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PURCELLVILLE POLICE OFFICERS HONORED WITH VALOR AWARDS
PURCELLVILLE, Va., April 27, 2022 — Today, the 2023 Loudoun Chamber’s Annual Valor Awards were held at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia honoring local first responders for their heroic and lifesaving efforts during incidents which occurred in 2022. Purcellville Police Sergeant David Camp, Officer Michael Dickson and Officer Lauren Ritter were recognized with a Unit Citation Award today for their handling of an incident which resulted in saving the life of a local resident.
On Sunday, October 9, 2022, at the start of his day shift, Sergeant David Camp was asked to look into a request for a welfare check. Due to the time the initial information was received at approximately 2:00 a.m., night shift officers could not reach the complainant to obtain information necessary to perform the check. Sergeant Camp successfully contacted the complainant, an apartment property manager, and learned he received a phone call from a resident’s out of town sister, who was concerned because she had not heard from her sister in four days.
At 5:30 a.m., Sergeant Camp contacted the caller directly to obtain more information about the situation. The woman stated she visited with her sister the previous weekend and found her sister suffering from chronic depression after losing her husband and three children to cancer. Since then, the complainant was unable to reach her sister, who normally wakes-up around 8:00 a.m. Upon learning this new information, Sergeant Camp, along with Officer Lauren Ritter and Officer Michael Dickson, attempted to contact the woman at her apartment in Purcellville. There was no answer at the door after repeated attempts to reach the resident.
Officers considered the resident may be sleeping, and while waiting for her to wake-up, they gathered intelligence. Officer Ritter and Officer Dickson contacted five of the woman’s neighbors. None of them reported seeing her or speaking to her in four days, and no one possessed a spare key to her apartment. Meanwhile, Sergeant Camp called all five area hospitals and confirmed the woman was not checked into a local hospital. When Officer Ritter canvased the area, she located the woman’s vehicle in the parking lot, and confirmed the subject was not inside her vehicle. Officers also found an untouched two-day old newspaper on the woman’s doorstep.
At 8:00 a.m., officers once again attempted to contact the woman at her door but found no answer. Taking into consideration all the information and facts they gathered, Sergeant Camp contacted the property manager for a key and gained access to the apartment. Officer Ritter and Officer Dickson announced their presence, made entry, and conducted a thorough search of the apartment. As they entered the back bedroom, they heard a faint whimper. Officers found the woman face down on the floor, she was cold to the touch, had severe bruising, and lividity started to set in from being face down for several days. Sergeant Camp immediately called for rescue, while Officer Dickson and Officer Ritter tended to the woman.
Further investigation revealed the woman’s sister had good reason to be alarmed. Officers found a suicide note and empty pill containers next to the woman’s bedside. While the woman was being treated by Loudoun County Fire and Rescue personnel, Sergeant Camp contacted her family members and advised them of the situation. Officer Dickson stayed with the woman at the hospital until family members arrived. Had officers not worked quickly and efficiently to conduct a thorough investigation, ensure proper procedures were followed, and subsequently make entry into her apartment, it is clear this woman would not have survived. They knew what needed to be done and ultimately saved her life.
“This incident serves as reminder that going above and beyond to conduct a thorough investigation to what seemed like a routine welfare check ultimately lead to saving a life. Had these officers waited to follow up with this information just a little later, the outcome could have been very different. I am so proud of the dedicated public servants not only in our Department, but all the first responders we are fortunate to work with in Loudoun County. The amazing stories told today regarding the daily work our local fire and rescue, law enforcement, and communications personnel perform, as well as the actions of our brave citizens, are to be commended,” said Purcellville Police Chief Cynthia McAlister.
The Loudoun County Valor Awards program was established by the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the local public safety agencies, to recognize and acknowledge members of the various public safety departments, as well as everyday citizens, who have placed themselves in harm's way over the past year to ensure the safety of others.
A total of 25 courageous citizens and 93 heroic first responders from the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Leesburg Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Virginia State Police were also recognized at the event.
Officer Lauren Ritter, Officer Michael Dickson, Sergeant David Camp, & Chief Cynthia McAlister (L-R)
The Town of Purcellville, Virginia
“Purcellville-your small Town, where history and progress intersect and people prosper,” is an award-winning town of over 10,000 residents located in Loudoun County, approximately 50 miles west of Washington, DC. Having received the prestigious Siemens Sustainability Award for Small Communities, Purcellville continues to be honored for its green initiatives with most recently being the Tree City USA recipient for the 13th year. The Town was reaffirmed as a AAA rated community by S&P Global Ratings, the highest credit rating possible, and is ranked “Safest City” in Virginia in 2020. Once a stop along the W&OD rail line, which has been converted to a multi-use trail from Alexandria, VA to Purcellville, the Town has maintained its historic old-town feel through the restoration and maintenance of its many downtown structures, reflecting the Victorian architecture popular during the early 1900s. Today, Purcellville is the economic hub of western Loudoun County and a popular weekend destination for antiquing, equestrian activities, farmer’s markets, wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. More info at www.purcellvilleva.gov.