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On Saturday, April 4, the city of Pittsburgh was stunned by the deaths of three police officers - killed on a domestic dispute call.
Officer Eric Kelly was headed home after his overnight shift, when he detoured to the scene for backup. He had 14 years on the force.
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Officers Paul Sciullo and Stephen Mayhle were newer - two years each - but no less devoted to the job. Their supervisor remembers both were always early, ready to start their shift, and "just loved being cops".
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/18/pgh.ofc.stephen.mayhle.gif caption="Ofc. Stephen Mayhle/Pittsburgh Bureau of Police"]
We honor the sacrifice of Officers Kelly, Sciullo, and Mayhle as part of our team's special coverage of National Police Week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/15/corporal.justin.garner.jpg caption="Carthage, N.C. PD"]
From outside the nursing home, he could hear the shots. The elderly residents... sitting ducks for an angry gunman.
Corporal Justin Garner didn't wait for backup.
He crept into the building, past bleeding victims - and encountered the shooter in a hallway, reloading.
Corporal Garner warned him several times to drop it. He didn't. The two exchanged fire, wounding each other.
But the rampage, which left eight people dead, was over.
We honor Carthage (NC) Police Corporal Justin Garner, as part of our special coverage of National Police Week.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/13/ofc.randy.white.final.gif caption="Bridgeport, Texas PD"]
It happened a little over a month ago.
Officer Randy White was trying to keep people safe. Keep them out of the way of a high-speed police chase. He almost succeeded, too.
No lives lost... except his own.
The stolen SUV he was worried about, that the other cops were chasing – it plowed into him, as he sat in his cruiser. He was declared dead at the scene.
We remember Officer Randy White, of the Bridgeport (TX) Police Department, as part of our special focus on National Police Week.
This week, we've asked you to tell us about police officers you admire.
Well, Mr. Alvin Robinson, you've got a pretty big fan.
Bill Wilson left a comment on our blog about Officer Robinson, who serves with the Reading (PA) Police Department.
In addition to his regular duties, he does a lot of work to help kids. First in the "D.A.R.E." anti-drug program, and now in "G.R.E.A.T." - gang resistance, education, and training.
In Bill's words: "Officer Robinson is an exceptional public servant, both in and out of uniform."
We honor him as part of our special coverage of National Police Week.
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.
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He worked narcotics in the Bronx, no easy beat. But nothing like the dangers of Afghanistan.
NYPD Officer Deon Taylor was on his second tour there with the National Guard.
The man who once played with G.I. Joes, and defended the other kids from bullies - no match for an IED.
Officer Deon Taylor was killed in action last October.
In a way, though, he's still protecting the streets; he encouraged his brother and four cousins to become police officers too.
We remember Officer Taylor, as our team marks National Police Week.
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He defended us here, on the Lathrup Village, Michigan police force - and abroad, in the military.
Officer Matt Hilton gave his life for what he believed in.
He was killed last year in Afghanistan, while serving with the Michigan Army National Guard.
His home state honored him with a memorial coin this past weekend. And we honor Officer Matt Hilton as part of our focus on National Police Week.
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His sergeant was down, wounded by a gunshot. The bad guy was still pulling the trigger.
But without a second thought - Officer Matthew Medeiros rushed out, got between his sarge and the shooter, and fired back.
The guy fled, and Officer Medeiros gave first aid until medics arrived.
Sergeant Richard McNevin survived.
For this act of heroism and selflessness, the Boynton Beach, Florida Police Department just awarded its first Medal of Valor to Officer Matthew Medeiros.
We honor him, as part of our team's special focus on National Police Week.
It's a shame, but it's true: the few bad apples grab most of the headlines. The vast majority of police are on the job for the right reasons. Working all kinds of shifts and situations to keep us safe. The responsibilities and risks are huge; the paychecks, not so much.
Well, tomorrow is the start of National Police Week. And the Newsroom PM team would love for you to share your POSITIVE experiences involving police or other law enforcement officers. Stories, video, photos. Whether it happened 10 years or 10 days ago, send what you've got.
Every day, there are quiet heroics taking place. We should know more about them!
Comments here are great - iReports* would be fantastic. Even if it's just you, telling your story to the camera. We'll be using them all week long in Kyra's shows.
(*if you send us something via iReport.com, please include the tags "Kyra" and "police" so we're able to find it easily.)