President Trump on Tuesday presented the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to 12 “great heroes” who have risked “their lives to protect America’s citizens and communities.”
The award is the highest national honor a public safety officer — local police, fire department, sheriff’s officers and rescue personnel — can receive, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Trump said the 12 officers awarded the honor on Tuesday have “earned an eternal place in the gratitude of our history and in our hearts.”
Officers who went “above and beyond the call of duty” in various emergency situations to protect human life received the honors Tuesday from the president, including those who jumped into action during a terror attack more than two years ago.
Fourteen people were killed and 22 others injured in December 2015 when a husband and wife went on a deadly shooting rampage in San Bernadino, California.
Six public safety officers who responded to the terror attack were awarded a Medal of Valor.
- Cpl. Rafael Ixco, San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department
- Det. Bruce Southworth, San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department
- Deputy Shaun Wallen, San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department
- Det. Brian Olvera, San Bernadino Police Department
- District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson, San Bernadino County District Attorney’s Office
- Officer Nicholas Koahou, Redlands Police Department
In February 2016, two officers, as Trump described, “braved smoke, fire, and the danger of explosion,” when they responded to a fiery car wreck in Tennessee, rescuing one man who was trapped inside his vehicle.
- Lt. William Buchanan, Avery County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina
- EMT Sean Ochsenbein, Putnam County Rescue Squad in Tennessee
A California beach patrol officer, who in February 2016 rescued three people from drowning at Redondo Beach, also received a Medal of Valor.
- Firefighter/Harbor Patrol Officer David Poirier, Jr., Redondo Beach Fire Departmet
A police chief in Kansas was awarded for his response to an active shooter alert in February 2016. During the shooting at a workplace with more than 150 employees on duty, the public safety officer rushed to the rescue without any backup.
- Chief Douglas Schroeder, Hesston Police Department
In April 2016, a firefighter rescued a man from an Arizona home as his helmet melt and skin began to burn. Trump said Tuesday his actions were a heroic “great job.”
- Engineer Steven Gunn, Peoria Fire-Medical Department
A Wisconsin police officer who responded to a shooting during a high school prom in April 2016 is “credited with saving the lives” of four students who were fired upon as they left the dance.
- Patrolman Andrew Hopfensperger, Jr., Antigo Police Department
Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.