Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to make sure our communities are safe.
But sometimes, help from the public makes or breaks a situation.
Every year the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department gives the Guardian Angel Award to people who risked their own safety to help, by putting themselves in harms way to help an officer in need.
Meet Chris Hulm and Robby Aldrich, the recipients of this year’s awards.
Aside from his time at work, Robby Aldrich enjoys spending his time at home with his wife and daughter.
One evening in July he came home to an unwelcome surprise.
The Bismarck Truck Driver explains, “I heard tires squealing.”
We won’t show his house for safety reasons, but Aldrich witnessed several people get out of a vehicle in an attempt to escape officers.
Aldrich shares, “I ran after the guy that went behind my house. Then, noticed one of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s deputies cut me off, and I turned around and went after the other people.”
Chris Hulm is no stranger to police work. The second award went to the Former Burleigh County Dentention Officer.
Hulm explains what happened, “At that time I observed an inmate in stripes fleeing.”
He was driving near the courthouse, when he saw a deputy chasing the prisoner. So Hulm parked his vehicle, got out and helped detain him.
He adds, “I’ve been in positions like that before where it’s just me.”
Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Jared Lemieux says he was called to assist that day.
Corporal Lemieux says, “And it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, thank God’. You know, because in a situation like that you have no idea with someone trying to escape prison time.”
Both Aldrich and Hulm say, it was just instinct.
Aldrich explains, “I tried to help get them caught, because we can’t have people running around harming people like that.”
Hulm adds, “It’s just kind of the law enforcement thing to do, the brotherhood. I guess there’s no other way to look at it. It was the right thing to do, the only thing to do I thought.”
Corporal Lemieux says it puts his mind at ease, knowing there are people out there willing to help.
However, he adds that law enforcement goes through a lot of training before going out on duty.
His best advice: be cautious. He says if you notice an officer in distress, make sure to observe first before jumping in.
It’s important the police know you’re there to help, rather than to escalate the situation.