Smithfield police officers earn kudos for job well done

Smithfield police officers earn kudos for job well done

On Oct. 30 the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. I am sure that many Smithfield residents stayed up late to watch the game and the celebration before heading off to bed at what for many was beyond their normal bed time.

Like all other nights there were a group of individuals who were not in bed and who were vigilantly patrolling our community to keep the rest of us safe.

It was long after 1 o'clock in the morning as I drove home from the airport in Warwick to my home in Greenville. As I traveled north on Route 295 I was suddenly confronted with headlights coming directly at me.

A wrong-way driver was barreling south on the northbound side of the highway. I may not have realized what was going on and may not have been able to react to avoid the impending collision but for the fact that Smithfield police officers were on the southbound side of the highway with emergency lighting warning motorists of the extreme danger.

I learned that Officer Jason Corser had been actively patrolling Route 7 and had observed the vehicle heading down 295 on the wrong side of the road.

He immediately took action by notifying other officers who were able to get to the highway. Officers Jon Ricciarelli and David Walsh immediately joined Officer Corser in taking action to warn motorists and get this vehicle stopped before there was a tragic head-on collision.

The Smithfield officers were assisted by the Rhode Island State Police in getting the vehicle stopped, though I do not know who the trooper was who placed himself at tremendous risk by driving into the path of the wrong-way motorist to get him stopped. He or she should also be commended.

My night did not end there and neither did the night of our Smithfield Police officers. As I approached Smith Avenue on Route 44 I was stopped by construction flaggers who had traffic stopped in both directions on 44 so that a bulldozer could work on the new sidewalks being installed.

Suddenly a pickup truck passed the eastbound vehicles that were stopped, passed the construction barriers striking a vehicle and then violently struck one of the construction flaggers.

Officer Kyle Phillips, who was stationed on the easterly side of the construction site, took immediate action by getting assistance for the unconscious worker and moving quickly to prevent the driver of the vehicle from doing further damage.

Within seconds, Officer Ryan Perry, Officer Jason Corser, and Officer David Walsh were on the scene along with Sergeant Dennis Courtemanche. I watched as the officers, led by the sergeant provided for the safety of the workers, other motorists, and the witnesses who were stopped in traffic when the worker was struck.

Having some experience in law enforcement I could not help but be impressed by these officers and proud of my hometown police department as I watched the arrest of the motorist and the investigation unfold.

We should be proud of our police department and its officers.

Jack Ryan

Smithfield