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2 local law enforcers honored

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Police officers have a saying that they never know when their training will be put to use, they just hope they're ready when a situation arises.

Such was the case for Doug Townsend with the Utah Bureau of Investigations. On May 12, Townsend was in the Wells Fargo Bank, 4920 S. State, investigating a forgery case when three masked men with guns entered for a takeover-style robbery. He said there was little doubt what was happening.

"I knew from the style of robbery these people meant business," Townsend said.

Townsend dropped to the floor like the bank employees and customers, not revealing he was an officer. He determined it would be safer to just lay low rather than risk the lives of others in the bank by announcing he was an officer.

"My mind's going a thousand miles per hour," he said.

As soon as the robbers left, he heard a gunshot and feared someone in the bank had been shot. Townsend got off the floor and ran to the door and fired several rounds at the robbers as they drove away. One of the shots hit the front fender of the getaway car.

Because of Townsend's quick actions and because he was able to get an accurate description of the robbers' vehicle, they were arrested by assisting agencies just a short time later.

For his efforts, the FBI presented him with an Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement award Friday. Also honored was Utah Highway Patrol trooper Randy Richey, who stopped a van from Minnesota with an 11-year-old kidnap victim inside in the first nationwide AMBER Alert incident.

"You never think this is going to happen to you until you're right in the middle of it," Townsend said.

FBI Resident Agent-in-Charge Chip Burris called both men "heroes" before presenting their awards.

Townsend, who said he had never shot at anybody in his 25 years of law enforcement until that day, said he was just doing his job.

Richey was patroling U.S. 40 near Heber City May 7 when the AMBER Alert was issued. Ironically, he was just about to look up on his car computer how long it would take for someone to drive from St. Cloud, Minn., where the girl was taken, to Utah when he saw the van drive by.

After pulling the van over, he realized immediately that kidnap suspect Antonio Andrade, 21, was at the wheel. After some investigating, he realized the girl with him was 11-year-old Cindy Jeanette Bruno.

Richey accepted his award "on behalf of all police officers around the country who have done a lot of great things but were not recognized."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com