The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has recently selected Police Officer Michael Keane, of the Lyndhurst (NJ) Police Department, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for January 2016.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officer Keane, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
The Spirit of Bravery
On May 12, 2015, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train No. 188 was carrying more than 238 passengers and crew when the train derailed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Officer Michael Keane, along with his fiancée, had boarded the train after he completed the Police Unity Tour ride in Washington, DC, to visit his sibling who was recuperating in a hospital after undergoing surgery. After making the stop in Philadelphia, the train continued on and derailed shortly after, resulting in eight deaths and more than 200 injuries to the passengers on board.
Officer Keane and his fiancé were seated in the last car of the train at the time of the crash. When the wreckage came to rest, he immediately performed a body check to evaluate the extent of his and his fiancée’s injuries. He then led her to safety outside of the train and located an injured conductor to inquire about tools and other equipment that he could use. The conductor could only provide him with a flashlight.
Although seriously injured, Officer Keane reentered the wreckage, identified himself as a police officer, and attended to and evacuated many people. While continuing to rescue passengers, Officer Keane made a 911 call and gave a brief overview of the situation and needs assessment to the operator. Even after the arrival of first responders, Officer Keane continued to assist and rescue passengers.
“In spite of his injuries, and under extremely dangerous conditions, Officer Keane reentered the wreckage and selflessly helped numerous others to safety,” said Lyndhurst Chief of Police James O’Connor. He not only helped them physically, but his words of comfort and confidence gave many a victim who was in shock the courage to get up and follow him to safety.”
“Officer Keane’s quick response to a deadly situation undoubtedly saved many lives last May,” said Memorial Fund Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd. “His brave actions are deserving of our January 2016 Officer of the Month Award.”