Several of Watertown’s finest are going to have to make room in their trophy cases, next to their Medal of Valor and Top Cop awards, after receiving the Congressional Badge of Bravery Friday.
U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Representatives Joe Kennedy and Katherine Clark, and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz were on hand to bestow the medals to Sergeants John MacLellan, Jeffrey Pugliese, and officer Joseph Reynolds, who received the awards during a ceremony at the Watertown Police Station Friday. MacLellan, Pugliese, and Reynolds were three of the seven officers who engaged the Boston Marathon Bombers in a dramatic shootout that left one of them dead, and launched a massive manhunt for the other.
Right before he watched the officers receive their medals, Town Manager Michael Driscoll said he has never been prouder in the 38 years he’s worked for the town.
“To the men and women of the Watertown Police Department, thank you,” Driscoll said. “You work tirelessly to be one of the best police departments in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to make Watertown a safe and a better place to live and work.
“We are thankful that each of you returned safely to your … homes and families upon completion of every one of your shifts, or tours of duty,” Driscoll said. “I have worked for Watertown for 38 years, and since 1993 as Town Manager, and I have never been more proud.”
Town Council President Mark Sideris said the award was long overdue.
“They put their lives on the line for the residents of this city, and we’re really proud of them, and we want to congratulate them together today as they get these badges of honor,” Sideris said.
Clark said that the officers displayed selflessness in their pursuit to bring down the bombers that morning.
“It’s these three officers that exemplified what it means to protect and to serve, risking their lives for others,” Clark said. “You ran towards danger, not for the recognition [you’re receiving] today, but because your steadfast commitment to Watertown and to what you do.”
Warren said that the officers actions prevented the bombers from claiming more victims.
“Sgt. John MacLellan, Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese, and officer Joseph Reynolds are three men who’s quick thinking, who’s fortitude under pressure, and who’s bravery helped prevent further tragedy,” Warren said. “Under fire, and facing immediate danger, this three officers along with a number of other coming to the scene took decisive action that stopped the suspects and ensure that more people would not be killed”
Markey said that the Watertown Police Department showed the world what he already knew, that “the Watertown Police Department was comprised of the most talented and bravest officers in the field of law enforcement,” Markey said.
Former Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau said that the WPD have always strived to be the best police department in Massachusetts, but that “for eight and a half minutes, we were the best police dam police department in the world…
“You talk about Boston Strong, it’s right there,” Deveau said. “Those three guys.”