Methuen Exchange Honors Pilz as Police Officer of the Year After Role in Capturing Murder Suspect

Methuen Police Officer Kenneth Pilz, left, and Chief Joseph E. Solomon at the Methuen Exchange Club Honor Banquet Tuesday, Nov. 19. (Photograph courtesy of Methuen Police Department.)

Methuen Police Officer Kenneth Pilz, who played the pivotal role in arresting a murder suspect last summer, was named last week as the 2019 Methuen Exchange Club Police Officer of the Year.

Last July 27, Pilz was searching for a man wanted in connection with a Concord, N.H., murder, who was considered armed and dangerous. The man, later identified as 29-year-old Joseph Hanright, fled from police in a stolen vehicle that eventually crashed in the area of Jackson and Swan Streets in Methuen.

After the pursuit had been called off for safety reasons, Pilz observed the man and casually began speaking to him, inviting him to share pizza during a break with other officers. The officer previously requested, and was awaiting, backup. Upon arrival, the officers placed Hanright under arrest without further incident and he was extradited to New Hampshire to face murder charges. Further, through the rapport Pilz developed with the man, he was able to gain cooperation with the ongoing investigation.

Pilz, who joined the Methuen Police Department in 2008, was recognized with the award during a ceremony last week at the Merrimack Valley Golf Course.

“Officer Pilz requested the opportunity to patrol an area of town he’s not usually assigned to because his instincts told him he could make an impact by locating this suspect and bringing him into custody,” said Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Chief Solomon. “His proactive efforts, as well as his ability to build a relationship with a dangerous suspect, prevented a situation from escalating and helped keep our community safe.”

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