Officer Jeffrey A. McCloskey
West Whiteland Township (PA) Police Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Jeffrey A. McCloskey of the West Whiteland Township (PA) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for November 2005.
While not generally considered as newsworthy by the media as house or building fires, automobile fires represent a potentially life-threatening situation to the car's occupants and those who come to their aid. Automobile fires are extremely unpredictable and often fatal. The flames spread rapidly through the engine bay and gas line and engulf the interior of the car in a matter of seconds. Those able to escape without injury are very fortunate; however, car fires take the lives of many individuals each year. For those trapped inside a burning car, the first responders who risk their own life to save them are true heroes. For the unconscious young woman inside a burning vehicle, Officer Jeffrey McCloskey literally performed a miracle.
At approximately 1:40 a.m. on the morning of November 29, 2003, while on routine patrol, Officer McCloskey noticed an automobile, totally engulfed in flames. Positioning his police cruiser to block oncoming traffic the officer cautiously approached the wreckage. He found a woman in a semi-conscious state, laying along side the road and while aiding her and radioing for assistance, he heard the faint cries of another person coming from inside the burning car.
Gasoline covered the road and sparks blew from the inferno, but without hesitation Officer McCloskey ran to the burning vehicle where he discovered another young woman whose clothes were ablaze. Amazed that she was still alive, yet aware that the vehicle could explode at any time, Officer McCloskey worked feverishly to free her from the death trap in which she lay. While many would have waited for assistance from firefighters, or try to extinguish the flames using dry chemicals before attempting a rescue, Officer McCloskey knew either of those choices would have cost the victim her life. His mission was clear; rescue the young woman now.
For more than one year Officer McCloskey had a constant reminder of the incident as burn marks due to the intense heat that actually melted the asphalt, remained visible. They were testament that a 21 year old almost lost her life at that spot. The young woman he saved that early morning has undergone multiple surgeries and skin grafts and although she has thanked Officer McCloskey, she has no recollection of that night. Unwilling to accept that he did anything extraordinary, Officer McCloskey states, "Anyone else would have done the same thing; I was just in the right place at the right time."
As a photo of six year old Jeffrey McCloskey sitting atop a police motorcycle will confirm, he knew at an early age he wanted to be a law enforcement officer. After graduating from the Delaware County Community College Police Academy, Officer McCloskey worked as an EMT and at various police departments before joining the West Whiteland Police Department. His daily routine generally includes robberies, identity thefts, traffic accidents and DUI arrests. Augmenting the routine day, incidents such as arriving on the scene where a 15 year-old girl wielding a knife and attempting to kill her mother provide the West Whiteland Police Department and Officer McCloskey much of the same action you would find in a larger city.
Officer McCloskey, a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, continues to serve with the West Whiteland Police Department. He is a member of the department's Bike Unit, Motorcycle Unit, and SWAT Team. He is a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. He and his wife, Kimberly, reside in the Upper Providence area with their daughter, Sarah.