Heroic Police Should Be Praised. Why? Because They Deserve It. Here’s One Example
By Jim Rada

Tribune Archives, Community, History, Law, National, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, People, Police Department News, Politics 9 Comments

Former Reporter, Editor, Author, and Historian Jim Rada.

GETTYSBURG, PA— January 14, 2022 — On January 9, 2022, Mark Jenkins, a 70-year-old former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, took off from Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, California, in a Cessna 172. Unfortunately, the small plane lost power and crash-landed on the street, sliding onto railroad tracks.

The crash left Jenkins dazed inside the cockpit. Typically, this wouldn’t have been a major issue. He would have come to his senses before long, and the experienced Air Force fighter pilot would deal with the problem– except for one problem. A train was heading at full speed toward the plane, unable to stop in time. So it was a good thing for Mr. Jenkins that the Pacoima Police Department was not defunded.            

“I saw the plane come down,” said Police Sgt. Joseph Cavestany. He was one of the four Los Angeles Police Department officers who responded to the emergency within five minutes of the crash. “It had looked like he was sideways… I requested our communications to stop all rail activity.”

The police officers spoke to the pilot to keep him conscious. Then came the sound of bells and flashing lights, signaling an oncoming train, the responding officers recalled during the press conference.            

“We looked, and sure enough, there was a train headed right for us at full speed,” Officer Robert Sherlock, another responding officer, said.

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers pulled the bloodied pilot from the plane and ran from the tracks while carrying Jenkins body to safety. One officer’s bodycam caught the incident on video.

Seconds later, a trained smashed the wrecked plane to smithereens. If the pilot had still been aboard, he assuredly would have been killed. Instead, the video seems to show a piece of the wreckage barely missing hitting the police.

Despite watching the train heading straight at them, unable to stop in time, the Los Angeles Police Department officers did their jobs. They risked their lives and went to the plane and rescued the pilot. Because of the heroism of officers Police Sgt . Cavestany, Police Officer Robert Sherlock, Police Officer Damien Castro, and Officer Christopher Aboyte, the pilot, Mark Jenkins is still alive.

This is one reason that a well-trained police force is needed. How many civilians would have been willing to put their lives on the line like that?

This incident was a dramatic example of heroism within the ranks of police forces across the country. Some police officers’ acts of heroism may not be as movie-worthy as this incident, but they are just as important to the people they help by putting their own lives at risk.

Last year in Millvale, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Joe Spalick was the first officer on a bad house fire scene. Neighbors yelled that three people were trapped inside. He found two people in the backyard, but he ran into the house to find a woman who had run back inside for her purse and medication.

In Arizona, Phoenix Police Officers Joel Kaminsky and Rudy Castillo rescued a driver from a burning car.

In 2020, Lodi Police Officer Erika Urrea saved a man’s life after his wheelchair got stuck on railroad tracks while he was crossing. The train couldn’t stop in time, but Urrea rushed forward, grabbed the man, and pulled him away from the oncoming train.

These are just a few rescues where police endangered their own lives to save another. They didn’t do these things for glory, fame, or social justice. They did them because it was the right thing to do. They did it because they greatly love the people they serve, even though that love only seems to go one way lately.

With so many men and women willing to put their lives on the line every day, the least we can do is make sure they are protected as well as they can be with the proper gear, including bulletproof vests

InVest USA is one charitable organization that donates bulletproof vests to police, including to the police officers who recently rescued pilot Mark Jenkins, as well as to fellow police officer Jackie Ravelo, who donated one of her kidneys to give a young girl a second chance at life.

Finally, we can back our police officers when they are unduly given bad press. It doesn’t mean we have to accept everything the police do as flawless. They are human, after all, but if we are willing to chastise them publicly, we should praise them at least as loudly.

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Jim Rada is an award-winning former reporter who lives in Pennsylvania. He works as a freelance writer with a specialty in history. His articles have appeared in more than 130 national and regional publications.

TribuneHeroic Police Should Be Praised. Why? Because They Deserve It. Here’s One Example
By Jim Rada

Comments 9

  1. To criticize Mayor Adams from his days in the department in a vulgar manner is typical of how many cops speak.(Low.) Eric Adams was the best choice out of all those running . He’s Being criticized for the appointment of his trusted brother. Nothing different from when JFK appointed his brother RFK US Attorney General.

    1. I personally dealt with Eric Adams and he ruined a friend and co-worker’s life PO Lizette Lebron who bravely reported police corruption. Thirty years ago working in NYC Transit Police district 1 in Columbus Circle flyers were placed in our mailboxes during this mess. They were from a fictitious white Supremacist police organization called “The Blue Order” encouraging us to shoot our fellow black cops. Shocked I turned mine into the disgusted desk sgt who notified internal affairs. Chief Bratton was even more disgusted and had the Sgt test cheaters arrested and they were fired upon conviction. Without elaborating on the details the racial hoax flyers were traced to Eric’s brother who was an NYPD cop in the precinct covering our NYCTPD district. I’ve had a number of very uncomfortable encounters with Eric Adams. His racial antics which were extremely unnecessarily divisive, unprofessional, unproductive and destructive would have sent me to federal prison. Eric knew neurotic Manhattan white liberals would approve of his hiring his brother to stave off invisible, mysterious and elusive “white supremacists” and that he could trust his brother because he previously participated in a similar hoax. Eric Adams’ brother was ONLY hired because he knew his brother would play interference in relation to Eric’s multiple girlfriends and “baby-mamas!”Hold onto your seats because the Adams/Bragg act is going to be a circus 🎪🤡

    2. He’s being criticized for his appointment of the woke DA Bragg as well. Many of his own prosecutors have resigned already. Do you approve of that hire as well? Or are you more concerned with how vulgar cops speak? Adams is putting together a Marxist mob to ensure NYC remains the armpit of the state and the country

    1. I assume you referring to Eric Garner and George Floyd…..TWO such incidents that each happened probably once in your life existence…..Which probably breaks down to .000000000000000000000001% per year. We all can agree Derek Chauvin was a rogue cop and he’s paying for his poor judgement

      Let’s take it a step further though. Eric Garner was morbidly obese, and contributed to his demise by not complying with authority and waiting for the legal system to play out again for him. Being arrested 40 plus times also played a role in his Garner’s poor actions that fateful day. George Floyd also was not fit for an intense struggle with the amount of drugs he had in his system which definitely contributed to his death. He too should have complied when he was caught attempting to use counterfeit money

  2. I’m a retired NYPD detective with Thirty five years in law enforcement and you have to be mentally ill to become a cop today. I had a front row seat for Sgt. Eric Adams’ racial antics thirty years ago and he’s nothing but a race hustler and a poverty Pimp. Dear white liberals please enjoy the fruits of your labor because you’ve certainly earned it. If you’re a “criminal of color” please, please prey upon Manhattan white liberals from the upper west side, west village etc. because they voted for DA Bragg and they can’t and won’t defend themselves. Be forewarned if you try this in Albanian, Russian, Polish Eastern European neighborhoods you’re going to be found in a dumpster or gutted and beaten half to death by old school Irish and Italians.

  3. Thank You for pointing this out. Democrats and the media do not like the police though. So it’s really good to read instances of selfless heroics by the police that resulted in lives being saved. Sadly, democrats and the media are hell bent on the false narrative that police (especially white police officers) hunt down black people and kill them. This is despite the overwhelming data that more white people have been shot and killed by the police since 2017, about the same time democrats, media, and BLM started the push to defund the police

  4. All police officers should be praised , after all every time they put on their uniform and leave their home there is a chance that day they could be a hero, or not come home at all. And no :`m not a police officer and I`m not related to one.

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