Officer Laverne Hill was praised by members of the Jasper City Council Tuesday for his efforts in responding to an automobile accident on Dec. 28.
“I do a lot of things wrong, but occasionally I do something right. I hired Laverne Hill, and I’m real proud of that today.,” Rowe told members of the council.
Rowe said the accident happened on 20th Avenue East in Jasper.
When Hill arrived at the scene, Rowe said a vehicle, which was driven by Richard Thompson, was overturned and partially submerged in water with Thompson incoherent and trapped by his seatbelt, hanging in an inverted position.
Officers on the scene reported the water level inside the vehicle was rising quickly and the door to the passenger side was jammed, causing Thompson to be entrapped.
“Witnesses stated that without hesitation, Officer Hill jumped into the creek and used his physical strength to bend the vehicle’s door back after a neighbor assisted in prying the door open,” Rowe said.
As the water level continued to rise, Hill then crawled into the vehicle, freed Thompson and removed him from the vehicle, Rowe added.
“Officer Hill is an outstanding example of someone who puts service before self in the course of duty,” Rowe said. “I am pleased that he has chosen to serve our community and to work for our department.”
Representatives from three area businesses — Legacy Real Estate, Scott Crump Toyota and Reliable Air Conditioning — were at Tuesday’s council meeting to present Hill with an award.
“We want to give Officer Hill a little something from our businesses,” Scott Crump said. “We want to thank Officer Hill and tell him it is an honor to have you here in Jasper.”
Hill, a former football standout at Walker High School and Troy University, has been a member of the Jasper Police Department for 16 months. Council member Danny Gambrell, who was principal at Walker during Hill’s playing days, called him “the best high school linebacker” he’s ever seen.
Councilman Gary Cowen said he remembered Hill’s intensity on the field.
“It’s interesting to watch you save lives now, because, for years, I watched you try to kill opposing runnings backs,” Cowen joked.
Other police department items from Tuesday’s council meeting included:
•The approval of a contract between the Jasper Police Department and Southern Linc Wireless for the purchase of two-way and group radio service.
•Council members approved the addition of one police officer position within the Jasper Police Department. That addition was the first budget amendment for the 2013 fiscal budget.