Pa. officer praised for rescues, says his father inspired him to go into law enforcement
Officer Jared Shope says he will continue to serve his community, and thanks its businesses, school districts and residents for unwavering support
By Patrick Buchnowski
SALIX, Pa. — Local police officer Jared Shope has been recognized for multiple acts of heroism, and he says his motivation to help others comes from watching his father's life in law enforcement.
Shope started police work in 2016. He's been praised for rescuing a man from a raging house fire and was recognized for saving a woman's life when she suffered a heart attack.
For the 2013 Forest Hills High School graduate, it is all part of a police officer's job. Selfless passion is a trait inherited from his father, Scott Shope, a Richland Township police officer.
"Being around my dad my whole life, he was always in police work," Shope said. "A lot of his friends are police officers. Seeing what they do, I thought that's my passion, so I pursued it."
Shope attended California University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, and graduated from the municipal police academy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
He is a full-time police officer in Adams Township and a part-time officer in Geistown Borough, both in Cambria County, and a part-time officer with Conemaugh Township, Somerset County.
Shope said the job doesn't come without risk.
'The first responder'
Shope was patrolling Adams Township at 3 a.m. May 9, 2020, when a fire broke out in a house on Beautyline Drive.
In a Sept. 24, 2020, interview with The Tribune-Democrat, Shope and the homeowner described what happened.
"I was the first responder on the scene," Shope said then. "The fire was basically through the whole house when I got there."
He and two neighbors searched around the house for victims and found the homeowner, Danny Adams, standing in the rear doorway with flames behind him.
"He kept saying, 'I can't move; I can't walk,' " Shope said.
Adams said he awoke and found flames spreading up the wall from a propane heater. He made his way to the back door, but had not put on his shoes. A late-season snowfall had covered the yard.
"I was screaming when (Shope) came around the house," Adams said. "He climbed over the fence, picked me up, carried me to his truck and put me inside because I was freezing."
Fire consumed the house and Adams was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Shope received the Cambria County Regional Firefighters Association's Valor Award.
"Officer Shope's actions definitely prevented further injury or possibly the death to the homeowner, and at obvious risk to himself due to the severity of the rapidly deteriorating fire conditions," St. Michael fire Chief Paul Kundrod said at the time.
About two years earlier, Shope was working as a Geistown officer when he and Richland Township police officer Todd Miller revived a woman who had suffered a cardiac arrest at Copies Plus on Belmont Street.
Shope said a police officer can never become complacent. What may seem to be a routine domestic call can turn ugly.
Part of an officer's training is handling family disputes.
Before the officer gets to the scene, Cambria County 911 keeps him or her updated.
"Our dispatch center does a phenomenal job letting us know what's going on before we get there," Shope said. "Sometimes you get to the scene and it's chaotic, screaming and yelling."
He separates the people involved. He looks for any injured person who may need an ambulance. Many times, children are present.
"The biggest thing is comforting the kids and let them know everything is going to be alright," Shope said.
Cambria County Children and Youth Services arrives when needed.
Shope said community policing has an important role in preventing trouble. Officers are out talking with residents, students and business people.
"When the kids run up to you and give you high-fives, that's a good feeling," he said.
Shope said he feels fortunate working in a community that respects police.
"I love where I work," he said. "We have a good rapport with our residents, fire departments, businesses, school district and supervisors."
Shope said he plans to continue serving the community as a law enforcement officer. He is dedicated to his fiancee and two children.
"My main objective is to come to work and go home to them," he said.
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