Detective Danny Crouse, who has been employed with the Salem Police Department since January 2008, has been selected by his peers as “Officer of the Year” for 2012 after saving a woman from jumping off of a bridge.
On March 11, 2012, at approximately 2:40 p.m., when he was still a member of the Patrol Division, Crouse was dispatched to investigate a possible “jumper” who had been seen on an interstate bridge between mile markers 140 and 141 on 1-81.
After checking several bridges on the interstate, it was discovered that the subject was actually on the Electric Road bridge that goes over I-81 just off of exit 141. When Crouse and other officers arrived, the female was on her cell phone talking to relatives and advising them that she was preparing to jump from the bridge into the path of a semi-truck on the Interstate.
“The main thing I was concerned about was her well being,” says Crouse. “I just didn’t want her to do what she was attempting to do and not only hurt herself, but a lot of other people who were close to her.”
As the lady crawled over the guardrail and stood on the narrow concrete ledge of the bridge, she spotted officers from the Salem Police Department heading in her direction. With her focus on them, she did not see Crouse coming up behind her, and without hesitation he went over the guardrail and quickly grabbed the woman and pulled her backwards to safety.
“You just have to rely on your instincts in that type of situation,” he says. “I wasn’t doing anything spectacular – I was just doing my job.”
After a brief struggle, the woman was subdued and placed into handcuffs. She told Crouse and the other officers that she intended to jump and was just waiting for a “large enough” truck to pass by on the Interstate. The woman was taken into custody and turned over to mental health officials.
“Danny’s actions at this incident show his true professionalism, and how he never hesitated to place himself into harm’s way in order to keep this person from harming herself,” says Jeff Dudley, Salem Police Chief. “Danny demonstrated his ability to maintain his composure and cognitive reasoning under a dire life-threatening situation.”
Dudley says Detective Crouse exemplifies drive, ambition, enthusiasm and a solid work ethic each and every day. In addition, Dudley says Crouse is quick to stress the importance of these traits to the new officers that he trains in the Field Training Officer’s program which, in turn, helps create a healthy atmosphere in the workplace.
“Danny is a very quiet, easy going person who is very dedicated to the citizens of Salem,” says Dudley. “He displays a strong personal commitment to the department and he is a true team oriented officer who is always willing to go out of his way to assist others.”
Crouse is a 1986 Glenvar High School graduate who was born in California, but raised just outside of Salem from the time he was a teenager. After excelling in football, baseball and wrestling at Glenvar, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business and Finance from Radford University and his Master’s in Business Administration from Averett University. Crouse got into Law Enforcement in 2008, after a successful business career in the transportation and hotel industries.
“This is a fantastic honor and it really makes you feel good to be recognized in this way,” he says. “I’m almost 45-years-old, so I’m old enough to say that, hopefully, a younger officer will look at me as kind of a role model and say ‘if he can do it, then so can I.’”
Crouse resides in Botetourt County with his two daughters, Danielle and Hayden.
Submitted by Mike Stevens