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Uncommon Bravery, Visionary Innovation Earn State Police Four Governor's Awards for Excellence

09/29/2020

Harrisburg, PA – Four Pennsylvania State Troopers will be recognized by Governor Tom Wolf for individual and group actions that prevented injury or loss of life and improved the quality of life of Pennsylvanians. The men are among 49 employees from nine agencies who earned a Governor's Awards for Excellence. A virtual awards ceremony will be held on September 30.

Corporal Adam Kirk was nominated by his supervisor, Lieutenant James Warner, for his heroic actions on December 10, 2019. A 14-year veteran of the department, Corporal Kirk and two troopers were requested to check on the welfare of a man at a home in Tioga County. After receiving no answer at the front door and fearing the man may be in crisis or in need of medical care, they went inside. As Corporal Kirk made his way toward the back of the house, he came to a doorway with a wool blanket tacked in the opening. As he pushed the blanket aside, the man fired a 12-gauge shotgun and struck Corporal Kirk in the chest at point-blank range. He crawled back to the front of the house where he and the two troopers escaped out of a window.

The ballistic vest he was wearing likely saved Corporal Kirk's life, but his actions in the aftermath of the shooting may have saved the lives of his fellow troopers and others. Despite being unaware of the extent of his injuries, Corporal Kirk took charge of the situation and ensured his subordinates escaped from the line of fire before directing them to perimeter locations. After he retrieved a long gun from his vehicle and provided it to one of the troopers, he also took up a position on the perimeter until backup arrived.

"Corporal Kirk's life changed in an instant when he was shot by someone he was trying to help," said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. "Although seriously injured, his first thoughts were for the safety of his fellow troopers and the public. Corporal Kirk's decisive actions undoubtedly prevented further injury or death, and I join Governor Wolf in thanking him for his service."

Corporal Kirk enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police in 2006. He is currently assigned as a patrol section supervisor at Troop F, Montoursville, and previously served at Troop K, Philadelphia and Troop G, Lewistown. Corporal Kirk was recognized as a "Top Gun" DUI enforcer for three straight years and was named the Travelers Protective Association of America Officer of the Year in 2015.

While Corporal Kirk was recognized for split-second decision making and heroism, three troopers from Troop A, Greensburg earned Governor's Awards for Excellence for their ongoing contributions to the commonwealth. They conceived of and developed a new team, dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis and keeping illegal guns and weapons out of the community.

Corporal John Isoldi and Troopers Anthony Arbaczewski and Zachary Del Sordo were among the first members of the Troop A Community Enforcement Team (TACET), which was created in 2017. TACET members are proactive and go above and beyond their typical patrol duties to prevent and respond to all manners of crime, with a focus on the opioid epidemic. The team emphasizes collaboration with various law enforcement agencies and often works long hours to take quick action on new information. In 2019, TACET was instrumental in multiple homicide investigations, fugitive apprehensions, and heroin/fentanyl seizures.

"The troopers behind TACET are a credit to the Pennsylvania State Police and proof that true vision and leadership come from all levels of the organization," said Colonel Evanchick. "The tactics and processes they developed are being implemented in other troops with the goal of achieving similar results."

Corporal Isoldi enlisted in the state police in 2005 and is a patrol unit supervisor at Troop A, Greensburg. Troopers Arbaczewski and Del Sordo each enlisted in 2014 and are members of the patrol section of Troop A, Greensburg. They were nominated for the award by Lieutenant Richard Quinn.

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Ryan Tarkowski, PSP, 717-783-5556
Dan Egan, Office of Administration, 717-772-4237

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