Obama Awards Medal of Valor to 13 Police Officers

Obama Awards Medal of Valor to 13 Police Officers

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White House-Obama with police officers-Medal ceremony

President Obama awarded the Medal of Valor, to thirteen public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.

Since 2001, police, firefighters and other first responders have been nominated by their agencies and recommended through the Medal of Valor Review Board.

“It was your courage and quick thinking that gave us our safety,” Obama said at the White House. “Although, this particular moment for which you are being honored is remarkable … we know every day you go out there, you have a tough job.”

One of the recipients whose stories were described in the ceremony, which was held today during National Police Week, is a fallen officer posthumously honored. Philadelphia Police Sergeant Robert Wilson III was shot in a video game store robbery during which he confronted two gunman, and moved away from customers and shopkeepers to keep them safe.

The other recipients of the 2014 Medal of Valor are:

Officer Mario Gutierrez (Miami-Dade Police Department, FL)
For bravery and composure while enduring a violent attack.  Officer Gutierrez sustained multiple stab wounds while subduing a knife-wielding assailant who attempted to set off a massive gas explosion that could have resulted in multiple fatalities.

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Patrolman Louis Cioci (Johnson City Police Department, NY)
For courageously resolving a volatile encounter with a gunman. After witnessing the murder of his fellow officer, Patrolman Cioci pursued and apprehended the gunman at a crowded hospital, thereby saving the lives of employees, patients, and visitors.

Officers Jason Salas, ad Robert Sparks, and Captain Raymond Bottenfield  (Santa Monica Police Department, CA)
For courage and composure in ending a deadly rampage. Officer Salas, Officer Sparks, and Captain Bottenfield placed themselves in mortal danger to save the lives of students and staff during a school shooting on the busy campus of Santa Monica College.

Major David Huff (Midwest City Police Department, OK)
For uncommon poise in resolving a dangerous hostage situation. Major Huff saved the life of a two-year-old girl after negotiations deteriorated with a man holding the child captive at knife point.

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Officer Donald Thompson (Los Angeles Police Department, CA)
For courageous action to save an accident victim. While off duty, Officer Thompson traversed two freeway dividers and endured first- and second-degree burns while pulling an unconscious man to safety from a car moments before it became engulfed in flames.

Officer Coral Walker (Omaha Police Department, NE)
For taking brave and decisive action to subdue an active shooter. After exchanging gunfire, Officer Walker single-handedly incapacitated a man who had killed and injured multiple victims on a shooting spree.

Officer Gregory Stevens (Garland Police Department, TX)
For demonstrating extraordinary courage to save lives. Officer Stevens exchanged gunfire at close range and subdued two heavily-armed assailants preventing a mass shooting.

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Officer Niel Johnson (North Miami Police Department, FL)
For swift and valorous action to end a violent crime spree. Officer Johnson pursued a man who had shot a Miami police officer and two other innocent bystanders, withstanding fire from an assault weapon, and apprehended the assailant.

Special Agent Tyler Call (FBI)
For his heroic actions to save a hostage. Special Agent Call, who was off duty with his family, helped rescue a woman from her ex-husband who had violated a restraining order and held the victim at gunpoint.

Deputy Joey Tortorella (Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, NY)
For placing himself in grave danger to protect his community. Deputy Tortorella confronted and subdued a volatile gunman who had shot and wounded his parents inside their home and by doing so prevented the gunman from threatening the safety of students at a nearby elementary school.

(WATCH the video of the 20 minute ceremony below)

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