College Park officer honored for role in murder suspect arrest

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:


COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - A College Park police officer received an award for helping arrest a murder suspect while on her way to take an inmate to jail.

Officer Bernice Papius Chappell received the Soaring Eagle award for her actions on Jan. 12 in northwest Atlanta.

Chappell told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri she was driving on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway when several people flagged her down, saying someone was being stabbed.

She said she saw a man repeatedly hitting another against a wall outside a convenience store at the corner of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard.

She pulled her gun and cuffed the man. The victim did not survive.

Chappell held the suspect, Donald Brown, until Atlanta police arrived to arrest him on suspicion of murder.

"She took an oath to protect life and property, and even though she was out of her jurisdiction she knew the right decision was to go out there and apprehend that suspect," College Park Police Department Chief Ron Fears told Viteri.

The department honored Chappell at City Hall for her actions.

Fears said his officer faced a tough choice that day, not just because of the potential danger.

Department policy actually says officer with inmates in the car cannot get involved in other situations.

"So, she made a real hard decision out there and I think it was more of a moral decision than it was a policy decision," Fears added it's a decision that kept a criminal from getting away.

"It feels great. This might sound cliché, but I was just doing my job," laughed Chappell.

She said after accepting her award she planned to spend the evening in uniform.

"I'm on duty. After we're all done here, I'm back on the street on duty,” Chappell said.

Atlanta police also sent a letter to College Park police thanking Chappell for her actions leading to the arrest.