Yelm Deputy, Two Officers Receive Lifesaving Awards

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The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office awarded Thurston County Deputy Andrea Moore, 35, of Yelm, with a lifesaving award and Purple Heart medal at a ceremony on Friday, Sept. 17, for her work in saving a Nisqually Pines resident’s life, while being stabbed in the process.

Yelm Police Department’s Sgt. Tillman Atkins and officer Daniel Rozier were also given lifesaving awards for their work in saving Moore’s life.

At the awards ceremony, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza said the awards are a great opportunity to recognize “the men and women who give themselves to law, who are willing to serve every day for their community and for the state of Washington.”

Ray Brady, undersheriff with Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, said Moore was working on an overtime detail in the Nisqually Pines, when she responded to a suspicious person call. Upon arrival at the residence, she saw a man and a woman through the window, Brady said.

After Moore knocked on the door, she reportedly saw an elderly woman answer with a man standing directly behind her. Brady said since Moore could see concern on the woman’s face, she asked her to step out of the house. As the woman did as she was asked, the man raised a knife, threatening to stab her in the back, Brady said. 

“Deputy Moore stepped to the side and down, while drawing her pistol, but the suspect saw her reaction and instead focused his intention and advanced on her,” he said. “He closed the distance and she felt a pain in her neck and saw him pull the knife out. During the stabbing, Deputy Moore simultaneously fired four shots, striking the suspect, which stopped his aggressions.”

Before passing out, Moore reportedly called for backup. She stated shots had been fired and said she had been stabbed.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and the awards committee nominated Moore for the Washington State Medal of Honor.

Brady said Thurston County Deputy Jordan Potis responded to Moore’s call for backup and was first on the scene. Potis, who also received a lifesaving award, reportedly found Moore on the ground, with her vest off, bleeding from the neck.

Potis applied pressure to the wound, while Atkins and Rozier arrived and observed Moore lose consciousness, Brady said.

“Sgt. Tillman directed officer Rozier to get his (automated external defibrillator),” Brady said. “Once hooked up, it directed them to do chest compressions. As a team, they worked together and continued to perform CPR until medics arrived.”

Moore was then stabilized and taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery for her life-threatening injuries.

“It was the actions, without hesitation of Deputy Potis, Sgt. Atkins and officer Rozier to utilize their training and work as a team to ultimately save the life of Deputy Moore,” Brady said.

Thurston County Superior Court issued a warrant for the arrest of the assailant, 42-year-old Ronald Clayton, for charges including attempted murder with a deadly weapon against law enforcement, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation while he was being treated at Harborview Medical Center.

Rob Carlson, the assistant police chief for the Yelm Police Department, was present at the ceremony. Carlson told the Nisqually Valley News that ceremonies like this one held by the county are appreciated. 

“It’s a really neat thing that they do that,” Carlson said. “Those kinds of things are not done enough in law enforcement to recognize the things that officers or the deputies do on a daily basis.”

He said there were five Yelm officers involved in the call, but Rozier and Atkins were the ones who performed an active role.

“Just to have them up there, and being recognized and listening to what they did during that call in such a dynamic moment, in such a stressful call, and to have them react the way that they did, it inspires overwhelming pride for how they operated, how they functioned that night,” Carlson said.

Atkins is an officer who really likes to help others, Carlson said, adding that he’s good under pressure and a quick thinker.

“He’s just really good at that,” Carlson said. “He’s built to do this job and I think that he showed it that night.”

Rozier, Carlson said, is cut from the same cloth.

“(Rozier) is a very compassionate person,” Carlson said. “I think he really, honestly, tries to help people, and that’s why he got into this job.”

Yelm Mayor JW Foster told the Nisqually Valley News that the recognized officers are a testament to the hiring practices and training regimens utilized by the city of Yelm for its police officers.

“Sgt. Tillman and officer Rozier are just great examples of the kinds of officers we have in Yelm,” Foster said. “They would tell you they didn’t do anything different than any other officer would, and I believe that, but there they were that day.

“You can’t be more proud of how they responded to it, how they reacted to it,” Foster said. “It takes a really special kind of person to be a police officer and not everybody can do it. These guys tested themselves, tested their training and came out with a win.”

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