Officer Who Removed Student with Gun from Classroom Honored
First responders saluted at annual public safety awards luncheon
Montgomery County police officer Troy Melott and his Honorable Mention of Valor award.
When a tip came in that a student at Clarksburg High School may have brought a gun to school, county police officer Troy Melott was called on to diffuse the situation, striding into a classroom of more than 20 and calmly removing the student.
A loaded handgun was found in 19-year-old Alwin Chen’s backpack, police said, and investigators would find several weapons and a list of grievances against other students at his home.
The February 2018 incident was one day after the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida.
“Scary situation,” said Melott, who’s been a school resource officer for the past 12 years. “Once we got him out, it was like a big weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Melott was one of more than two dozen first responders honored at Friday’s Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Awards luncheon, an annual banquet honoring heroic deeds and community service.
Melott’s Honorable Mention of Valor award is especially timely given the recent student rally for gun reform. He said the school system and police department work together to train officers and the security team in handling these matters, and those trainings get more frequent every year.
“I’m just an extension of the security team,” Melott said. “I’m an extension of the school, how can we work together to make this school safer.”
Around 1,000 people gathered at the Marriott conference center in North Bethesda for the 45th annual event. WRC-TV anchor Leon Harris and meteorologist Doug Kammerer emceed the event.
The American Legion Department of Maryland earned Public Safety Champion of the Year honors for the efforts of its 8,100 members toward community service.
The Forensic Medical Unit Nursing Team at Adventist Healthcare Shady Grove Medical Center received the Public Safety Corporate Vital Link award for serving the most vulnerable patients of the community, including victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual abuse.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was named Public Safety Government Partner of the Year for its work investigating violent crime and partnering with state and local enforcement.
In addition to Melott’s recognition, 10 other teams and individuals were honored with valor awards.
To close the proceedings, event chairman Steven Robins surprised Police Chief J. Thomas Manger with a Public Safety Award for Excellence. Manger is retiring this spring.
“We will miss the excellent judgement and camaraderie the chief has demonstrated to us over these many, many years,” Robins said. “The chief is someone we all look up to, he has an impeccable character and is someone that has kept me going and committed to public safety.