Five Madison Township police officers honored for service

Sep. 5—Five Madison Township Police Department officers have been honored for outstanding performance during two separate incidents — a vehicle pursuit on Interstate 90 and a suicide threat.

Township Police Chief Matthew Byers selected Patrolmen Jesse Cudnik and Ryan Shannon to receive department excellence citations for their actions in resolving an incident that occurred on July 17. The chief presented those same honors to Patrolmen Shawn McClure and Todd Perry and Sgt. Matthew Gosnik for their efforts after responding to a call on March 14.

Byers gave the citations to the officers during a recent Madison Township trustees meeting.

During the same gathering, the chief also announced that Gosnik and Perry soon would be receiving separate awards from the Lake County Police Chiefs Association. Gosnik and Perry each have been chosen as winners of the association's distinguished service award because of steps they took in defusing a potentially deadly incident on May 18.

Here are summaries of how the Madison Township officers qualified for their awards:

—Shannon and Cudnik — Department excellence citations.

On July 17, 2021, Shannon and Cudnik assisted Parma Police Department in concluding that department's pursuit of a vehicle that was traveling eastbound on Interstate 90. Parma police reported that occupants of the vehicle had fired shots at law enforcement officers.

Shannon and Cudnik helped Parma police by deploying tire deflation devices — also known as stop sticks — in the path of the suspect vehicle as it approached the 212-mile marker of I-90 in Madison.

The stop sticks deflated three tires on the vehicle, disabling it and ending the I-90 pursuit. At that point, the two vehicle occupants fled into the woods and were taken into custody a short time later by Parma police.

During the deployment of the stop sticks, Cudnik sustained a severe cut to his left hand. He initially was transported to a hospital to have stitches.

But that wasn't the end of Cudnik's medical treatment from the incident, Byers said.

"Patrolman Cudnik later underwent surgery to remove a tendon, received several more stitches, and endured weeks of physical therapy," Byers said. "He eventually returned to full duty."

The Lake County Police Chiefs Association later awarded Cudnik an injury on duty citation, "which is for serious physical harm sustained in direct performance of duties," Byers said.

—McClure, Perry and Gosnik — Department excellence citations.

They all responded to a March 14 report of a 54-year-old woman who threatened to shoot herself.

"The female was in her vehicle at an unknown location and on a video chat with Signature Health employees," Byers said.

Officers responded to the woman's residence and spoke with her husband, who was able to GPS her cellphone and determine that she was in North Perry Village.

"Sgt. Gosnik remained with the husband to relay GPS locations until officers located her traveling on McMackin Road in Madison (Township)," Byers said.

When the woman stopped and McClure approached the vehicle, he noticed what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun and a knife on the passenger seat of the vehicle, Byers said.

"The female refused to lower the heavily tinted windows, unlock the vehicle or even acknowledge the presence of the officers," the chief noted.

After McClure and a Lake County Sheriff's Office deputy who also responded attempted, without success, to talk to the woman for 40 minutes, it was determined that intervention was necessary.

A plan was developed in which a North Perry Village police officer went to the woman's home and got a second key fob for her car. Gosnik, who observed that the sunroof of the woman's car was partially open, then intended to deploy a Taser through that gap to immobilize her while the car door was opened.

As soon as the Taser was deployed, a Perry Village police officer would open the passenger side door and secure the gun and knife. At the same time, Perry and the sheriff's deputy would open the driver's side door and extricate the woman, since she was immobilized.

During that span, McClure would provide lethal-weapon cover.

"This plan was executed and the female was taken into custody with no visible injury," Byers said.

The firearm in the car was determined to be an Airsoft gun that looked much more dangerous. However, the woman did have a real knife at her side.

—Gosnik and Perry — Scheduled to receive distinguished service citations at September meeting of the Lake County Police Chiefs Association.

On May 18, Gosnik and Perry were dispatched to a residence on Ashview Drive for a report of 54-year-old man who had threatened to commit suicide.

Both officers made initial contact with the man and his mother, prior to the arrival of Lake County Crisis Team members.

"The male was seated on an ottoman in the living room of the residence," Byers said. "He appeared to be intoxicated and was holding an open can of beer."

Two crisis team members had a lengthy conversation with the man. After the man eventually was told he would be taken for psychological evaluation, he put down his beer on a coffee table that was slightly behind him.

"He then reached under a purse that was also sitting on the coffee table and retrieved a small, semi-automatic handgun," Byers said.

Perry reacted by lunging forward, grabbing the man's arm and hand. Gosnik joined in the struggle. The officers took the man to the floor and eventually were able to subdue and handcuff him.

Perry was able to position the gun so it was pointing away from the man and others in the room. Gosnik stripped the weapon out of the man's hand.

No shots were fired, but police later found the gun was loaded with a round in the chamber.

"Patrolman Perry and Sgt. Gosnik placed the welfare of the subject and the crisis team members ahead of their own safety during this selfless act of heroism," Byers said.