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Spring on the York College campus

Badge of Bravery

By Colleen Karl
“I was kind of in big brother mode that day, doing my best to take care of the younger officers and my probation partner that evening. It was really a dual mindset at that point: protect the citizens of Harrisburg and protect my partners.”
Chad McGowan stands with a fellow member of the Harrisburg Police Department.

Chad McGowan ’09 was awarded the Congressional Badge of Bravery, an honor given to law enforcement officers for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty, on May 29 by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.

A member of the Harrisburg Police Department since 2013, he risked his life to save the lives of fellow police officers.

In December 2017, a gunman opened fire on officers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and wounded a state trooper. McGowan had a county probation officer and officers in training in his unmarked car when the gunman pulled his own vehicle over, came toward them, and started shooting. McGowan exchanged fire with him while his passengers were able to take cover and the gunman was fatally wounded.

“I was kind of in big brother mode that day, doing my best to take care of the younger officers and my probation partner that evening,” he said. His unit was responsible for training the three new officers and he was called in to help although he was scheduled to have time off that day. It was just hours later when the night turned from training to a real life-and-death situation. “It was really a dual mindset at that point: protect the citizens of Harrisburg and protect my partners,” said McGowan, who also recognized the teamwork of the Harrisburg city police.

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