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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

BPD officer receives badge of bravery


Bloomington senior police officer William Abram was awarded Friday with the Congressional Badge of Bravery for risking his life while responding to a home invasion and sexual assault of two IU students in November 2014.

This is the first time a Bloomington Police Department officer has received the national award, and it is only the second time for an officer from Indiana.

Established in 2008, the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery honors remarkable acts of courage in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement officers.

Senators Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., attended the award ceremony Friday at City Hall, along with U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler, Bloomington mayor John Hamilton and BPD Chief Mike Diekhoff.

On Nov. 9, 2014, Abram responded to a 4:30 a.m. call regarding a possible sexual assault in progress. When he entered the Bloomington apartment, he saw a man inside pulling on his pants, and backed away from the doorway. A shot was fired in his direction from inside the apartment and once he stepped inside, he was fired at a second time, but not wounded.

As the two men attempted to escape through a window, Abram ordered them to put their hands up. They turned and fired at him again.

Abram then fired two rounds in return, hitting one of them in the leg and the other in the arm. Both suspects were taken into custody shortly after with the help of assisting officers. Abram immediately began to administer first aid to one of the suspect’s gunshot wounds while waiting for other medical responders to arrive.

Officials later determined that the men had forced entry into the apartment where two female IU students lived, raping them at gunpoint before Abram arrived.

In Friday’s ceremony, Donnelly called Abram’s performance that night an “extraordinary act of courage.”

“On behalf of our entire state we want to thank you for saving these girls’ lives, for protecting the people of Bloomington and for protecting all of us,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly also commended Abram’s wife, Suzie, and their four children for their bravery when they received the call that Abram was going to be a bit late that night.

“When they go off to duty that day you expect them to come home but there’s never any guarantees,” Donnelly said.

Three days after Abram put a stop to the home invasion, his wife gave birth to their youngest son, Abram said after accepting his award.

“I really appreciate how it was all handled,” Abram said, thanking his family and the BPD personnel who helped in the process of responding to the call that night.

“Every day we obviously think and worry about the females that were in that house,” Abram said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Diekhoff said Abram’s award is a big deal for the entire department and city, and he was proud of the way Abram took control of the situation that night.

“He was just extremely professional,” Diekhoff said. “He did everything he should have done.”

Coats said Abram’s award was a great tribute to the department’s training and shed positive light on the role of police officers in the community.

“There’s been a lot of back and forth politically, unfortunately, relative to our law enforcement officials,” Coats said. “You are setting examples that all of us can follow.”

The suspects arrested for the November 2014 home invasion, Michael W.L. Deweese and Vaylen Keishaun Glazebrook, are both charged with 15 felonies: attempted murder, seven counts of rape, two counts of armed robbery, burglary while armed, three counts of criminal confinement with injury and resisting law enforcement with a deadly weapon.

The sentencing hearing for Deweese is set for April 19 and a pretrial hearing for Glazebrook is scheduled for March 31. 

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