18 Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor Awarded

The law enforcement officers and firefighters saved lives, in several cases losing their own lives in the process, during hostage standoffs, house fires, violent domestic disputes, and an inmate's attempted escape.

Federal officials including Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to 18 people Feb. 20 in recognition of their exceptional courage and heroism above and beyond the call of duty during crises.

Several of the recipients died or were seriously injured during the incidents in which they saved others' lives. For example, firefighter Peter Demontreux of the New York City Fire Department was honored for saving a person during an Aug. 30, 2010, fire in a four-story brownstone. The description of the incident says Demontreux "executed one of the most remarkable rescues ever witnessed. As he assisted the victim through the apartment, the entire third floor suddenly exploded into flames setting both rescuer and victim ablaze. According to the on-scene Battalion Chief’s report, Firefighter Demontreux, now on fire, made the split-second decision that he would not leave victim behind. After reaching the window, Firefighter Demontreux insured the victim was safely on the aerial ladder before diving out himself. Both men were extinguished by a hoseline and though badly burned -- the civilian victim received burns over 50 percent of his body -- both survived. Firefighter Demontreux's protective equipment was subsequently tested and found to have been subjected to temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees."

"This year's Medal of Valor recipients have fearlessly responded to desperate cries for help, courageously risking their own lives to secure innocent victims, protect fellow officers, and end deadly assaults," Holder said. "These extraordinary public servants have distinguished themselves by going above and beyond the call of duty."

The Medal of Valor, authorized by the Public Safety Medal of Valor Act of 2001, is awarded by the president to public safety officers cited by the attorney general. Officers are nominated by the chiefs or directors of their employing agencies and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board.

"We recognize 18 extraordinary individuals for their quick thinking, selflessness, and exceptional courage," said Office of Justice Program Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, who heads the DOJ unit serving as the federal point of contact for the Medal of Valor initiative. "They are law enforcement, corrections officers, and firefighters who went beyond the call of duty to risk –- and in some cases, to give –- their lives for their fellow citizens and colleagues."

The recipients are Officer Julie Olson, Maplewood Police Department, Minn.; Officer Reeshemah Taylor, Osceola County Corrections Department, Fla.; Wildlife Officer Michael Neal, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Officer Sean Haller and Officer Rafael Rivera, California Highway Patrol; Trooper Robert Lombardo and fallen Trooper Joshua Miller, Pennsylvania State Police; Demontreux; Firefighter Hope Scott and Captain William Reynolds, Virginia Beach Fire Department, Va.; Deputy Sheriff Krista McDonald, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Wash.; Officers Timothy McClintick, Max McDonald, Douglas Weaver, Sergeant Karl Lounge Jr., and fallen Sergeant Thomas Baitinger, St. Petersburg Police Department, Fla.; and fallen Deputies William Stiltner and Cameron Justus, Buchanan County Sheriff's Office, Va.

A total of 78 medals have been presented since the first recipients were honored in 2003.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe

Free Whitepaper

Stand Your Ground: A Guide to Slip Resistance in Industrial Safety Footwear

This white paper helps to clarify this complexity, so you can better navigate the standards and better ensure the safety of your employees.

Download Now →

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November/December 2019


      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue