RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Life-saving action. High-stakes shoot-outs. These are the situations highlighted at Thursday’s 52nd Annual Awards for Valor, where police leadership recognize their officers.
They also paid tribute to officers who, in the past year, paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Emceed by FOX4 Anchor Nick Vasos, he had a lot to read, highlighting dozens of moments where direct action from police saved lives.
Hosted by the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, officers also paid tribute to KCPD Officer James Muhlbauer, killed February 15, as well as Fairway Police Officer Jonah Oswald, who died after getting shot on August 6.
“Well there’s no linear process to grieving. It comes and goes,” Paula Oswald, Jonah’s mother, said.
“I really appreciate it when people tell me stories. They may feel like ‘Oh, maybe she doesn’t want to hear this.’ Or ‘It’s too painful.’ But no. It’s great to hear that left an impression of and persistance with people,” Paula Oswald said.
Plenty of other positive stories featured officer in the room, either talking people out of suicide or showing bravery under fire of automatic weapons.
On April 5 at 18th Street and Wood Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, officers faced automatic gunfire from accused fentanyl dealers, peppering police vehicles with bullets.
A group of nine officers received special recognition and three of them were named “Officer of the Year.”
In that situation, several bullets hit Sgt. Glenn Carter in the neck and arm. He managed to continue giving commands as he returned fire.
FOX4 asked him about receiving the award.
“Yeah, it’s pretty good. It was totally unexpected. It’s great to know that there’s committees and people out there that really appreciate what we do,” Carter said.
“Being with my teammates, you know, it’s a good day but I’m just kind of speechless. I just don’t know really what to say,” Ofc. Chris Blake, also named “Officer of the Year,” said.
A shot grazed Blake on the side of the head yet he was able to return fire through his windshield. The combine actions of their group earned a standing ovation in a room of their peers.
“Anything you deal with that’s traumatic is going to affect you mentally and physically. In this particular case there was some residual,” Carter said.
“Me just celebrating a birthday. You know, may not have been here for it if things go the other way. So we reflect a lot. Thank God for these guys being there and here I stand,” Carter said.
Oswald’s mother also said she has received a lot of love and support from her pickleball community out in Lenexa, helping her process her grief.
“There was a young woman who came up to me – her husband and my son were in the same army reserve unit. And she said he was deployed and when he heard about it he called her – and she said he was crying. Crying on the phone. And just said he loved my son so much. The thing is that all the amazing stories that come out about what an effect he had on people’s lives. I didn’t really know,” Paula Oswald said.