America’s Bravest OfficersBy - 04/26/2016
Policing is a far too often a thankless job. For many police officers, the gun and the badge are both a mark of pride and a heavy burden. As long as humanity is flawed (and we are, indeed, highly flawed), trouble will occur. When it does, we place our trust and hope in our local police officers. Still, the nature of policing is such that even a single bad apple can cause people to turn their nose up at the entire batch. The media has been quick to cast all police officers in a similar, negative light, while almost unerringly ignoring the overwhelmingly positive ways in which police officers serve and protect their communities on a daily basis. America’s police officers deserve more appreciation than they receive. And we are going to give it to them. Below you will find but a small sampling of America’s brave police officers.
1. Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr
Hillsborough County, FL Sheriff’s Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr. has become known as the “Human Shield”. He earned this title after he, quite literally, used his patrol car as a shield in an effort to prevent a head-on collision.
The incident happened in the dark hours of the early morning, at around 3 AM. The woman he saved that night was driving down the Selmon Expressway. According to her, she was about to take the exit when she saw headlights coming directly at her. She flashed her headlights, but the wrong-way driver didn’t change course. In moments, a head-on collision would have occurred. She and the other driver would likely have died. In an effort to avoid the collision, she pulled hard right. Looking up, she saw a breathtaking site. Deputy Kotfila pulled his car between her and danger. He took the blow for her, ultimately saving her life.
In putting himself in harm’s way, Deputy Kotfila died that night. The injuries he sustained as a result of the crash were insurmountable. But he died a hero, not only to the woman whose life he saved, but to his fellow deputies and the family he left behind.
Source: Police One
2. Police Officer Simkiw
While patrolling in Warminster, PA, Officer Simkiw and his partner noticed a house on fire. The pair called for backup, but there was no time to wait. The fire was quickly engulfing the house, and there was clear indication that someone was still inside. The smoke was thick and most trained officers know that the majority of fire deaths are not caused by burns, but by smoke. Putting fear and selflessness aside, Officer Simkiw made the decision to put his life on the line to save another. He rushed into the heat and smoke of the blazing house. Inside, he spotted the homeowner lying unconscious on the porch. He worked with his partner to pull the unconscious homeowner to safety. But their job was not yet done, the man had no pulse.
Working quickly and skillfully, Officer Simkiw and his partner performed CPR and saved the man’s life. Selflessness and bravery in face of danger, make both of these officers true heros.
3. Officer Williams-Ervin
911 calls are rarely pretty. It was a scream-filled call that lead Missouri Officer Williams-Ervin and his partner to the front door of an Indianapolis home. The officers knocked, but there was no response. Knowing that time was of the essence, the officers forced their way inside, meeting what could only be called an officer’s worst nightmare.
A grisly scene lay before them. They found a family, slaughtered. With hope in their hearts, they searched the house, room-by-room, until they found two survivors: the mother, and her mentally-ill son.
It was clear that things weren’t getting any easier. The mother’s life was being threatened. In what can only be called a heart-wrenching moment, Officer Williams-Ervin was forced to take action. He ordered the knife-wielding son to drop his weapon. The son refused. In minutes, the event was over. The son was dead. The mother, saved.
No officer wishes to take life, especially not a son from a mother. But Officer Williams-Ervin and his partner emerged heroes that day, managing to save one member of a tragically-killed family.
Source: The Washington Post
4. Sgt. Adam Johnson
Terrorism, both foreign and domestic, is a major concern for today’s police forces. While terrorism itself is rare, when it does occur, it can install a fear that can cripple an entire region for days. One needs only look at what happened to the Washington D.C. area during days in which the D.C. sniper wreaked havoc to know that terrorism is not so much about how many deaths one can cause, but dread.
Texas learned this first hand when a terrorist, armed only with a rifle, attacked a Federal court house, the Austin Police Department and the Mexican Consulate. Around 200 rounds sizzled from his rifle before he was spotted and downed by the skillful hand of Officer Adam Johnson.
A mounted policeman, Officer Johnson was on duty when he laid sights on the man wreaking havoc in Austin. He had only a moment, he wasn’t close to the assailant and his position wasn’t ideal. Tucked away with two very unsettled horses, he took one hand to steady them, and with his other hand he steadied his aim, and… fired. From 104 yards away, he dropped the shooter. One shot. No miss. It’s hard to imagine how many lives Officer Johnson saved that day, but he’ll forever be considered a hero.
Sources: Police One
5. Officers of the Chattanooga Police Department
When a shooter gunned down 4 U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Officers from the CPD were immediately up to the task of bringing him down. The CPD police chief described their actions as “immediate” and “aggressive”. In the face of a shooter gunning down our U.S. soldiers, one could only hope. After all, nobody messes with those that so fiercely protect us all.
Upon arriving, the officers were met with incoming fire. The shooter was fast to react, changing his focus and attempting to take out the responding officers. But the CPD fired back, forcing the shooter to retreat. A chase ensued. When the officers caught up to the man, he continued firing. His sole intent to increase his kill count. While he did manage to injure one officer, they prevailed, taking down the shooter for good.
Although four U.S. marines died that day, Chattanooga Police Officers helped to prevent any more deaths from occurring. That day, the CPD emerged as heroes, minimizing the loss of life and protecting our protectors.
6. Sgt. Joe Hudson
Sgt. Joe Hudson was called to respond to a kitchen fire. Upon arrival, he was met by a woman, a grandmother frantically pleading for her grandchild. Although generally the purview of the fire department, a blazing fire and a small child in danger were all that was needed for Sgt. Hudson, a father himself, to put his life on the line. He rushed into the house, found the child amidst the swirling, thick smoke, and carried him to safety.
Sgt. Joe Hudson is a hero who proves one thing about police officers: Even when they have their own families to think about, they still risk their lives for others. Though a hero to us, Sgt. Hudson was afraid that he wouldn’t be a hero to his wife. He knew she would be upset. But the life of a police officer is one fraught with danger, and most officers, like Sgt. Hudson, are willing to put their lives on the line for others.
Sources: CBS46 Atlanta
7. Deputies Sunkel and Nolan
Many officers place themselves in danger regularly. When Houston police officer Deputy Sunkel responded to a car fire, he did not expect to be one of them. Upon arrival to the scene, he witnessed a situation as tense as any film. A woman was trapped inside the blazing vehicle, unable to escape. He had to act, and fast.
Rushing to the side of the car, Deputy Sunkel pulled out his baton and smashed in the window. The woman was inside, trapped by her seatbelt. A few moments later, another officer, Deputy Nolan, arrived on the scene. Using a fire extinguisher, she was able to reduce the size of the flames, but the car was still on fire and the threat of an explosion was real. Working together, both deputies were able to free the woman, only minutes before the flames reached the front seat and consumed the area where the woman had been trapped.
The woman was airlifted to a hospital, in critical condition but very much alive. Deputy Nolan sustained burns to her hand, but was otherwise fine. Both Deputy Nolan and Deputy Sunkel went beyond the call of duty. Instead of waiting for firefighters to arrive, they stepped in, risking injury to themselves in order to save the life of someone else.
8. Police Trooper Jeffrey McWhorter
Trooper McWhorter wasn’t even working the day he became a hero. He was just driving home. A task so innocent. But on the way home, he noticed an SUV sitting at the side of the road, and something didn’t seem right. He pulled behind the car and laid eyes on an enraged man, knife in hand, on top of an unconscious woman. Trooper McWhorter demanded that the man drop his knife, but he didn’t comply. There was no time to wait, he took immediate action and tased the man, rescuing the woman.
I don’t know many people who are willing to work when they aren’t working, but I’m thankful that police officers do so routinely. In most, the instinct to protect others is great and this instinct made Trooper McWhorter a hero.
Source: LEX 18
Honor, valor and service are not just values these officers hold dear. They are the backbone of what makes America’s many state and local police forces some of the best in the world. But look beyond the badges and you’ll find a deeply profound human element. These men and women put their lives on the line every day, many times in circumstances that simply do not call for it. Their willingness to put others before themselves, even when it means risking their own lives, is only a small part of what makes these, and most other police officers in the U.S., everyday heroes.
If you have a brave officer story you’d like for us to cover please let us know and we’ll work to have it added.