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June 2012
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Citizen honored for helping police

BY HAWKINS TEAGUE The Mayfield Messenger

MAYFIELD -- The city of Mayfield honored a local citizen last week for helping restrain a suspect as a Mayfield Police Department officer attempted to handcuff and arrest him.

Police Chief Nathan Kent and other officials presented Billy Kennedy with a certificate of appreciation at last Monday's city council meeting. Kennedy is employed by the city in the Public Works Department. Kent said Kennedy happened to be driving nearby when he observed a struggle happening on Paris Road between an officer and a suspect.

Kent said police received a report on Feb. 11 alleging that Trevor Taylor, 25, of Mayfield, had assaulted a homeowner on Skylark Drive with a deadly weapon and had damaged a considerable amount of property before leaving the scene. Kent said the officer later encountered the suspect on foot on Paris Road and approached him.

"When (the officer) got out to talk to him, the assailant charged at our officer and a scuffle ensued, which went to the ground," Kent said. "The officer was able to restrain the assailant but couldn't let go of him to be able to handcuff him and take him into custody. Mr. Kennedy and another citizen, who we were never able to identify, saw what was happening and they stopped and assisted our officer in getting the assailant into custody.

"Our officer was injured slightly during the course of that arrest. He had some abrasions and cuts that he was treated and released for, so it's not a stretch to say â ¦ that situation (could) have resulted in further injury - either to the arrestee or the arresting officer - if it weren't for the direct assistance of Mr. Kennedy."

Kent said the document he presented to Kennedy was prepared by Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell's office and signed by the mayor.

"Basically, it just acknowledged him publicly for his selfless and courageous act in support of the city police department," Kent said.

Kennedy said he was leaving a grocery store when he noticed an MPD officer getting out of his cruiser on Paris Road. He said he saw the officer trying to get a man's attention when the man ran toward the officer.

"That individual ran toward the officer and started fighting with him, chasing him around the car," Kennedy said. "At that point, I pulled behind next to the officer's car and assisted him in the arrest. I helped restrain one of his hands behind his back while the officer tried to get on the radio to call for help.

"At the time before I got there, the officer couldn't call for help, but once (the suspect) was on the ground and I assisted the officer with restraining him and holding him down to the ground, he was able to use the radio then. Then another individual came behind me and sat on (the suspect's) legs. That individual who assisted with us, he left before everybody else showed up."

Kennedy said that in addition to working full-time with the Mayfield Public Works Department, he is employed part-time at the Graves County Jail. He said he worked as a corrections officer in McCracken County for almost four years before he was transferred to Graves County. With a total of about six years of corrections experience, he is accustomed to similar situations, so he said he did not hesitate to stop and help.

"I saw a fellow brother in a time of need and I just assisted him," Kennedy said. "It's nothing special. I believe he would have done the same thing for me if I needed help."

Even given Kennedy's professional background, Kent said such physical assistance from a member of the public is relatively rare.

"It actually doesn't happen very often," Kent said. "Of course, you've got to be in the right place at the right time and then you have to have the frame of mind of being somebody that would be willing to help. Also, I think a lot of folks would just be afraid for their own safety, and that's kind of what makes it unique with Billy and this other citizen - who we would have loved to have recognized too, but he left the scene and we were never able to identify him. But that's two strangers that didn't know one another that both stopped to help and then put themselves in peril in doing so."

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