Officers Christopher Timms & Krzystof Gesla
Baltimore (MD) Police Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officers Christopher Timms and Krzysztof Gesla of the Baltimore (MD) Police Department, as its Officers of the Month for April 2008.
The age old saying that if you have done nothing wrong, you should have nothing to worry about goes a long way in law enforcement. Most officers can immediately recognize when something is amiss by the manner in which a person reacts to their mere presence. A person's body language, a nervous glance to the glove box on a routine traffic stop or even a case of "selective amnesia" while giving a statement will often be the tell tale signs that will raise the officer's internal radar that all is not as it might appear on the surface.
On the evening of November 15, 2007, Officers Timms and Gesla were patrolling an area in the southeastern district of Baltimore as part of a crime suppression unit. They observed a subject who became rather nervous as soon as he saw the officers. The subject immediately attempted to flag down a passing car which would not stop. Glancing back to the officers, the subject pretended he was knocking on the door of a residence. At that point Officers Timms and Gesla knew something wasn't right and as each opened their door of the unmarked cruiser, the subject fled.
Officer Timms pursued the subject on foot while Officer Gesla followed in the cruiser, alerting other officers in the area about the chase over the Southeast channel. When they reconnected, Officer Timms informed Officer Gesla that the subject was hidden down the street, either between two parked cars or on one of the porches. They began a systematic search of the area with Officer Timms walking up the street on the sidewalk, while Officer Gesla remained in the street. As they walked, they kept a careful eye under parked cars and porches.
What Officers Timms and Gesla did not know, was that the armed suspect they were about to face had been chased into their sector by detectives from the Organized Crime Division (OCD) during a bail-out not five minutes earlier, only three blocks away. As the two groups had been operating on different channels, Officers Timms and Gesla were unaware that the OCD detectives had lost sight of the suspect, who they had determined as being armed and dangerous.
Suddenly, Officer Gesla observed the suspect hiding low between a parked car and van. He ordered the suspect to come out with his hands in the air, but his commands were met by several shots fired from a stolen .45 caliber pistol. Although he began to return fire, one of the suspect's initial rounds found its mark and struck Officer Gesla just above the knee, shattering his femur.
Officer Gesla yelled to his partner that he was hit and fell to the ground, out of Officer Timms' view. When he hit the ground, his service weapon was knocked out of battery and jammed. Officer Timms then engaged the suspect who was continuing to fire upon Officer Gesla. Officer Gesla, although severely injured, performed a tactical reload and reengaged the suspect. Officer Timms came close enough to see the suspect firing his stolen weapon with an outstretched hand and fired, putting an end to the firefight.
As soon as the suspect was down, Officer Timms retrieved the stolen pistol and ran to his injured partner. He immediately radioed for help and began administering first aid to Officer Gesla. Within minutes Officer Gesla was flown to Shock Trauma where he was operated on by a military medical officer, who had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. Doctors said that Officer Gesla could not have had a better surgeon and they expect a full recovery.
Officer Christopher Timms has been a member of the Baltimore Police Department since 1990. He attended Merrywood College and is a U.S. Army Veteran. He is the proud father of two teenage daughters. Officer Krzysztof Gesla moved to the United States as a young boy, growing up in New Jersey. He became a member of the Baltimore Police Department in 1996. Officer Gesla is fluent in Polish and understands Czechoslovakian and Ukrainian. He is a highly valued member of the Baltimore Police Department SWAT team and serves as one of the primary bunker men in the unit. He is married and is the proud father of three small children. They are the first Baltimore City Police Department officers to receive the Officer of the Month Award from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Located in the nation's capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program, began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.