METHUEN — Chief Joseph Solomon and Mayor James Jajuga are pleased to announce that Officer Kenneth Pilz is the recipient of the 2019 Methuen Exchange Club Police Officer of the Year.
Officer Pilz was recognized with the award at a ceremony at the Merrimack Valley Golf Course on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
In addition to his daily contributions to the city and the department in his role as a patrolman, Officer Pilz was recognized for his work to apprehend a murder suspect over the summer. On Saturday, July 27, Officer Pilz dedicated his time to searching for a New Hampshire murder suspect — considered armed and dangerous — who led police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle and crashed in the area of Jackson and Swan Streets in Methuen.
Later that evening, after the pursuit had been called off for safety reasons, Office Pilz observed a man he believed to be the suspect in the area of Jackson Street. Officer Pilz began speaking with the man and building a rapport with him — inviting him to share pizza during a break with other officers — while waiting for those officers, whom he’d previously requested for backup, to arrive.
Upon their arrival, the officers placed the suspect under arrest without further incident and extradited to New Hampshire to face murder charges. However, Officer Pilz’s assistance was still needed, as the rapport he developed with the suspect proved instrumental in gaining the suspect’s cooperation with the ongoing investigation and led to his being positively identified as the suspect in that day’s pursuit.
“Officer Pilz requested the opportunity to patrol an area of town he’s not usually assigned to because his instincts told him he could make an impact by locating this suspect and bringing him into custody,” Chief Solomon said. “His proactive efforts, as well as his ability to build a relationship with a dangerous suspect, prevented a situation from escalating and helped keep our community safe.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Officer Pilz joined the Methuen Police Department in 2008. This year’s award marks the second of his career, after first earning the accolade in 2017.
“Officer Pilz’s professionalism and experience guided him to take a strategic course of action to arrest a violent fugitive,” Mayor Jajuga said. “I’m proud of his efforts on that particular day, and grateful for his contributions on a regular basis and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”