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Two officers honored for bravery.

Byline: John J. Monahan

BOSTON - Two Westminster police officers were awarded state police Medals of Honor for Bravery yesterday as Gov. Deval L. Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray recognized 37 police officers at the annual George L. Hanna awards ceremony at the Statehouse.

Westminster Sgt. Edward Robbins and Detective Ralph Leblanc received the awards in connection with their handling of a standoff at the home of a troubled Gardner state prison correction officer in October 2009.

Detective Leblanc responded to the home at 235 Minot Road in Westminster and found the correction officer in his driveway, wearing body armor and holding a gun, and demanding that police shoot him. The distraught man took off his bulletproof vest and began firing.

A short time later the man put his vest back on and continued shooting and yelling at Detective Leblanc.

When Sgt. Robbins arrived and saw his fellow officer under fire, he provided cover for him and fired at the man, hitting him in the leg. The correction officer later bled to death from a wound to his femoral artery.

Subsequent investigations concluded the officers responded with appropriate force.

Mr. Patrick told the recipients at the annual award ceremony: "Every day, they put themselves in harm's way to ensure our safety. That alone deserves our deep appreciation."

The recipients of the bravery awards were involved in 10 separate incidents.

The awards are held in honor of the late Trooper George L. Hanna, who was killed after stopping a car in Auburn Feb. 26, 1983. Trooper Hanna, a 10-year veteran of the state police, left behind a wife, Marylyn, and three children.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 19, 2010
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