Police Officers Rachel Morgan and Ryan Hayo
Borough of Paramus (NJ) Police Department
Washington, DC — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Police Officers Rachel Morgan and Ryan Hayo of the Borough of Paramus (NJ) Police Department, as its Officers of the Month for July 2011.
Just before midnight on February 6, 2011, Officer Rachel Morgan was on routine patrol in a marked car when another vehicle swerved into her lane. She ran the registration plates through the on-board computer and learned that the plates did not belong to that particular vehicle. Realizing that Officer Morgan was observing his movements, the driver increased his speed hoping to outrun the patrol car.
Hearing Officer Morgan’s call to headquarters that she was in pursuit of a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, Officer Ryan Hayo radioed that he would provide back-up. At that time, the driver of the suspect vehicle exited the roadway and attempted to enter the southbound Garden State Parkway. Traveling at such speed, the driver failed to negotiate the turn, skidded into a 180 degree slide and slammed into a snow bank.
Exiting her vehicle, Officer Morgan instructed the suspect to shut off the ignition and show his hands. Instead, he continued to accelerate aggressively hoping to free the vehicle from snow bank. After Officer Hayo arrived on the scene, Officer Morgan began to approach the driver’s side of the suspect’s vehicle. When she was approximately three feet away, the suspect opened fire with a 9mm handgun. As Officer Morgan took cover, Officer Hayo returned fire at the suspect as he advanced forward. At this point both officers were within the suspect’s line of fire.
Officer Morgan was struck four times from close range, two shots entering her body under her bullet-resistant vest. Lying on her right side in the snow, she raised her sidearm and continued to return fire. Emptying her cartridge, she attempted to reload her weapon ignoring the pain from the injuries she had already sustained.
Officer Hayo continued to return fire, until he too had fired all thirteen rounds in his weapon. He advised dispatch of the firefight and that an officer was down; then he reloaded his firearm and continued firing on the suspect. Once he reached Officer Morgan’s side, Officer Hayo took a protective position over her until back-up could arrive. No other shots rang out. When responding officers arrived on the scene, Officer Hayo advanced toward the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect died as a result of the wounds he received in the gun battle.
There is little doubt that the lives of both Officer Morgan and Officer Hayo were saved due to their training and their own courageous tactical actions. Officer Morgan, as she was trained, waited for back-up rather than engaging the suspect alone. Officer Hayo reacted quickly in returning fire against the suspect who had Officer Morgan pinned down in a life-threatening position.
Police Officer Morgan was taken to a local trauma center where she remained unconscious for four days following her initial surgery. She spent several weeks in an intensive care unit and a rehabilitation center. She looks forward to returning to full duty, in a position she calls her “dream job”. Officer Hayo participated in the department’s mandatory Post Shooting Protocol program, before returning to full-duty patrolling the streets of Paramus, New Jersey.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s 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.
Officers Morgan and Hayo, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2011, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2012 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s 2013 calendar.