PFC Richard J. “Rick” Cline is the Sully District Police Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee’s Officer of the Month for May. He was honored at the CAC’s May 14 meeting following a report written about him by his supervisor, Lt. Brooke Wright.
“Most detectives will admit that the diligence and skill of patrol officers is instrumental in obtaining vital information needed to close their cases,” she wrote. “Recently, several cases have been furthered and closed due to the persistence and expertise of one such officer.”
For example, on Feb. 8, police from the Sully District Station were dispatched to a call for help in Centreville. There, a man was driving through a shopping center when a group of juveniles intentionally walked in front of his truck to make him stop. One of the teens then pulled out a gun and pointed it in the man’s face.
When the man realized that the weapon was a pellet gun, he tried to grab it away. But the teen holding it punched the victim in the head several times and then struck him in the head with a skateboard. However, officers arrived quickly, took the juvenile into custody and recovered the pellet gun. The teen was transported to the Sully District Station for questioning and the incident was investigated further.
“Cline took the lead in this case,” wrote Wright. “He exercised incredible patience and impressive interviewing skills. Shortly after beginning the interview, Cline obtained verbal consent from the arrested subject to search his phone.
“In doing so, Cline located a video depicting the suspect and other unknown juveniles committing a robbery against another unknown juvenile. PFC Cline returned to interviewing the suspect and obtained confessions on both the [weapon] brandishing and the assault on the man in the shopping center.”
According to Wright, further discussion led to another confession in the robbery case recorded on the suspect’s phone. Cline was able to obtain information regarding the robbery victim and other participants in the case. He then coordinated with the School Resource Officer at Westfield High and the CIS [Criminal Investigations Section] detective to confirm the identity of the others involved in the crime.
“Cline’s efforts assisted in closing the robbery case which had been reported on Feb. 2,” wrote Wright. “In addition, CIS determined the same suspects are involved in other cases being investigated.”
She also noted another case that Cline was instrumental in solving. In this one, he came to the aid of a police officer from the Fair Oaks District Station. Over the radio, the officer let other police know that he was in pursuit of a vehicle.
Cline headed toward the area where they were and the suspect bailed out of the vehicle and fled into the Greenbriar Town Center in Chantilly. He disappeared for awhile, but Cline didn’t give up.
Instead, Cline stayed on the scene and waited for the suspect to emerge — which he eventually did, from a dumpster. Police arrested him immediately, and Cline was later commended by the Fair Oaks District supervisors for being so alert to cover a dumpster.
“PFC Cline believes in the value of the work we do as peacekeepers in the community we serve,” wrote Wright. “He comes to work with a can-do attitude and displays a great work ethic as part of the team. Cline could easily move into the job of a detective, with his impressive interview techniques, report-writing skills and coordination efforts.”
“However, he enjoys his duties as a patrol officer and his endeavors have proved to be very effective,” continued Wright. “Because of the hard work and determination exhibited by PFC Cline, I recommend and submit him for Officer of the Month for the Sully District Station.”
At the May 14 ceremony honoring Cline, that station’s commander, Capt. Ed O’Carroll, praised his efforts in the Fair Oaks case. “His intuition led him to stay there and be patient,” said O’Carroll. “He’s a shining star amongst all our staff.”