were chosen from a pool of 19 Richmond police officers who successfully passed through the three-month process of written and oral assessments necessary to qualify for promotion.
Code Enforcement Officer Dave Ragowski was honored with a Lifesaving Award for his work averting a possible suicide. Officers had been asked to check in on a local homeowner by worried family members, said Deputy Chief Ed Medina, but when they arrived at the house, the resident threatened to shoot himself. The man was “a known hoarder,” and his family was trying to persuade him to discard some belongings, Medina said. Ragowski, who knew the man from past encounters, volunteered to speak with the man on the phone, eventually persuading him to unlock the door and come out. Police found several loaded guns in the house, Medina said.
“This incident could have ended tragically, as we’ve seen many times before,” Medina said. “Because of Dave’s empathy, professionalism, expertise and dedication, he helped resolve an intense and potentially fatal situation.”
“I don’t know what to say,” said Ragowski, “I just did what I had to do.”