Police Officer Randall Courson
Pulaski Township (PA) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Police Officer Randall Courson, of the Pulaski Township (PA) Police Department, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for April 2013.
At approximately 9:30 pm on January 4, 2013, Officer Courson completed his shift and drove his patrol vehicle to the department’s parking facility to retrieve his personal vehicle and head home. As he pulled into the garage, he spotted headlights off in the distance heading his way. Minutes later, when he exited the garage, he noticed the headlights were no longer visible and assumed that the automobile had passed. Sensing something strange, Officer Courson began to follow the road toward where he had seen the headlights. As he crossed over a bridge, he saw what he had feared—vehicle tracks in the snow leading to an overturned truck which had landed in the deepest part of the creek. Officer Courson knew that the crash had happened only minutes before and radioed dispatch for assistance.
Although the thermometer read 27 degrees and the car was submerged in 3½ feet of water, Officer Courson jumped into the frigid waters of Deer Creek. He could not see any of the occupants of the vehicle, but he heard the voice of a young man calling out to his friend. Officer Courson spoke with the driver who indicated that he was alright and able to keep his head above water.
Assured that the driver was able to breathe, Officer Courson attempted to open the passenger door, which was completely underwater. He managed to open the door a few inches but was unable to reach the passenger, whose seat belt was still fastened. Officer Courson knew that time was running out and called for more assistance. First responders from just about every local jurisdiction arrived quickly on the scene to help. However, it wasn’t until firefighting equipment arrived that the passenger door could be completely opened and the seatbelt cut, freeing the 15-year-old passenger. Despite the valiant efforts of Officer Courson and the others who assisted that evening, the passenger, high school sophomore, did not survive the accident.
Eventually, the driver was extracted from the vehicle and, with a core body temperature of 91 degrees, was rushed to the hospital, where he physically recovered from the ordeal. It was learned later that the driver had swerved to avoid hitting a deer and lost control of the vehicle, plunging into the icy creek. His parents believe that if not for the heroic efforts of Officer Courson, their son would not be alive today.
Officer Courson retired from the Howard County (MD) Police Department after more than 23 years of service. He then returned to Pulaski Township, where he was born and raised and, in 2010, joined its police department. He has received multiple lifesaving awards during his career, as well as a Bronze Medal and Silver Star from the Howard County Police Department.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officer Courson, along with the other Officer of the Month Award winners for 2013, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC in May 2014 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program