Troopers honored for outstanding service

The Inter-Mountain file photo by Brooke Binns Senior Trooper S.W. Shahan, left, and Trooper 1st Class J.J. Cornelius of the Elkins Detachment of the West Virginia State Police have recently received honors for their heroic actions and service.

ELKINS — Two West Virginia State Troopers have been honored for their heroic and exemplary service.

Trooper 1st Class J.J. Cornelius and Senior Trooper S.W. Shahan, both of the Elkins Detachment, were recognized along with 17 other state officers for efforts performed within the past two years.

“We are very proud to have two officers from our detachment receive recognition for their dedication to the community,” Sgt. M.D. Anderson said. “These officers go above and beyond to protect the public on a day-to-day basis.”

Cornelius was recognized for displaying courage in a potentially life-threatening situation on March 16, 2016; thus, Cornelius was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

“Trooper 1st Class Cornelius displayed tremendous courage and fortitude in overcoming this potentially life-ending event,” a letter of commendation from State Police Superintendent Col. J.L. Cahill said.

Cornelius responded to a residence in the Mill Creek area, attempting to serve a warrant for a male suspect wanted in Indiana for burglary. Upon the officer’s arrival, the male subject fled the residence on foot and was pursued by Cornelius.

“Trooper 1st Class Cornelius caught the individual as both he and the suspect entered (Mill Creek). The male subject immediately turned and attacked Trooper 1st Class Cornelius and both fell into the rushing water. Trooper 1st Class Cornelius was unable to gain leverage against the individual due to the water and slippery streambed and his duty weapon became pinned between himself and the suspect. The male suspect made attempts to choke and drown Trooper 1st Class Cornelius who was unable to utilize his duty weapon. Trooper 1st Class Cornelius was able to transition to his department-issued knife and use it against the attacking individual to gain control during this life-threatening situation,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, Shahan received the Lifesaving Award for his actions on Oct. 14, 2016, when he responded to a call for an unresponsive man in a vehicle near the Crystal Springs exit of U.S. 33.

“Upon arrival, Senior Trooper Shahan observed a male slumped in the back seat of a sedan and a female advising that the male was not breathing. Senior Trooper Shahan assessed the male’s condition and determined him to not be breathing, having no pulse and to be blue in color. Senior Trooper Shahan began administering CPR and, prior to the arrival of Randolph County EMS, was able to regain a pulse and shallow breathing of the male subject,” a letter from Cahill stated.