Oxford County Sheriff awards deputies with letter of commendation

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ANDOVER — Three Oxford County deputies were commended by Sheriff Wayne Gallant on Wednesday for stopping an Andover woman threatening to harm herself with a knife and harm deputies who tried to stop her.

Gallant said Nathan Bowie, Steve Witham and Josh Aylward responded to the woman’s home about 1 a.m. Wednesday and found her holding a butcher knife to her throat and threatening to kill police if they interceded and then herself.

During negotiations, two deputies were able to distract the woman while a third deployed a Taser to incapacitate her. No one was injured and no charges were brought, Gallant said.

He said such situations are quite common for a lot of the agencies and, “We in law enforcement should start documenting when deadly force may have been used” but wasn’t due to officers diffusing the situation.

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“Many nights we’ve had people threaten suicide or to kill an officer, and the officers we have in this county were able to diffuse most of these situations,” Gallant said. “Many more times, nondeadly force is used when (lethal) force could be.”

In the letter addressed to Bowie, Witham and Aylward, the sheriff wrote, “I want to commend you for a job well done. Your actions this morning saved the life of a troubled individual. Your professionalism, your patience and your abilities to communicate with and distract this distraught individual definitely saved her life.”

“Through the professional actions of the three of you, a potential deadly situation was averted with excellent communication skills, a team approach strategy and a successful deployment of a Taser,” he wrote.

Staff Writer Christopher Crosby contributed to this story.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

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