This morning at 545am, Joe McDermott a Philadelphia Police Detective in the the Southwest Division (and former Temple University oarsman), was arriving for crew practice at Vesper Boat Club for a boat that is going to Ireland with John Timoney to race the Irish Garde in two weeks.
While parking his jeep, he noticed two men leaving the area between Undine and PGRC carrying bags, and head toward Lemon Hill where other rowers were parking. Realizing these guys were not dressed for practice, in an instant Joe McDermott the oarsman, became Joe McDermott the cop.
McDermott then ran to Vesper to tell his waiting crew to call 911 and tell them an officer needs assistance. Before waiting for back up, McDermott calmly walked across Kelly Drive to the two suspects. At this point they had already broke into three cars.
McDermott then waited till he was within arms reach of the suspects before he identified himself and a fierce struggle ensued between the three of them. Detective McDemott was able to wrestle one of the bad guys to the ground while the other took off up the hill into the park. When other rowers made their way over to the melee. McDermott told them to hold the bad guy in custody till the cops came.
Once again without waiting for backup, McDermott grabed a cell phone from another arriving rower and took off alone in foot pursuit of the second suspect. The foot chase practically ended up in North Philadelphia before uniformed officers arrived on the scene. Unfortunatley the second bad guy was able to make his escape, but it wasn't till this became apparent that McDermott realized his leg was badly injured and he was rushed to Hanehaman Hospital.
As of this writing at 9am, McDermott is getting xrayed and treated at the ER for a severly damaged knee and other scrapes and bruises. While getting a collar and stopping further damage to the rowing community's cars, Derms as his friends know him, may not be able to race the Irish Garde in Dublin this June and he may not be able to race with the Philly Police Department's Dragon Boat Team this September in Rome.
Those of us who know Derms as a rower, know that we want him in the boat because he's one of the toughest starboard oars around. To those of you who don't row with him, just be glad that he, and the other cops who row, are around and are willing to sacrifice their rowing careers to do their jobs even when they aren't on duty.
It is my suggestion that if any of us are in a bar in the company of Joe McDermott never let him reach into his pocket to pay for one. He's already paid enough on our behalf.