Farmville officers chief receive life saving commendation

Farmville town manager David Hodgkins presents officer Jason Spencer, center, and Chief Jeffery Spencer a commendation for saving a life.

FARMVILLE — Jeffery and Jason Spencer are brothers in life and law enforcement whose teamwork recently diffused a potentially tragic situation, town officials said.

The Farmville Board of Commissioners this month honored the men with a special commendation and life-saving pins for their actions when they responded to a call about a man threatening to harm himself.

“This is the first time in the history of Farmville that I think this has ever been done,” Mayor John Moore said during the June 7 meeting where Jeffery Spencer also was sworn in as the town’s new police chief.

In April, officers were dispatched to home for a report of a man threatening to shoot himself. The residence was in a heavily populated area of the town and others were in their homes. The commendation described the following events:

First to arrive on the scene, Jason Spencer approached the man, who was on the back porch. Spencer maintained a safe distance and stayed under cover. He began speaking with the man, whose finger was on the trigger of his weapon.

Jeffery Spencer was second on the scene and was able to successfully clear the residence and get bystanders out of the way while Jason Spencer continued to calm the man.

Due to high winds, communication between Jason Spencer and the man remained difficult. Jason Spencer, an 18-year veteran on the force, had to yell to be heard.

Jeffery Spencer, then a major and interim chief, obtained the man’s cellphone number and tried to call him several times before he answered the telephone.

Communication continued for a time before it was lost then re-established. Through effective communication skills, Jeffery Spencer was able to convince the man to put down his weapon. Communication continued until he surrendered.

“Major Jeffrey Spencer and officer Jason both exhibited a calm demeanor that helped diffuse a tense situation that could have ended very tragically,” town manager David Hodgkins said.

“The subject was very distraught and could have done harm to himself, innocent bystanders and the responding officers had it not been for the skilled way the matter was handled by Major Spencer and Officer Spencer,” Hodgkins said.

Both felt honored to receive the commendation.

“I was pleasantly surprised with this commendation. I would like to thank everyone involved with putting this together. I am also happy that the incident had a successful ending and we were able to get this gentleman the help that he needed,” Jeffery Spencer said.

Jeffery and Jason Spencer are Farmville natives who began their careers with the department in 2003.

Jeffery Spencer was named interim chief following the retirement of Donnie Greene in December 2020.

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