Cranston Police officers Daniel Langlais and Seth Aldrich were already honored by their own department for stopping a man from killing himself last December, but now they’ve been recognized at a national level by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). This was done in a “roll call” ceremony at police headquarters Friday in front of many of their fellow officers.
According to Guy Lombari, who stopped by the Cranston police station to present citations as a representative of the VFW, said that each year, at their Rhode Island convention, they recognize “anyone who did something out of the ordinary or did their job very well, such as saving a life.”
He said they present the awards in a variety of categories, from education to law enforcement, and Langlais and Aldrich were the only two Rhode Island recipients in the latter group. The reason: their “heroics” in the December incident.
That incident began when there was a report to Cranston police of a suicidal missing person, a man who had been texting family members photographs of him cutting his wrists. After the man was entered into the national crime database, Officer Langlais traced the man’s location to Providence from the texts he was sending.
Langlais and Aldrich both responded to the location, where they found the man lying across the back seat of his car underneath a blanket. The doors and windows were locked, and they tried getting the attention of the man. He eventually emerged from under the blanket with a utility knife in his hand and started cutting under his neck, causing a minor laceration.
Aldrich then ran back to his police cruiser to get a glass-break tube while Langlais stayed with the man to de-escalate the situation. The man continued cutting his neck and made a severe laceration, at which point the officers broke through the glass window and attended to the man.
Langlais was able to stop the bleeding with the blanket while Aldrich assisted by holding him down. Providence Fire responded to the scene and brought the man to Rhode Island Hospital, where he had to have surgery but ended up living through the ordeal.
The two officers, meanwhile, had minor lacerations themselves and had been exposed to a large amount of blood, so they also were treated at the hospital.
Officer Aldrich, who is a 13 year veteran on the Cranston police force, said the department had done training just a couple weeks earlier on dealing with any type of wounds, so they had those processes fresh in their minds.
Aldrich also said that Langlais, who was in the National Guard and has been on the force for two years, had been trained for situations like that in the military.
“It’s a good thing her was there with me,” Aldrich said.
Mayor Allan Fung, who was on hand during the roll call ceremony Friday, said he was glad the VFW came in to do this special ceremony for the officers.
“I’m very proud of the officers, and I want to thank Lombari for coming in and distilling this recognition in front of their peers,” Fung said. “It’s important to honor our officers amongst their peers and colleagues when they go so much above and beyond. I’m so proud of this department.”
Police Chief Michael Winquist echoed those sentiments, saying that he had a lot of respect for the VFW and wanted to make sure that they showed the importance of the citations being given by doing a ceremony publicly in front of their officer’s peers.