On Centre: Centre Region | Officers honored for courage in action

mcarroll@centredaily.comApril 25, 2014 

It was after 10 p.m. Saturday, and traffic was heavy from fans leaving an evening Penn State football game.

Emergency dispatchers received a call from a woman in Ferguson Township who reported she was being attacked by a man inside her home.

Police had their hands full dealing with the football crowds, but officers from Ferguson and Patton townships arrived shortly.

When they knocked on the door, they were greeted by a man pointing a pistol directly at one of the officers.

There was struggle, and in the end, the officers were able to disarm the man without resorting to using deadly force.

Those three men, Ferguson Township officer Bill Chambers, and Patton Township officer Brian Schaeffer and Sgt. Sean Albright, were honored this week by township officials for their courage in action.

“You can imagine what other consequences we might have had as a result of this incident,” Ferguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad said, praising the officers’ actions.

The men were presented with official commendations this week at a Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

Patton Township officials and local prosecutors were also on hand.

“These officers were beyond brave,” said Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.

“All of them engaged in a life-or-death struggle to save each other and everyone else on the site.”

Parks Miller said the officers restrained from using deadly force “many times” during the encounter, even though they were being threatened with a loaded handgun.

“These events don’t happen often, but when they do, they punctuate how serious the jobs are of police officers and how dangerous the jobs are,” she said.

The suspect in the case, James Scholl, 32, was convicted last month on 17 counts, including three counts of first-degree felony aggravated assault; three counts of aggravated assault; attempt by physical menace to put any officer in danger, a second-degree felony; and a variety of misdemeanors and summary offenses.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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