Release Date: December 2, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Two University at Buffalo police officers were honored last month by the State University at New York for heroism and professional service, one for risking his life to protect students on campus and the other whose coolness under pressure may have saved a life.
The statewide awards singled out Lt. Jonathan Fletcher and Officer Brian Horst for their bravery and professional conduct in separate incidents over the last 12 months.
For both UB policemen, this SUNY-wide award was the latest public recognition they received for their service, bravery and judgment facing danger. This time, Fletcher and Horst received professional service awards presented by Senior Vice Chancellor William Howard, SUNY Police Commissioner Bruce McBride and Deputy Commissioner Paul Berger in a statewide campaign to honor outstanding police work throughout the SUNY system.
“The university police and commanding officers we honor today have gone above and beyond in their service to SUNY students and to our campus communities, and we are proud to recognize their efforts,” said McBride.
“Thank you as well to the many university police officers and staff across New York who protect our campuses and ensure the safety of SUNY students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
Fletcher’s award dates back to May 2, 2013, when UB police received a fire alarm for one of the campus dorms. Fletcher responded to the call and found the building filled with smoke and one dorm room in flames.
Fletcher entered the building to evacuate the occupants and escort firefighters to the location of the fire. Once the scene was secure, he discovered that the fire was started due to illegal activity. Fletcher was able to identify the subject, which led to the student’s arrest and prosecution.
Horst’s recognition honored his service while working the dispatch desk at UB Police Headquarters. On Dec. 21, 2013, Horst received a call from a suicidal veteran. Using the resources of UB Police and outside agencies, Horst was able to identify the subject’s location and immediately dispatched officers to respond.
The UB police officers Horst sent found the veteran before he harmed himself. The officers took the distressed man to Buffalo Veterans Hospital for treatment. Commissioner McBride praised Horst’s thoroughness and professional cooperation with outside agencies to prevent what could have been a tragedy.
"This is but one more example of the good work our university police do on a daily basis,” said UB Police Chief Gerald Schoenle. “In Officer Horst's case, he may have saved a vet’s life. Lt. Fletcher risked his own personal safety to make sure our students were safe.”
Both officers have been recognized and honored for similar acts. Fletcher and UB Officer Sean Ford were recognized in 2010 for rescuing a man and his daughter, both of whom had ventured into Lake LaSalle on UB’s North Campus to save their struggling dog.
Fletcher and Ford responded to a report of a car in Lake LaSalle. When they arrived, they found no car in the water, but instead found a father and his daughter, who had gone into the water to save their struggling dog. The officers removed their gun belts and jumped into the lake to assist the victims.
When the officers reached the victims, they found that the man was having difficulty swimming. Ford helped the man, while Fletcher carried the dog back to shore. While other police officers helped the father and daughter, Fletcher administered CPR to the dog in an attempt to revive it.
Fletcher was one of 10 people honored by the 100 Club of Buffalo at its annual Hero Awards Dinner.
Horst received the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association’s Robert Bunker Award for Outstanding Performance in 2011. Horst was among UB and Amherst Town Police trying to find a 20-year-old suicidal female June 9, 2010, who had been reported missing earlier than day. Horst was with others searching for the girl along the bike path near North Forest Road.
The search had been called off shortly after noon, but Horst continued to search in the pouring rain for more than 30 minutes after other police left. Horst noticed a faint smell of perfume as he rode his bicycle along the bike path along Ellicott Creek. He eventually found the female who was attempting to take her life. Horst took away a rope around the girl's neck and called for assistance. The female was then transported to the Erie County Medical Center for observation.
“I can think of no greater act than saving a human life,” says Schoenle. “And both of these officers deserve to be recognized for that.”