Salem’s Police Officer of the Year for 2016 is a young man credited with saving the lives of two innocent people and preserving critical crime scene evidence in a federal case. Officer Spencer St. Cyr did all of that and more on the night of August 20, 2016, and now his peers at the Salem Police Department have selected him for this prestigious annual honor.
“It means a lot of to me because my fellow officers voted for me, but there are many others just as deserving,” says St. Cyr. “It takes a team effort for this to happen and at the end of the day the thing I care most about is the wellbeing of those two people.”
On that summer evening last August, St. Cyr was off-duty when he discovered a man and a woman who had been stabbed multiple times at an apartment complex in Southwest Roanoke County. Immediately, his instincts and all of the training he had received over the years kicked-in.
“To do this job, you often have to be two different people and be able to flip a switch,” he says. “That night I just flipped my switch and started doing work. God puts you exactly where he needs you, and I think this definitely was one of those situations.”
Both victims had suffered serious injuries in the knife attack and while they were St. Cyr’s first concern, he also made sure he preserved the crime scene until Roanoke County Police arrived on the scene.
“The scene was really broken in two with the evidentiary scene containing the weapons and blood evidence,” he says. “I told the people who were there that I was a police officer and I tried to keep anyone from tampering with the evidence. There was a helplessness to the situation, but despite that I felt a calming feeling come over me. I felt like everything was going to be alright and for some reasons I knew I was going to be fine.”
St. Cyr’s quick thinking and willingness to jump into the middle of a chaotic scene, even though he was off-duty, helped lead to the arrest of the accused attacker. The man is still in custody and the FBI investigation is still active.
“Spencer is an energetic and prepared young man who acted on his instincts and training to save two lives,” says Salem Police Department Major Derek Weeks. “We are extremely proud of Spencer and he is now part of the Salem Police Department’s history.”
St. Cyr is a 2011 Hidden Valley High School graduate who will turn 25-years-old this May. Late last year, Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall also recognized the young officer for his bravery and heroism during a ceremony at the Salem Police Department.
“I don’t think there has ever been such a pivotal time for law enforcement in this country and that is part of the reason why this award means so much to me,” says St. Cyr. “I am not in the business of winning trophies - as officers we are in the business of saving lives.”
The Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce will formally honor St. Cyr at its annual dinner and gala on March 10 at the Hotel Roanoke.
“We are very proud to have Officer St. Cyr represent the Salem Police Department as our Officer of the Year,” says Salem Police Chief Mike Crawley. “He is a bright young officer with an abundance of potential and we are glad he is a part of our team. Our employees are constantly challenged to strive to become better people within our communities, and Officer St. Cyr’s actions prove that he is more than willing to take on that challenge.”
“Many people my age haven’t had these experiences, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” says St. Cyr. “In the end, I will be a much better and wiser person and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.”