Wakefield Detectives Receive Medal of Honor


Chief Steven A. Skory is pleased to announce that two Wakefield Police officers received Massachusetts law enforcement's highest honor at the annual George L. Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery.

Detectives Christopher Grace and John Ryan were awarded the Medal of Honor by Gov. Charlie Baker and Hanna's daughters on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

On Jan. 19, 2021, Detectives Grace and Ryan responded to an incident on Otis Street and while en route heard two other patrol officers request immediate assistance. The initial responding officers discovered the homeowner appeared to be a victim of homicide, and were conducting a search of the home for the suspect and potential other victims when Detectives Grace and Ryan arrived.

Detectives Grace and Ryan began searching the small basement of the home. During their search, the suspect emerged unexpectedly just feet from Detective Ryan. The suspect charged toward both detectives with a knife raised above his head. The suspect also verbally threatened both officers.

Fearing for their immediate safety and the safety of others, Detective Ryan and Detective Grace fired their Department-issued firearms. Due to their quick thinking and bravery, Detectives Grace and Ryan subdued the suspect before they could harm others.

“I am extremely proud of Detective Grace and Detective Ryan for their poise and professionalism even as their lives were in danger. Their unwavering commitment to the safety of our community does not go unnoticed,” said Chief Skory. “These men showcased bravery and professionalism during a high-pressure situation that placed both their lives and the lives of fellow officers in danger.”

The Medal of Honor is awarded to officers who demonstrate actions above and beyond the call of duty, exhibiting extraordinary bravery and courage, while disregarding the potential for danger or great risk to themselves during the course of an individual incident.

About the George L. Hanna Award

The Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery is an annual event named after George L. Hanna, a 10-year State Trooper who lost his life serving the Commonwealth on Feb. 26, 1983.

The Hanna Awards, which have been held annually since 1983, have become a symbol of prestige within both the law enforcement community and the Commonwealth as a whole. It is an opportunity to publicly recognize the bravery of members of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line by dedicating themselves to safety throughout Massachusetts.