CPD Officer Recognized For Protecting Foreign Dignitary

A Cambridge police officer was honored last week for protecting a visiting foreign dignitary against a potential threat at the intersection of Brattle and Mt. Auburn streets this past February.

CPD officer Stephen Lyons, a member of the Cambridge Police Traffic Enforcement Unit, was a member of the motorcade escorting Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh the night of Feb. 15. When three unruly males approached the motorcade in a threatening manner, Lyons said he acted in the moment.

“As the motorcade was approaching, one of the males raised his arms, jumped off the sidewalk, and ran toward the motorcade,” Lyons wrote in an email. “I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying, but his actions were certainly suspicious.”

Lyons restrained the man, forcing him onto the sidewalk—and away from the motorcade.

“I immediately checked him for weapons and informed him that he had placed himself in great danger by his actions,” Lyons wrote.

Lyons’ actions kept the motorcade on course, moving the deputy prime minister quickly along.

“Things could have gotten pretty serious pretty quickly, but luckily officer Lyons was able to step in and diffuse the threat,” CPD spokesperson Daniel M. Riviello said.

Lyons said he has escorted dignitaries with the CPD for nearly 10 years. Officers like Lyons, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas said, comprise the backbone of CPD’s dignitary protection service.

“Officer Lyons’ award highlights the close relationship we have with our federal partners,” Haas said.

The state department in Boston ensures that the protection of foreign dignitaries is handled by local police departments.

“A lot of dignitaries come to Cambridge to speak at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Riviello said.

Lyons was honored Mar. 14 at the Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Federal Building in Boston and presented with a plaque. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security and Director of Diplomatic Security Service Scott P. Bultrowicz presented the plaque to Lyons in front of an audience of Lyons’ traffic unit. The plaque thanked Lyons for his bravery and his work protecting the deputy prime minister.

—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at

—Staff writer Amy Q. Friedman can be reached at