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Corporal Todd J. Hawkins, Officer Lance I. Neighbors, Detective Lieutenant John. D. Dixon, Detective Sergeant Richard P. Wright, and Detective Jordan T. Land were honored and presented the 2023 Valor Award during the annual Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Awards Banquet in Norfolk on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
The VACP’s Award for Valor recognizes a law enforcement officer who, in the line of duty, performs an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged with an adversary at imminent personal risk. This is the most prestigious award that the VACP makes to officers.
Officers received the award following an incident that occurred on Feb. 10, 2023.
On that date, robbery suspect Barry Lewis Swanson, 39, was arrested in the 200 block of Greenwich Circle following a brief pursuit. Swanson was spotted by officers on Parker Road and was wanted for a robbery that occurred earlier in the day. After being spotted, Swanson fired shots at officers and fled from Parker Road. One officer returned fire. Neither Swanson nor the officer were struck by gunfire.
Earlier in the day on February 10, Swanson was involved in a domestic dispute, and injured one person while committing robbery.
Swanson fled from Parker Road and later spotted and pursued until he crashed on Greenwich Circle, and fled on foot.
Detectives gave chase and encountered the suspect as he was trying to force his way into the occupied residence. The suspect was armed and began yelling at the officers present. Detectives immediately began to de-escalate Swanson by calling him by name and began reasoning with him while other detectives provided lethal cover. They were able to build a quick rapport with Swanson, which led to impactful dialogue between the detectives and the suspect. Detectives persuaded Swanson to drop the firearm and surrender.
The officers and detectives remained calm and professional during the hostile situation where shots had been fired. They were able to think clearly and made quick decisions that led to the safety of residents, students, parents, staff, and bystanders. Although their adrenaline was high, they were still able to work to de-escalate the situation with an armed suspect that had already shot at the police. They showed empathy and courage to apprehend a violent offender quickly and successfully without anybody being seriously hurt or injured.
Photo Caption: The 2023 VACP Valor Award was presented to five Danville Police Department members during the annual Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Awards Banquet in Norfolk on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Colonel Jeffrey S. Katz, Chesterfield County Police Department and VACP President, left, with Corporal Todd J. Hawkins, Officer Lance I. Neighbors, Detective Lieutenant John. D. Dixon, Detective Sergeant Richard P. Wright, Detective Jordan T. Land, Chief Scott C. Booth and Honorable Terrance C. Cole, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety & Homeland Security.