Officer Rodney Chambers
Amtrak Police Department's Mid-Atlantic South Division
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Officer Rodney Chambers as its Officer of the Month for May 2003. Officer Chambers has been with the Amtrak Police Department's Mid-Atlantic South Division for the past three years.
Monday, June 9th started out like any other day for Officer Rodney Chambers, until a call came in for assistance at Washington's Union Station. A report came into the Amtrak Police Department's National Communications Center (NCC) stating that a man had entered the Washington Redskins Store in Union Station, brandishing a hand grenade, threatening to release its pin if the clerk did not hand over the money in the cash register.
After being denied by the clerk, the assailant exited the store where he was spotted by Officer Chambers and a Union Station security officer. As the men approached the suspect, Officer Chambers instructed him to put his hands up on the wall. The suspect faced the officers, pulled out the hand grenade, removed the pin and threatened to drop it.
Disregarding his own safety, Officer Chambers pinned the suspect against the wall and managed to wrestle the grenade from his hand while keeping his thumb on the spoon of the grenade. United States Capitol Police soon arrived on the scene and took the suspect into custody while Officer Chambers and his supervisor, Sergeant Tony Epps removed themselves from the scene so as not to endanger the other officers and onlookers that had gathered.
Officer Chambers held the live grenade in his hand for over 15 minutes while awaiting the arrival of the bomb disposal unit. The Capitol Police Bomb Disposal Unit was able to put the hand grenade into an isolation chamber until it could be properly examined. The suspect was searched and yet another hand grenade was found in his possession.
After close examination, both grenades were found to be inert and containing a gel-like substance, rendering them harmless. At the time of the arrest, Officer Chambers had no way of knowing this, and he risked his own life for the safety of others. The subject was later identified as Juann R. Tubbs, and he is currently incarcerated awaiting his trial.
This incident was not the first in which Officer Chambers was able to act quickly to diffuse a potentially deadly situation. As a private law enforcement officer, he had to arrest a man for cutting someone's throat with a beer bottle at a nightclub. Officer Chambers was able to take the attacker into custody without injuring himself or the patrons of the nightclub. He was also able to protect the attacker from the angry nightclub crowd until backup arrived.
Officer Chambers' extensive military and police training has played a large part in his heroic actions in the line of duty. Having attended Military Police School and Infantry Police School, Officer Chambers earned M60 Machine Gun, M-9 Berretta Pistol, and M-16 Rifle qualifications. He is also considered a Grenade Expert, having had training in the nomenclature, operation, and characteristics of hand grenades. Officer Chambers also completed an Infantry Weapons course through the U.S. Army Distance Learning Program, and earned the Expert Marksmanship Certificate through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
Officer Chambers' actions and accomplishments clearly demonstrate the significant impact he has had on the Amtrak Police Department as well as the Washington, D.C. civilian community. According to Mr. David S. Ball, President of the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, "Officer Chambers' actions symbolize the commitment of all law enforcement, private security representatives, and civilian authorities to making Union Station a safer and more secure environment."