A look of disbelief was on the faces of both Officer Tracy Cabal and Officer John Childress as their names were announced as Miami-Dade County Chiefs of Police selection for Officers of the Year for 2014, representing ALL of law enforcement for the county.
The announcement came at the 15th annual Law Enforcement Awards (L.E.O.) ceremony held on March 7, 2015 in the grand ballroom of Jungle Island. The entire evening was a tribute to all law enforcement from all agencies, being recognized for the outstanding efforts and cases handled in 2014.
But the excitement grows throughout the evening until the final award is presented and for the first time in this agency’s 17 year history, two of our own took home the top award. In attendance were the city commission and city officials to witness and enjoy the ceremonies.
Officers Cabal and Childress were selected over all others for their daring but successful rescue of an emotionally disturbed and highly intoxicated male who was threatening suicide by jumping from atop the peak of the 163 Street causeway bridge. The victim’s ex-girlfriend summoned police and gave them just enough background on the individual, so that the officer could establish a verbal rapport and manage to attempt a rescue. In what turned out to be a harrowing several minutes, Officer Childress kept moving closer to the victim who was unstable on a small ledge outside the railing, high above the waters and concrete pillars below. A fall onto any of them was certain death.
When the opportunity presented itself, Childress grabbed the victim, physically overpowering him and with the assistance of Officer Cabal, his Field Training Officer, managed to bring the victim back over the railing, off the bridge and to safety. The victim was taken to a nearby mental health facility for evaluation and treatment. It was a great example of a strategic plan, implemented as planned, coordination and teamwork to bring a successful conclusion to a difficult situation. The slightest mistake changes the entire outcome, to tragedy.
It was evident how much pride the City of Sunny Isles Beach and its police department had that evening on March 7, when in front of ALL of Dade County law enforcement the heroic actions of these two officers and their squad members were selected as the “Best of the Best.” Congratulations to all!
The L.E.O. Awards is an annual event sponsored by anchor sponsors, The Roca Family of Bal Harbour and Mr. Richard Parrillo of United Auto Insurance Corp. along with many other supporting sponsors and businesses.