F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Imagine selecting between items in a grocery store, only to have your spouse run toward you shouting that another person in the store is sexually assaulting females and that she herself had been attacked.
That was the reality that confronted Staff Sgt. Brandin McGovern, Fire Captain with the F. E. Warren Fire Department in the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron, while shopping at a local grocery store.
McGovern took no time in jumping into action, unsure of what he would be met with, but sure that he had to do something to stop the individual.
It was the action of stepping up and confronting an assailant who assaulted five women that earned him a commendation from the Cheyenne Police Department during a ceremony Sept. 2, 2020 at the Public Safety Building in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Nobody was stopping him, so I trailed him and ended up body blocking him and trying to get a confession out of him while detaining him to stop him from doing anything to anyone else,” said McGovern.
While McGovern did what he could to ensure the assailant did not touch anyone else or leave the store, the man started becoming irate and aggressive, eventually threatening to kill McGovern with a razor he pulled from his pocket, according to McGovern.
At this point, off-duty Cheyenne Police Sgt. Zac Bentley had become aware of the commotion and stepped in, taking the assailant to the ground with assistance from McGovern. Bentley and McGovern, with assistance from others present, held the assailant down until police arrived.
McGovern acknowledged that it was potentially dangerous, but he believed he had an obligation to step in and do something.
“It might not happen as fast as we would like sometimes, but people will step in when they see they’re needed,” said McGovern. “We all need to step in and take care of each other.”
While some would likely call his actions heroic, those who work with him say it is the norm.
“The actions taken by McGovern were completely in line with his character,” said Nielsen. “He is always looking out for others and would come to the defense of anyone in distress and his kind and concerned nature is shown every day in the leadership he provides for his troops.”
In giving the commendation, Cheyenne Chief of Police Brian Kozak expressed his gratitude for citizens stepping up to support the community, particularly in dangerous situations.
“When we see people step up and help police officers, we need to recognize them,” said Kozak. “The quick actions of these two sergeants, while off duty with their families, prevented others from being assaulted, and perhaps even saved someone’s life.”