Senior Officer Scott Finnicum with the Helena Police Department was honored Friday by his colleagues for showing compassion in helping a member of the Helena community.
Finnicum was awarded both the Distinguished Service Award and the Sergeants' Award. The Distinguished Service Award is given to employees of the Helena Police Department who perform an act of merit to a person in need, often above and beyond what is normally expected of their duties.
Finnicum was awarded for an incident for helping a member of the community with mobility challenges. Shelia Sutton said she was putting chicken in her oven one night in late September when she heard a crash outside her home.
Someone had been using her driveway to turn around and smashed into her stair rail on her porch, effectively trapping Sutton in her own home. The driver fled the scene and there were no witnesses to the events as Sutton had only heard the incident, not seen it.
Cpl. Bryan Haven responded to Sutton's call and immediately recognized there was an issue. Sutton had no choice but to make a claim on her homeowner insurance and hope they fixed the rail quickly. She has no family or friends to help with the repairs.
"He called me while I was doing reports and let me know what happened," Finnicum said. "He asked if I could help."
After finishing his reports and ending his shift, Finnicum went to check out the scene. The handrail on Sutton's stairs had fallen over completely and was unusable to her.
"She was trapped in her house," Finnicum said. "I'm not going to leave her trapped in her house."
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Finnicum retrieved his tools from home and returned to Sutton's home. He got to work using the headlights of his pickup as his only light source. It took him around an hour and a half to rebuild the handrail. Before the night was over, Sutton was no longer trapped and her handrail was good-as-new.
"The kindness factor alone for such a young guy to do that," Sutton said. "It was very important to me."
Haven told Finnicum that he was going to nominate him for an award. Finnicum asked the corporal not to, but he did anyway. Once the Helena Police Department heard what Finnicum did, they thought he should receive an award. Sutton said she agrees.
Haven said that in his career he had never seen a citizen so grateful as Sutton was for a police officer going above and beyond.
"Kindness needs to be awarded and appreciated," Sutton said. "I've told a few people what happened and they said 'Oh, no. The police wouldn't do that.'"
For Finnicum, this was just part of his duty as an officer in the community. Actions like these are the ways that Helena police officers build lasting relationships in their community.
"I would say most of the guys I work with, that have the tools and the ability, would have done the same," Finnicum said.
Finnicum received the Sergeants' Award after being chosen by his superiors as a prime example of an HPD officer. In the past few months, Finnicum investigated a serious sexual intercourse without consent crime and fought off an attacker who attempted to disarm him. Additionally, Finnicum created a worksheet to cut down on time for filing DUI reports.
His superiors said Finnicum has shown excellent leadership qualities this quarter.