SALEM – Salem Police Detective Danny Crouse has been selected by his peers as Officer of the Year for 2012, after saving a woman from jumping off a bridge over I-81. Crouse’s selection was announced Feb. 19.
He has been with the Salem Police Department since January 2008.
He saved the woman on March 11, 2012, when he was still a member of the Patrol Division and was dispatched to investigate reports of a possible “jumper.” He located the woman on the Electric Road Ridge over I-81 just off Exit 141.
According to Chief Jeff Dudley, when Crouse and other officers got there, the woman was on her cell phone, telling them she was going to jump off the bridge into the path of a tractor-trailer on the Interstate.
Crouse came up behind her as she crawled over the guardrail, Dudley said, while her attention was on other officers heading in her direction.
Without hesitation, Crouse went over the guardrail and grabbed the woman, pulling her backwards to safety, the chief explained.
“You just have to rely on your instincts in that type of situation,” Crouse said. “I wasn’t doing anything spectacular – I was just doing my job.”
After a brief struggle, the woman was subdued and handcuffed. He said she told him and other officers she intended to jump when a truck that was large enough passed by on the Interstate. Police turned her over to mental health officials, the chief said.
Crouse is a 1986 Glenvar High School graduate who was born in California, but raised just outside of Salem from the time he was a teenager. After excelling in football, baseball and wrestling at Glenvar, he earned his bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Radford University and his Master’s in Business Administration from Averett University. Crouse got into Law Enforcement in 2008, after a successful business career in the transportation and hotel industries.
“This is a fantastic honor and it really makes you feel good to be recognized in this way,” he said. “I’m almost 45-years-old, so I’m old enough to say that, hopefully, a younger officer will look at me as kind of a role model and say ‘if he can do it, then so can I.’”
Crouse lives in Botetourt County with his two daughters, Danielle and Hayden.