Earlier this month, the Camden County Office of the Sheriff presented an assortment of awards to members of its staff for its officers’ handling of various dangerous situation, with multiple officers being able to diffuse potentially volatile situations in an effort to save lives.
Two officers recognized by Sheriff Gilbert “Whip” Wilson include Brian Robinson and Michael Giorla, both Gloucester Township residents, who reacted to the same situation and were able to save the life of a male individual. Both officers, along with Investigator Joseph Goonan, received Exceptional Duty Awards for their efforts.
According to the police report, Giorla and Goonan were assigned to Cooper Hospital detail when a male exited the hospital and began to make violent threats at the officers while holding his hand behind his back, giving the illusion that he may have a weapon, according to both officers, prompting Goonan to draw his firearm.
Robinson, arriving at the scene during the incident, was able to confirm the male suspect did not have a weapon behind his back. Goonan was then able to holster his weapon and subdue the man without firing, potentially saving the suspect’s life.
Robinson, who served with the Cherry Hill Police Department for 25 years before retiring, has been with the Camden County Office of the Sheriff for three years and says he was relieved the officers were able to handle the situation safely.
“It was a close situation. I’ve been involved in some dangerous stuff before and this one was close to the officers not having a choice,” said Robinson in an interview with The Sun. “After continuous warnings and requests by the officers, he didn’t respond, and having been in those situations before, nobody wants to shoot anybody.”
Giorla, who grew up in Gloucester Township, graduated from the police academy four years ago and simply wanted to be able to make a positive impact on the community through his work as a police officer.
“I know it’s cliché, but I really do just like helping people,” said Giorla. “That’s always been the main goal, wanting to help and assist people that might be dealing with the worst day of their life. I want to help them in any way that I can.”
Looking back, Giorla says that thanks to the quick recognition and work of Robinson upon his arrival, the officers were able to avoid a potentially fatal incident.
“It’s great that people recognize the handling of that situation,” said Giorla. “It’s not why I do it or why I go out there, for the recognition, but to me most important is that we were able to stop something fatal from happening.”
Robinson shared the same sentiment as his fellow officer, saying that his job was worth it simply by being able to save the man’s life.
“It felt good to be able to diffuse the situation itself because it could have gone much worse,” said Robinson. “But it was the right guys in the right place.”