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The City Journals

CHPD officers recognized by local firefighters

Feb 21, 2017 02:51PM ● By Cassie Goff

Officer Damien Olson, Officer Gary Young, Officer Kevin Salmon and Officer Demitri Shirts receive their Lifesaving Challenge Coin for their efforts in the Push to Survive program. (Dan Metcalf/Cottonwood Heights)

By: Cassie Goff |  [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) had some exciting recognitions to present on Tuesday, Jan. 24. This included the promotion of Chris McHugh, the introduction of Brayden Phelps and Assistant Fire Chief Mike Watson presenting awards of recognition to four of the CHPD officers.
“We have spent the past decade building and achieving what we have today; a good product to give to our citizens,” Police Chief Robby Russo said. Part of my role is to ensure its success for the future. In order to do that, I have to make sure that I choose good leaders to follow and take over.”
A sergeant position opened within the CHPD a few months back. Five different officers took the sergeants test in hopes of filling the position. Russo mentioned how all five of the officers could have easily received the position.
“I wouldn’t want to compete against them myself,” he said.
In the end, Chris McHugh scored number one on the test by a slim margin.
“Chris is one of our originals,” Russo said. “It’s been fun watching him mature after the last nine years, watching his kids grow as their father’s career builds.”
Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore praised McHugh, saying he has been successful in the DUI program and is one of the few officers who has been shot at.
Russo explained as a tradition, the first promotion of an officer is not done publically because it’s a private moment to share with family. However, Russo wanted him recognized in front of the council. He called McHugh and his family to the front of the room and had McHugh’s son pin his new badge onto his lapel.
After the recognition of the new sergeant, Russo introduced the newest recruit for the CHPD, Brayden Phelps. The CHPD will help put him through the academy before he works at least three years within the city.
“I like the idea of growing our own and sending them through the academy,” Russo said. “We will turn the department over to them some day.”
As Russo called Phelps and his family up to the podium, he mentioned that he had known Phelps’s father for over 30 years. Russo then told a story from when Phelps was a boy.
“We took Brayden to the (shooting) range,” Russo said. “He was screaming ‘U.S. Federal Agent! You have 10 minutes to comply! Surrender peacefully!’”
Phelps said it was his dad who told him to apply to CHPD.

“I really appreciate it,” Phelps said to the council. “Ever since day one it’s been like a family. I’ve had people come up to me to tell me that I’m appreciated.”
Watson proceeded with the next recognition, for the Push to Survive program.
“Firefighters can’t do their jobs without the police department,” Watson said. “They keep us safe on roadways, they block traffic and they protect us so firefighters don’t get harmed.”
Push to Survive is a public education campaign designed to improve outcomes for victims of Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
“When done perfectly, we are getting much better outcomes with patients who go under full arrest,” Watson said.
Two firefighters from station 110 nominated some of the CHPD officers for an award after working with them on a medical call and observing their work with Push to Survive.
“This is the first time a fire crew has nominated police officers for the award,” Watson said
A note of appreciation was sent on Jan. 3. Watson read some of this letter recognizing the officers.
“Upon arrival, there were at least two officers on the scene. One officer was doing CPR and other had cleared the hallway to make more room to work,” Watson said. “As CPR continued, the other officers on scene shoveled the walkway and prepped the stretch for patient transfer, as well as prepping the IV bags.”
Officers Kevin Salmon, Demitri Shirts, Gary Young and Damien Olson received a challenge coin for a job well done.
“This challenge coin is the Lifesaving Challenge Coin. It’s very significant,” Watson said. “Thank you so much for your incredible service.”
Cullimore said he was proud of the officers and the first responders.  
“We are fortunate to have these excellent employees in Cottonwood Heights and we are grateful for their service,” Cullimore said.