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Awards a tribute to officers' bravery

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2013
Officers

BRAVE BLOKES: From left: Constables Johan Mulder, James Collins and Andrew Warne are among seven Counties Manukau police officers being recognised for a dramatic rescue.

Officers
LIFE SAVED: Constable Jeremy Snow nearly died after being shot four times but has since made a full recovery.

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"You guys better get me, I'm not going to make it."

Hearing their wounded colleague's voice over the police radio spurred seven officers on to make a death-defying rescue.

Now they're being recognised for their actions with a national award for courage.

Detective Gregory Cater, Detective Constable Edward Michael Luxford, Sergeant Chris Turnbull and Constables Johan Mulder, James Collins, Liam Pham and Andrew Warne are among 17 recipients of the New Zealand Bravery Medal this year.

The award acknowledges their efforts during an incident in December 2009 when their colleague Constable Jeremy Snow was almost killed in Papatoetoe.

Mr Snow had stopped to check out a suspicious-looking vehicle in a driveway when he was shot four times.

The seven policemen sped to the scene to save their severely wounded colleague - three providing cover and four running in to retrieve him on foot.

Mr Collins says the usual protocol would be to wait for the Armed Offenders Squad, especially as the location of the shooter was unknown, but none of the group was prepared to do that.

"The shift supervisor said: ‘Go get him out' and we weren't about to argue with that.

"Plus we all wanted to go forward anyway.

"I think it would have been hard to hold the guys back."

Hearing Mr Snow over the police radio strengthened their resolve.

Mr Warne says they could tell the shot officer was "in a bad way" by the way he was talking.

"He was getting a lot of things mixed up, just in terms of normal speech. His sentences were completely backwards."

The last thing they heard him say was: "You guys better get me, I'm not going to make it", Mr Mulder remembers.

Mr Snow had been shot in a main artery in his leg and was close to death when the officers reached him.

His blood was running down the driveway all the way to the police car more than 100 metres away.

The officers carried him to the vehicle and he was rushed to a nearby ambulance and then to hospital.

Mr Warne says there wasn't much time to think during the rescue, which took about 15 minutes at the most.

"It was fairly surreal but there was a job to do and you do it."

The gunman, Neshanderan Rajgopaul, was found a short time later by other police. He was convicted of attempted murder in 2011 and is now serving an 18-year sentence with a non-parole period of 10 years.

Mr Snow made a full recovery and was back in uniform months after the shooting.

The policemen say it's nice to be recognised but any other officer would have done the same thing.

"It just happened to be us that went down the driveway," Mr Warne says.

"The sergeants who turned up with the guns, the guys who organised it and were able to send us in so quickly, they played such a crucial role as well."

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- Manukau Courier

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