A Milton Patrol Officer recently received a department commendation from Police Chief Richard Wells, Jr., for his role in two drug and firearm arrests last month.
Officer Christopher Ernst was recognized for the arrest of Tatiana Martinez, of Hyde Park, and Yohan Gomez, of Medford, for were placed under arrest for carrying a loaded firearm without a license and possession of a Class D substance in excess of one ounce Dec. 9.
According to the commendation, Ernst responded to a call of a suspicious grey sedan parked on Meagher Avenue with it's hazard lights on, around 2:30 a.m. Martinez and Gomez, informed the officer that the vehicle had a flat tire and that they would pick it up in the morning.
After documenting the incident and leaving the scene, Ernst returned to the scene after discussing the situation with Officer Robert Mason.
In the commendation, Wells noted the incident occurred on a busy night and wrote, "For some reason, be it your own diligence to duty or a nagging feeling that something was not right in the first encounter, you returned to Audubon Road and Meagher Avenue to once again check this vehicle."
Upon review, Ernst found a bullet hole in the driver's side door. He also observed a large bag of marijuana with a black revolver in it, tucked in a door pocket, while looking into the car's windows.
During a subsequent search of the area that including Officers Ernst and Mason, along with Sgt. Brendan Douglas, the two suspects were located in another vehicle.
A search warrant was executed on the vehicle the following day. Seven medium-sized bags containing what appeared to be marijuana, a small bag containing a substance believed to be heroin, smaller amounts of narcotics and narcotic paraphernalia and a 357 magnum revolver were recover. The weapon had two discharged cases and three live rounds, according to Wells.
"It appears Martinez and Gomez had been involved in some type of drug transaction in Boston just prior to your initial encounter, and it was during that time that shots were fired between our suspects and unknown individuals," Wells wrote in his commendation to Ernst.
Gomez, "an habitual felon," had recently released from prison "due to an evidentiary suppression from a prior Boston conviction."
Wells completed the commendation with the following words for Ernst. "As Chief of Police, I understand that you have only been on this job a relatively short number of years. Your immediate supervisors have repeatedly commented on your performance and professional tenacity. It is this type of effort and commitment that is critical to the success of the Milton Police Department. You are hereby awarded one day off for attention to duty and excellence in police service."