22 Receive Medals of Valor

From PoliceOne.com

WASHINGTON — Police officers and firefighters who helped save lives in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were honored with the Medal of Valor in a White House ceremony Wednesday.

Vice President Joe Biden draped the purple and yellow striped ribbons around the necks of 20 public safety officers, and presented medals to the families of two officers killed while responding to armed robberies. The two were off-duty at the time.

"You're a rare breed," Biden said. "You're all crazy. We love you for it. We need you. You are the best thing we have going for us."

Two people were dead on the ground outside the Sikh Temple in August 2012 when Lt. Brian Murphy and Officer Savan Lenda of the Oak Creek Police Department arrived on scene.

The suspected gunman was fleeing. Murphy pulled his gun, but the suspect fired first, hitting Murphy in his throat, legs and hand. When Lenda arrived on the scene and shot the suspect, the shooter crawled out of view and killed himself.

Lenda sent fellow officers to help Murphy, but the lieutenant waved them away and insisted they help those still inside the temple. The White House said the two officers' actions helped save the lives of many.

Boston and the surrounding area were in a state of panic in April 2013 because the suspects in the marathon bombing remained at large. The fateful night when Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev carjacked a vehicle before a dramatic confrontation with police is well known.

Less well known were the contributions of seven officers and firefighters from Watertown, Massachusetts, who received the medal from Biden.

Despite heavy weapon gunfire and reports the brothers were throwing explosives, officers and firefighters who responded helped protect the lives of those in uniform, the White House said. Tamerlan died as a result of the incident; Dzhokhar was apprehended 20 hours later.

Attorney General Eric Holder said this year's medals were particularly poignant at a moment when the country is grappling with "deep challenges" in the relationship between law enforcement and their communities.

"Beyond these honors, America owes you a debt that must be repaid not just with words but with actions," Holder said.

The Medal of Valor is the nation's highest honor for public safety officers who risk their own safety to save or protect others. This year's ceremony honored individuals who committed acts of valor between 2011 and 2013. A total of 95 medals have been handed out since Congress created the award in 2001.

Also receiving the medal:

—Five special agents from the FBI's Alabama-based hostage rescue team, who rescued a 5-year-old abducted from a school bus in 2013.

—Sgt. Daniel Hutchinson, Weber County, Utah, who was shot three times but still rescued two fellow sheriff's deputies in a shooting.

—Officer Michael Keith, Knoxville, Tennessee, who used his shirt to beat back flames from a car, then pulled a state trooper to safety just before the vehicle exploded.

—Former Fire Chief John Curly, Bellmore, New York, who broke a burning building's window with his bare hands to rescue an unconscious woman inside.

—Special Agent John Francis Capano, New York, who was killed while confronting a suspect during an attempted robbery attempt.

—Sgt. Bradley Alan Wick, Duluth, Minnesota, Police Department, who shot and killed a convicted felon after an armed robbery and car chase.

—Clifton P. Lewis, Chicago, who was off-duty when he was shot four times and killed while confronting two masked gunmen at a grocery store.

—Sgt. Michael Darrell Brown, Brevard County, Florida, who helped save a woman whose estranged boyfriend was attempting to stab her to death.

—Deputy Jenna Underwood-Nunez, Los Angeles, who was five months pregnant and off-duty when she rescued a teenager from drowning at the bottom of a muddy lake.

Stand With Cops release ahead of State of the Union

STAND WITH COPS COALITION CALLS ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PUSH BACK AGAINST    ANTI-POLICE RHETORIC AND ACTION 

COLUMBUS – President Obama is scheduled to give his State of the Union Address this evening and Ohio-based Stand with Cops is calling on the President to use his bully pulpit to denounce those targeting police with violence as well as those who fan the flames of contempt for the dangerous work done by police.

Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald said that the President has a unique opportunity. 

“The people of this country are looking to President Obama for leadership and guidance,” McDonald said. “He can choose the route chosen by Mayor De Blasio in New York or he can recognize the growing violence against police and call for calm.”

McDonald, who’s a veteran police officer and police supervisor, says he’s never seen such a dangerous level of sentiment against police.  He noted that the number of U.S. law enforcement officers killed by gunfire is up 57% over 2013 statistics.

McDonald also pointed out an anti-police class being offered at Vanderbilt University this semester.  The class, “Police Violence and Mass Incarceration” promises to provide “…collective action of… activists.”

“We can and should have a national discussion about violence in our country, but when you build the discussion with a grudge and an unproductive goal in mind – vilifying law enforcement – you’re ignoring the 58,000 officers assaulted each year,” McDonald said. “I hope that grassroots activists, policymakers, college professors, and President Obama recognize the important work that we do and stop with dangerous rhetoric against police.”

Stand with Cops is an organization dedicated to building relationships with communities in the face of a vocal minority stoking discontent. For more information visit StandWithCops.org, Facebook.com/StandWithCops or Twitter.com/StandWithCops.

 

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Why do we need to stand with cops? Because... this.

"Black Guerrilla Family gang sends armed man to ‘test security’ at Baltimore police station"
From the Washington Times

A member of the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) gang, armed with a loaded .22 caliber handgun, walked into a Baltimore police station on Tuesday in order to test its security, police said.

Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said the 29-year-old man walked into the Northeastern District station “fully armed and loaded with drugs on him,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

“An organized gang in the city of Baltimore sent an armed suspect into our building to see our security, to test our security. That is alarming to us, to me. I am going to send a message that we are not going to cower, we’re not going to back down,” Mr. Batts said.

Police said the man was enlisted by BGF to test police security for allegedly betraying the gang in the past.

“He did not go in there on his free will. This person had very little option, according to his statement, which lends credibility to what a dire situation this was,” Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.

The police commissioner is ordering security changes throughout the department. Security has also been enhanced in neighboring Baltimore County, a local NBC affiliate reported.

“The Baltimore County Police Department has received information about an incident at the Baltimore City Police Northeast District Station this morning,” Cpl. John Wachter said in a statement.

“In response to this, we have made necessary adjustments to our operations to ensure the safety of officers, professional staff and visitors at our facilities.”

Congress urged to expand hate crimes law to include law enforcement officers

From the Ohio FOP:

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, has called on Congress to expand the Federal hate crime laws to protect law enforcement officers and punish those who target these dedicated public servants.

"My thoughts and prayers over the past few weeks have been with the families of officers who were, with malice and forethought, gunned down just because they served as police officers," Canterbury said. "Enough is enough! It's time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us."