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June 2005

Officer Timothy Greene

Rock Hill (SC) Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Timothy Greene of the Rock Hill (SC) Police Department as Officer of the Month for June 2005.

September 11, 2001 was a day that will live in infamy. Undoubtedly one of the darkest days in American history, it changed the lives of so many people. Some people immediately enlisted in the military, some began going back to their religion. The effects of that fateful day had a very strong affect on one Microsoft Support Technician, Timothy Greene. Greene realized that he wanted to do more with his life. He wanted a job that would be "more fulfilling and have more purpose". Greene decided to join the Rock Hill Police Department. Little did Greene know that his profession would soon have him staring death in the face.

On Friday, March 15, Timothy Greene's life would change forever. Greene had been with the department under two years and had never once fired his weapon at a suspect. Off-duty at the time, Officer Greene was on his way to a department training session. His police cruiser grabbed the attention of a woman along Dave Lyle Boulevard who began waving him down. She explained to Greene that the Bank of America at Manchester Village was being robbed. Officer Greene immediately called dispatch and headed straight for the bank.

The employees of the bank were able to identify the robber's vehicle, a brown Chevy Blazer. The driver of the Blazer turned out to be John David Phillips, a three time convicted felon from Virginia. Greene used extreme caution while pulling up behind Phillips because he had learned in training that felony suspects should be considered armed and dangerous. He would learn the truth of this defensive tactic very quickly.

Before Greene could even exit his police cruiser, Phillips emerged from the Blazer and began unloading a .40 caliber handgun at him. Thanks to his training, Greene immediately wedged himself under the dashboard placing as much metal between the shooter and himself. Had Greene hesitated, the bullets penetrating the windshield would have struck him. Instead the rounds were busting through the windshield and spraying shards of glass into Greene's face. Phillips fired several shots before jumping into the SUV and taking off down the road. Bloodied, but not hit, Officer Greene notified dispatch of the shooting and began to pursue Phillips.

Before long the Blazer stopped at an intersection. Phillips got out of the SUV and began to open fire. However this time, Greene was ready for him. The firefight commenced once again. Greene hit the driver side door of the Blazer and Phillips hit the squad car several times. Then once again, Phillips jumped back into the Blazer and took off with Greene in hot pursuit.

Phillips stopped a third time to exchange shots with Officer Greene. Yet this time, Phillips brought a high-powered .223 assault rifle into the fight. Greene knew that his cruiser door would deflect most bullets, but would not be enough to stop these rifle rounds. He realized that getting behind his cruiser was the only way to safety. Phillip immediately began firing at Greene. One round penetrated through the car door, barely missing Greene and tearing a hole through his necktie. One shot hit a civilian vehicle close-by. The shooting continued until, once again, Phillips fled away in the Blazer. Greene reloaded as he jumped back into his cruiser and once again followed Phillips.

This chase only lasted approximately a half mile until Phillips stopped the car and came out firing. Another civilian vehicle was hit. By this time, backup had finally begun to arrive. Upon seeing the backup, Phillips sped away and the officers gave chase.

Although the investigation is still under review, it is known that Phillips led the officers on a high speed chase and gun battle. Phillips eventually wrecked the Blazer and began a firefight with the officers as he tried to steal another man's truck. Combined law enforcement officers of the Rock Hill Police Department and the York County Sheriff's Office were forced to take Phillips down.

Officer Timothy Greene's supervisors praised his actions stating that he "remained surprisingly calm". "I was too busy thinking about what I needed to do than to think about getting shot," stated Greene, the self-described nerd. For his actions that memorable day, Officer Greene received the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association's Medal of Honor — the highest honor a police officer can receive. In doing so, Greene became the first ever Rock Hill Police Officer to receive the award. The Medal of Honor is awarded to officers whose professionalism and skill combined with their selflessness deserve the highest recognition. The award often goes to the families of fallen law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

After 9/11, Officer Timothy Greene decided that he needed a job that was more fulfilling and with more purpose than his previous profession. "There's always that lingering thought in the back of your mind," he said, "that you may not get to go home." Officer Greene has learned first hand how fulfilling his profession can be, yet he will never forget the danger that it entails as well.