WASHINGTON- Two New York Police Department officers ambushed and killed in response to a 911 call and the rookie cop who shot the shooter are among those to be honored by President Joe Biden with the Medal of Valor on Wednesday, the nation’s highest honor for bravery by a public safety officer.
The three NYPD officers, a Houston police officer, a Colorado police officer, the Ohio sheriff’s deputy and three FDNY firefighters are the nine who will receive medals at a ceremony at the White House ahead of Biden’s departure for Japan and the Group of Seven summit.
NYPD officer Wilbert Mora and his police partner Jason Rivera were shot on January 21, 2022, while responding to a call about a domestic dispute at a Harlem apartment. Officer Sumit Sulan shot and killed the shooter, ending the fatal encounter moments after it began. Rivera died that night, Mora was pronounced dead four days later.
The fallen cops were no strangers to tensions between the NYPD and some of the communities they police; they had both seen him grow up. Both sought to be catalysts for change when they became police officers, but neither got the chance they deserved, shot dead in a series of 2022 police shootings in the city.
Biden, who recently announced he would seek re-election, spoke about the need to reform the way police interact with communities, following the murder of George Floyd and the deaths of other black people at the hands of the police. But he also says law enforcement needs better funding and tools to do a very stressful job that is only getting worse, especially after the pandemic.
“We know that police officers put their lives on the line every day and we ask them to do too much, to be counsellors, social workers, psychologists; respond to drug overdoses, mental health crises, etc. Biden said during his State of the Union address. “We ask too much of them”
Rivera, 22, had been a police officer for barely a year. Mora, 27, was in her fourth year of work. All three were promoted to detective – the posthumously fallen officers and Sulan at a ceremony where he received Detective Shield No. 332 “symbolizing three brothers from 32 (district)”, the police commissioner of New York, Keechant Sewell, when she awarded him the Shield. .
The nation’s largest police department has approximately 35,000 officers; the second largest is Chicago with 13,000.
Biden was also honoring other acts of bravery in New York; three members of the New York Fire Department. Lt. Justin Hespeler, who rescued a newborn from a burning house, firefighter Patrick Thornton who, aboard an FDNY boat, rescued a man trapped under a capsized ship in the waters off Staten Island and retired Lt. Jason Hickey who was on the FDNY Marine Training Unit when he received a distress call from a man in the Harlem River, a fast-flowing tidal strait between the Hudson and East Rivers. . Hickey jumped out and saved the man from drowning.
The other recipients are:
– Corporal Jeffrey Farmer of the Littleton, Colorado Police Department. Farmer was responding to a call of shots possibly fired from a car window and chased the suspect to an apartment door where the man opened fire, hitting one of the officers. Farmer worked to fend off the shooter to save his fellow officer, who survived.
– Deputy Bobby Hau Pham of the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio. Pham saved a drowning woman who drove her car into a lake and was honored for her clarity of mind and composure, according to the White House.
– Sergeant Kendrick Simpo of the Houston, Texas Police Department. Simpo was working a second job at the Houston-area Galleria mall when he heard on the radio that a heavily armed man was roaming the mall. Simpo tackled the suspect who was carrying a rifle and 120 rounds. No one was hurt.
READ ALSO | NYC considering up to 20 schools with stand-alone gymnasiums for migrant housing: Mayor Adams
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