Pennsylvania’s Malarick honored for apprehending man who attacked fellow officer
By Dan Campana
It all seemed to be happening in slow motion.
East Fallowfield Township Police Officer Gina Malarick responded to assist on a 911 hang-up call on Nov. 2, 2017, in nearby South Coatesville. The initial officer said he was fine – and the scene secure for EMS – after arriving at the home where a man was reportedly having a medical emergency. Malarick followed through to provide support anyway.
Shortly after she got to the home, chaos erupted.
“When I arrived … the (man) was acting strangely; talking without making sense. He would be calm one minute and then agitated the next,” Malarick said, adding that she and the other officer noticed drug paraphernalia and suspected the man might be on some type of drugs. “The subject suddenly jumped off the couch (stating), ‘You all better back off of me’ and then he lunged at the other officer.”
Malarick recalled how the man and the other officer fell to the ground in a struggle, with the officer’s head going through a glass dining room table.
“(When) I saw all the blood that was coming from his head, I realized how badly he was injured and that I needed to do something immediately,” explained Malarick, an 11-year law enforcement veteran who has been with East Fallowfield for nine years. “I then jumped on the suspect and was able to get him handcuffed in a matter of seconds.
“I have been in situations where suspects have become combative, but never in one where there was such a serious injury caused to a fellow officer,” she added.
Malarick’s efforts to subdue the man – described by as being twice her size – earned her a Philadelphia Crime Commission award for outstanding service. Officials credit her actions for helping to prevent further injury to the other officer.
“When I heard about the award, I was very surprised. I did not even know that (South Coatesville) Chief (Kevin) Pierce nominated me,” Malarick said. “My family and my husband’s family, as was my blue family, were extremely proud of me. They would tell anyone that would listen about the award. I was fortunate enough to have my husband and parents – and my sergeant – at the awards ceremony.
“I was very honored and humbled to be there that day along with so many other amazing officers,” Malarick shared.
Malarick firmly believes it is an honor to wear the badge, although she acknowledges a lot has changed in the last decade and “some days it’s tough to wear this uniform in today’s society.” What hasn’t changed is the commitment to serve her community – which was the foundation of her decision in 2006 to pursue a law enforcement career.
Her dedication was in clear evidence on that November night as she continued on patrol after the violent incident.
“I was the only officer working in my township that night so I still had to finish up my shift,” Malarick said, noting she had helpful talks with another officer and a friend about what had happened.
Read the entire 50 Badges series here.