Rockland officer recognized for service in tense situation
Rockland — Rockland Police Patrolman Joel Neal Sr. was recognized Jan. 15 with the medal of bravery for his service during a tense response to a man threatening to harm himself in August.
A 22-year-old transient appeared to be seeking suicide by cop Aug. 31, when he pressed a gun to his head in Rockland in front of police officers responding to a complaint. The gun was a toy painted black, but Rockland Police officers did not know the gun was fake and drew their own weapons.
The man, who is not being named as he has not been charged with a crime, refused repeated orders to drop the weapon, said Rockland Police Deputy Chief Wally Tower at the time of the incident.
Neal was able to get behind the man and use a Taser on him, defusing the situation, and causing the man to drop to the ground, said Tower.
The man was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center for an evaluation.
"He [Neal] is being recognized for his performance. He had a major role in the effort," said Rockland Police Deputy Chief Wally Tower.
Neal has been an officer with Rockland Police since 1998.