Pelham and Salem police officers will be among the outstanding New Hampshire law enforcers recognized by the state’s congressional delegation tonight.
But the highlight of the ceremony is likely to be the honors bestowed upon late Greenland police Chief Michael Maloney, killed in a shootout with a suspect in April.
Stephanie DuBois, an aide to Congressman Charles Bass, R-N.H., said the delegation wasn’t releasing the names of other honorees or detailing specific honors prior to the ceremony. The awards are handed out annually.
Pelham police Lt. Gary Fisher said seven members of his department will be recognized, including himself. Three Salem officers will be honored, including two who responded to an incident involving a suicidal man who was shot and killed when he threatened officers, Salem Deputy Chief Shawn Patten said.
Fisher said the other Pelham honorees are Chief Joseph Roark, Lt. Brian McCarthy, Sgt. Michael Pickles, Detective Sgt. Thomas O’Donnell and Detective James Johnson. He referred questions about their specific awards to Bass’ office.
The names of the Salem officers were not available. Officers from Salem, Pelham, Derry, Lowell and New Hampshire State Police responded to the October 2011 incident involving Alberto Pagan, 21 of Lowell.
Pagan’s vehicle was stopped by police on Hobbs Road in Pelham about two hours after officers responded to an assault at a Lowell home.
In the moments before he was shot, Pagan pleaded with officers and held a gun to his head, according to the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, which ruled that the shooting was justified.
Pagan begged and dared officers to shoot him, refusing to put the gun down and then charging the officers as he pointed the weapon at them, the attorney general’s office said.
Five officers fired at Pagan, killing him.
That incident was just one of numerous police-involved shootings in the state since last year, including the death of Maloney.
Maloney, only days from retirement, was shot and killed while officers were executing a search warrant during a drug raid at a Greenland home. His funeral in Hampton was attended by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and hundreds of fellow law officers from across the country
Four other law officers were wounded in the shooting.
Rochester detective Jeremiah Murphy, a Haverhill High School graduate, was among the wounded.
Newton patrol officer Chris Thurlow was among officers on the entry team but was uninjured. Thurlow set up the command post in the aftermath of the shooting and communicated with dispatch.
Bass and then-Congressman John E. Sununu initiated the awards program in 1998.
The ceremony tonight will be held where it all starts for most New Hampshire police officers — the Police Standards and Training Facility in Concord.
Staff writer Doug Ireland contributed to this report.