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May 12th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

White House honors "Top Cops"

Pres. Obama with Top Cops

When we went live to the Rose Garden for today's ceremony, we promised you a list of the men and women honored. Here it is - details, courtesy of the White House:

Arizona – Phoenix Police Department
Officer Fabian Gonzalez

Case: On April 27, 2008, a man started shooting at a crowd in a movie theater parking lot, while using the mall security guard as a shield. After an unsuccessful attempt to get the man to drop the gun, Officer Fabian Gonzalez shot the offender, freeing the security guard and preventing any harm to civilians.

California – Los Angeles Police Department
Officer Richard Alba
Officer Michael Barker
Sergeant Charles Buttitta
Officer Thomas Chinappi
Officer Floyd Curry
Officer Douglas Dingman
Officer German Hurtado
Officer Mark Nee
Officer Michael Odle
Officer George Ryan III
Officer Anthony Samuelson
Officer Daniel Sanchez
Officer Stephen Scallon
Officer James Veenstra
Officer David Keortge

Case: On February 7, 2008, the LAPD responded to a report that a distressed man killed his family, was suicidal, and had hostages. When the SWAT team arrived at the residence and initiated a forced entry, the man opened fire, hitting two officers – one of them fatally.

As this ensued, officers provided sniper cover from the roof, which enabled the offender’s wife to safely flee the hostage situation. At this point, the suspect fired upon the officers, who were forced to take him down.

Florida – Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Sheriff William Badala

Case: On October 22, 2008, a Palm Beach resident who had been denied access to his vehicle by a tow truck operator, violently attacked workers in tow shop.

By the time Deputy William Badala arrived on the scene, the offender had fired shots with an assault rifle, striking two workers. The angry customer returned to his SUV as Deputy Badala approached. The customer retrieved a loaded AK-47 from his car and aimed it at the Deputy. After an extended shooting match, Deputy Badala shot down the suspect.

Georgia – Tifton Police Department
Officer Dorminey McCrae

Case: On April 7, 2008, Officer Dorminey McCrae was dispatched to a retail store where a man held a 16-year-old female hostage at gunpoint. Officer McCrae slipped into the store unnoticed, and transmitted information over radio without being detected. As the suspect attempted to escape, police officers arrived and blocked all exits. Officer McCrae took careful aim and disabled him with a high risk shot, saving the young hostage.

Idaho – Boise Police Department
Officer Chris Davis
Officer Jason Rose

Case: On August 25, 2008, Officers Chris Davis and Jason Rose were two of the first to respond to one of the most damaging fires in Boise history. The officers stormed from house to house, evacuating residents. Both officers were engulfed in flames after a series of explosions. Fire melted their uniforms; they were knocked down by the force of the blast, and reduced to using sprinklers to put out the fire on their own bodies.

Both officers continued to work on a mission to save as many people as possible, despite their injuries. As a result, there was only one fatality in what could have been a much greater disaster.

Illinois – Skokie Police Department
Officer Timothy Gramins

Case: On August 25, 2008, Officer Timothy Gramins gave chase after an armed man attempting to escape a bank robbery. The suspect abruptly started shooting in a crowded street. Under a barrage of gunfire, Officer Gramins protected onlookers, without regard to his own life, and took down the suspect.

Louisiana – Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Rhonda Goff

Case: On October 20, 2008, while off duty, Deputy Rhonda Goff saw three men covered in blood, coming out of a bar. She investigated and called for backup and medical assistance.

Although outnumbered three to one, she confronted the suspects, handcuffed them, and found numerous stolen wallets in their possession. When backup arrived, they found four more wounded victims inside the bar, then discovered three more men had been involved in the robbery.

Deputy Goff quickly obtained a license plate number from a witness and put it on the radio, enabling detectives to track down the remaining robbers before they could flee the area.

Michigan – Dewitt Township Police Department
Officer William Darnell

Case: Officer William Darnell arrived at a victim’s apartment building after receiving a domestic violence call. As Officer Darnell searched the building, the perpetrator shot him in the face and escaped up a flight of stairs.

Despite tremendous pain, the officer was able to hit the emergency button on his radio to alert dispatch, and managed to drag himself into a position to return fire. Another officer arrived and helped Officer Darnell to bring down the suspect.

Missouri – Kansas City Police Department
Officer David Loar
Officer Christopher Skinner

Case: On December 31, 2007, while responding to a burglar alarm, Officers David Loar and Christopher Skinner found a homeless man named Harold sleeping in an underground parking garage. These two cops, using personal time and money, helped Harold get back on his feet. They helped him secure housing, furniture, obtain a copy of his birth certificate, a new Social Security card, a checking account, and a new state I.D. In addition, they ensured Harold was receiving Medicare benefits, his Social Security pension, and discovered that he qualified for a lump sum back-paycheck.

These officers did everything they could to help a man restore his dignity and livelihood, and are an exemplary model of officers going beyond the call of duty in their service to the community.

Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Police Department
Officer Brian Freas

Case: While off duty and on his way home from the hospital where his wife had just given birth to their son, Officer Brian Freas witnessed a violent car accident on the highway. Both vehicles involved in the collision were perched at the edge of a 40-foot dropoff. Struggling to get out of the car, the occupants shifted their weight and caused the vehicle to tip toward the edge.

Officer Freas pulled aside and rushed to the scene. He applied his full weight to steady the SUV, while he helped the occupants out of the vehicle. He then rescued the other car’s occupants. Due to the Officer’s swift action, there were no fatalities or life-threatening injuries.

International – Drug Enforcement Administration
Special Agent John Archer
Special Agent William Brown
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Paul Craine
Supervisory Special Agent Brian Dodd
Supervisory Special Agent Louis Milione
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Nargi
Assistant Special Agent in Charge James Soiles

Case: This group of Special Agents planned a five-year undercover operation to bring down renowned terrorist Monzer Al Kassar, a man responsible for supplying the weapons that were used in the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking.

The special agents infiltrated Kassar’s circle of associates by posing as representatives of the Colombian drug trafficking group known as FARC. As FARC members, they pretended to seek modern-day weapons. Kassar was tricked into believing he was meeting with a high-level FARC commander, and was arrested in Spain on U.S. charges. Two associates were arrested in Romania, where they had traveled to receive what they believed was payment for weapons.

On November 20, 2008, a U.S. jury convicted these defendants on multiple terrorism charges.

Filed under: Kyra Phillips • Police Officer/Hero
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Shorty

    All too often we take police officers for granted. We grumble when we are stopped for a traffic infraction, but really, how many of us could face going to work daily getting cussed at, assaulted, and worse?

    It takes a special person to do this kind of work, not knowing if they will make it home at the end of their shift.

    Thank you to all police officers for all you do.

    May 13, 2009 at 4:23 am |
  2. michael armstrong sr.

    man its been a week now and only one comment well this makes two so dont quit your day job but make up a good exscuse like it was to early and every body had hangovers and wasnt awake

    May 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  3. RJ

    Geez Kyra, you have a thing for cops or what! While agree with you that if they do their jobs the way they are supposed too and not break the law themselves then yes they have a very tough and admirable job but as CNN has reported in the past few years, its been all to common for cops to stray the line and in a lot of cases the criminals themselves! A growing double standard has evolved as you can tell in minority neighborhoods and the law is becoming more and more lawless! Let them not forget that it is tax payers dollar that pays them, they should have to answer to someone higher than them. Krya, you love cops so much tell a cop he works for you, see what his reaction to that is. Just yesterday here locally two cops were let off scot free when their patrol car crashed into another car killing the occupants after it was revealed that they were traveling over 100 at night with no warning lights on what so ever, as long as this policy of letting cops off for things the rest of us do and go to jail for. It was determined they did nothing wrong, hey Krya tell that to the family of the ones killed by the cops neglegence! Tell the whole story not just what looks good for them!

    May 13, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Terra Mitchell

    Officer Dorminey Mccrae, great job in handling that hostage situation!
    All of you officers did an outstanding job!

    May 14, 2009 at 4:26 am |
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