Whitehall officers are honored
Ten Whitehall Township officers were recognized for their bravery and service to the community at the township’s second annual police commendation program May 14 in the township municipal building.
“In this increasingly dangerous world, police officers are putting their lives on the line every day,” said Lt. Gregory Bealer, who introduced the program.
Township Chief of Police Michael J. Marks lauded the honorees for their exemplary service.
“You contribute to making this a safe community,” Marks said. “You run toward danger despite every human instinct.”
Receiving commendations for meritorious service were Officers Raymond Seiling and Shawn McHugh, Lt. James Lucas and Cpl. Jeffrey Bruchak for their work in helping to solve a homicide.
On April 2, 2017, police responded to a report of an assault in the township and found a resident bleeding from the head. They attended to the injured man, who had been attacked with a baseball bat, and were able to get information to locate the assailant, identified as Larry Yaw, of Gilbertsville. The man died the next day from his injures, and Yaw was apprehended and sentenced to life in prison for the homicide.
Officer Michael Arnold received a commendation for meritorious service for his efforts March 4, 2017, in calming an intoxicated woman who had a gun and getting her help.
Officer Michael Godfrey received a commendation for meritorious service for his actions while off duty in Emmaus Sept. 15, 2017. He saw a man punching a woman and dragging her by her hair. He intervened and called local police, preventing further injury to the woman.
Arnold and Officer Joseph Remmel were awarded commendations for meritorious service for chasing and apprehending an armed robbery suspect Dec. 4, 2017, after the suspect had robbed Popeye’s Restaurant on MacArthur Road.
Seiling was also awarded a lifesaving commendation for his actions May 21, 2017. Police responded to a report of an armed robbery and found a resident shot in the leg and bleeding profusely. Seiling helped staunch the bleeding until township emergency medical services arrived and also gathered information from the victim that aided in the apprehension of the suspect.
Marks presented Officer Jason Mertz with the Purple Heart commendation for injuries sustained in the line of duty. Mertz and three other officers responded to a report of an intruder in a home Sept. 9, 2017. The homeowner, who was hiding in a closet, shot Mertz in the leg when the officers entered the residence.
Seiling and Ronald Kester Jr. were awarded the Medal of Honor, and Godfrey was awarded a commendation for meritorious service for his bravery in assisting Mertz and disarming the homeowner.
Also receiving a commendation for his years of service was Det. Andrew M. Artim Jr., a 30-year veteran and the commander of the Lehigh County Municipal Emergency Response Team. Artim was assigned to Lehigh County Drug Task Force and became acting commander in 2001.
Marks said over Artim’s vice career, he either has been directly responsible for or assisted with the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal narcotics and property, as well as hundreds of firearms that were taken from criminals.
Artim was a founding member of the Whitehall Township Emergency Response Team, which was formed in 1996. In 2002, he became a founding member of the Lehigh County MERT and became commander in 2012. Artim has received nine commendations from Whitehall Township, the City of Allentown and the Lehigh County district attorney. In 2017, he was named Police Officer of the Year by Lehigh County Chiefs of Police Association.
Lucas also announced a civic award would be given to 10-year-old resident Emory Bora, who stayed calm and took over steering a car and got it safely to the side of the road when the adult with whom he was riding had a medical emergency.