COM grad receives congressional recognition

Continuing to give back to the community including conducting several life-saving rescues, Kevin LaGatella was awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee presented the certificate at the Salute to Our Heroes Award Ceremony.

“Your continued hard work and dedication to protecting and serving the community reflects the pride that is the spirit of Houston and the great state of Texas,” wrote Jackson Lee in the certificate. “Indeed your efforts are most deserving of the respect, admiration and commendation of the United States Congress.”

A former U.S. Army combat medic and police officer for nearly 10 years, LaGatella has continued to serve.

During his eight-year tenure as a corporal at the Tiki Island Police Department, LaGatella came to a wreck on 1-45.

“The car flipped several times and fuel was leaking. I got into the vehicle with two trapped subjects. My partner started kicking the windshield, and we got them out,” said LaGatella. “My mind just clicked to what I need to do. And I did it.”

Another time, he went to assist a suicidal woman who had driven her car into Jones Bay.

“The water temperature was 54 degrees. I stripped down, swam out, and with another officer swam her back,” said LaGatella.

After that rescue, he received an officer of the year award in 2014 from the 100 Club. Later, Tiki Island named a day in his honor for talking to a woman who perched to jump off an overpass and persuading her to come down.

LaGatella now works for the Fort Bend Precinct 3 Constable's Office.

“I love law enforcement. I love the impact I make,” said LaGatella. “A lot of our job is going to functions, turning on the (police car) lights for kids and being a positive influence.”

LaGatella, a certified Texas Commission on Law Enforcement instructor, hostage negotiator and SWAT honor grad, also is an adjunct for COM and is currently taking prerequisites for nursing at COM.

“He was definitely a good student and did well in all practical instruction,” said Bob Williamson, COM criminal justice instructor.

LaGatella graduated from the COM Basic Peace Officer Academy in 2005.

“COM’s academy definitely prepared me for work,” said LaGatella. “One of the strengths of COM’s academy is that about 90 percent of the instructors are in full-time law enforcement and about 10 percent are retired. They apply it daily in their chosen profession. It gives you practical application. All of your agencies that surround the college teach here.”

For more information on the COM Basic Peace Officer Academy, visit www.com.edu/law-enforcement.

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