Acts of Heroism
courage . personal risk . assist victim of crimeMost of us remember the national outcry when a young crime victim named Kitty Genovese screamed in vain for help within hearing distance of hundreds of New Yorkers – none of whom would even call the police. The Courageous Community Member Award was created to focus attention on those in our community who hear, and who do not turn away. This distinction is awarded to commend those individuals who have acted with courage and at considerable personal risk to help a victim of crime, assist in the capture of a suspect, or testify in the face of extraordinary pressures. It is the fervent hope that others will be inspired to do the same.
The prosecutors, investigators, and victim-witness advocates of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office nominate recipients for this award which is presented annually at regional luncheons hosted by local Rotary clubs. Rotary, an international service organization, joins the Los Angeles Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney in honoring these community members, because the award recipients exemplify the highest form of community service.
We salute the following individuals who have distinguished themselves as outstanding and courageous members of the community because of their decision to get involved despite any great personal risk. The Courageous Community Member Awards were presented on March 18, 1998.
Jones of North Hollywood, who will be seen soon in the television show "Hollywood Safari," risked his life to prevent two suspects in a local restaurant robbery from escaping onto a local freeway. He observed two men rushing out of the restaurant. At first they headed towards him but reversed direction and ran, jumping into a van. Jones pursued them in his vehicle and obtained the license number.
As the pair sped toward a freeway on-ramp, Jones cut them off with his own vehicle. When the driver handed a revolver to the passenger, Jones wisely ended his pursuit. He turned the information over to law enforcement authorities, resulting in the suspects’ arrest for robbery. Both are now serving jail sentences for their crimes.
A regular runner, Ramseyer of La Canada, was engaging in his favorite pastime during lunch when he heard a woman screaming. She was shouting at men who were getting into a van. Surmising that a crime had occurred he took off in pursuit of the van, if only to get the license plate number. Unsuccessful, he flagged a willing motorist who joined the pursuit. Fortunately, Ramseyer soon spotted a patrol car and enlisted their help.
Once their backup was in place, the officers pulled the van over and detained the suspects. A search of the van soon recovered the elderly woman’s purse complete with picture identification. The men are in the County Jail awaiting trial.
George Rodarte and Monty Fisher
Rodarte a Sherman Oaks graphic artist, was working late one evening when he heard screaming outside the building. He found a woman on the sidewalk, on hands and knees with glasses askew and one hand over her face. Her purse was on the ground. Unable to answer his inquiries, she pointed down the street where Rodarte saw a man running away.
Quick thinking led him to take off after the man. Fisher, a nearby business owner and Mayor of Hidden Hills, heard the screaming and jumped in his truck in pursuit of the suspect. He invited Rodarte to join the chase and the two soon captured the man. They held him for local authorities. He was arrested for attempted robbery and is currently serving time in state prison.
Russell L. Greene
This Studio City resident, who also is a private detective, was attending a concert when one man began attacking another for no apparent reason. The altercation was stopped, but soon the perpetrator was involved in another incident. Concerned for the safety of others, Greene intervened after a third encounter between the perpetrator and a concert-goer.
He held the man for police, which resulted in the suspect’s subsequent sentencing to one year in the County Jail. When he was arrested a concealed weapon was found in the suspect’s waistband. Greene’s actions clearly averted a potential tragedy.