SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Those who wear a badge and carry a gun risk their lives every day... often for people they don't even know. Thursday night the city of Springfield paused to honor several law enforcement officers willing to put their lives on the line for your safety.
The five law enforcement officers who were honored tonight each went into work on a day like any other; but the dangerous situations they faced, in their efforts to keep their community safe, changed their lives and their careers forever.
It seemed like a routine domestic dispute call that Springfield Officer Kevin Ambrose responded to in June. But, while protecting a stranger from her violent boyfriend, it became his final call. The city of Springfield will remember a heroic, veteran officer forever; but Ambrose's son remembers him first as a dad.
"My dad honestly did not take the job home. I did not hear too many stories about his police work. He was very happy when he got home to be home and be with his family. That's the one thing is I just remember him being a great father," said Officer Ambrose's son, Kyle.
Four other policemen were honored in Springfield Thursday night for risking their lives in April 2011 in the arrest of escaped convict, Tamik Kirkland. Officer Raul Gonzalez and Trooper Stephen Gregorczyck were shot and wounded arresting Kirkland, after he allegedly opened fire at a barber shop killing a customer and wounding the barber.
"It didn't really change me. It gave me more awareness. It could happen any time. Every call is different. It could be the simplest call. Traffic, a domestic," said Springfield police officer Raul Gonzalez.
"With what happened, the way it happened, none of us expected it to go down that way. We're all trained to be weary of that type of thing. We all reacted the way we were trained to react and so we all walked away," said Springfield officer Marcus Starks.
Springfield Police Lt. Alberto Ayala was also honored at the ceremony at Central High School, for his role in that April 30th incident last year. The two officers who were shot that day were saved by their bulletproof vests.