The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) recognized the heroism and bravery of dozens of law enforcement officers from across the country at its 29th annual Top Cops Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., on May 12.
Each year, members of federal, state, county, tribal and local agencies nationwide nominate their partners and colleagues for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the preceding year. From the hundreds nominated, an independent committee of national law enforcement representatives selects one case for each of the 50 states and U.S. territories, of which 10 are named Top Cops Awards winners.
Congratulations to all the 2022 honorees for their incredible service!
Phoenix Police Department Officers Alex Cowan, Logan Egnor, Cameron Prior and Antonio Rodriguez Jr. were recognized for the quick, lifesaving actions they took on January 9, 2021, when they rescued a baby boy who was being held hostage in the middle of an intersection by his own father, who was pointing a loaded pistol at his son and innocent bystanders. After carefully assessing the scene, Cowan shot the man in the head with a rifle, and Egnor rushed to rescue the boy.
On March 16, 2021, Los Angeles Police SWAT Officers Steve Hernandez, Andrew Rea and Rodney Williams responded to a local residence where an armed man had barricaded himself inside. After several hours of crisis negotiations, the man refused to come out unarmed, so SWAT officers moved in. After they deployed tear gas into the dwelling, the man opened fire, striking Williams first in the chest and then in the face. Rea pulled his injured partner to safety, while Hernandez fatally shot the gunman.
On December 10, 2021, members of the U.S. Marshals First State Fugitive Task Force brought down an armed and dangerous fugitive. Delaware State Police Detective Joshua DiGiacomo, Delaware Department of Correction Senior Probation Officer George W. Ramsburg and Milford Police Senior Corporal Timothy D. Webb Jr. arrived at a hotel in Rehoboth to apprehend the wanted man, who, when confronted in the parking lot, opened fire on the officers. A firefight ensued, and Webb was struck multiple times. DiGiacomo and Ramsburg pursued the man, who had taken off on foot, exchanging fire until he was fatally shot. DiGiacomo then applied first aid to Webb, saving his life.
Atlanta Police Officers Joshua Lovreta and Khuong Thai were honored for their heroic actions on June 30, 2021, when they responded to shots fired/person shot and officers needs assistance calls at an apartment building where a suspect had shot a man on the eighth floor. The officers were ambushed as soon as they made it to the floor, engaging in an intense, close-quarters gun battle with the suspect, who managed to strike Thai twice. Despite his injuries, Thai remained in the fight, joining Lovreta in returning fire and fatally wounding the suspect.
While patrolling one of the most crime-ridden parts of the city on August 7, 2021, Chicago Police Officers Ella French, Joshua Blas and Carlos A. Yanez Jr. pulled over a vehicle for expired plates — but the routine stop quickly turned violent when two of the three occupants, felons on probation, became uncooperative. One of them took off on foot, prompting Blas to chase after him; the other began shooting at the officers, striking French and Yanez. Blas returned fire on the shooter, who fled the scene, and rendered aid to his partners. Yanez survived his injuries, but French succumbed to her wound.
On June 4, 2021, Braintree Patrolman Matthew Donoghue and K-9 Officers Richard Seibert and William R. Cushing Jr. along with his K-9, Kitt, responded to a domestic call where a woman had been threatened by her boyfriend before he fled her apartment. Numerous officers quickly formulated a plan for the K-9 team to apprehend the suspect, who was hiding in a wooded area nearby. Kitt sensed the suspect, who opened fire on the officers. Kitt leapt into action, but was fatally shot. A gun battle ensued, during which Donoghue and Cushing were both hit. Despite their injuries, both continued to engage the suspect along with Seibert. The shooter was outgunned as these brave officers held their ground, taking him down for good.
On July 27, 2021, a carjacking suspect took Las Vegas officers and troopers on a high-speed pursuit across the Valley. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sergeant Spencer Basner and Officer Tom Cognian monitored the situation from a helicopter, while K-9 Officer Jeffrey Corbett trailed behind Nevada Highway Patrol troopers in pursuit of the suspect. Trooper Micah May was placing stop sticks on the highway to disable the suspect’s vehicle, and before May could run off the highway, the suspect drove into him and the trooper became lodged in the vehicle’s front windshield. Troopers eventually stopped the vehicle and shot the suspect. Corbett jumped into action, smashing open the passenger-side window to extract May from the vehicle, and Basner and Cognian landed their helicopter on the highway to transport the trooper to a nearby trauma center. Tragically, May did not survive his injuries and was taken off life support two days later.
New Hampshire State Police Trooper Matthew Merrill was on patrol the night of December 23, 2021, when he found himself facing off against a dangerous suspect. The incident began when the suspect failed to pull over for speeding. Merrill followed the suspect, who had pulled into a driveway and exited his vehicle. The suspect failed to heed Merrill’s commands to stop, and soon a physical confrontation ensued, during which the trooper was shot in the abdomen. Merrill returned to his cruiser, radioed dispatch and retrieved a rifle from his trunk. Meanwhile, the man began firing his rifle at the trooper. During the firefight, Merrill was struck in the foot but fought through his injuries, fatally wounding the suspect.
On September 21, 2021, Dayton Police Officer Thadeu S. Holloway arrived at a local store on a fraud complaint that a customer had passed a counterfeit bill earlier that day and had been caught on surveillance camera. Holloway located the suspect nearby, and he lunged at the officer, punching him in the face. Holloway acted quickly, immediately reaching for his Taser and using it on the suspect, who fell but pulled out a handgun and shot the officer on the side of the head. Holloway was knocked to the ground but was still able to neutralize the suspect, who survived his injuries and is awaiting trial.
Supervisory Special Agent Jenna L. Maguire and Special Agents Michael Babiarz, Adam Daniels, David Raissi and Ryan Singleton of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives brought down a known violent criminal wanted on a charge of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute on October 5, 2021, in Nashville. After conducting extensive surveillance, the team located and moved in on the suspect, who was parked across the street from the Metro Nashville P.D. headquarters. He opened fire on the agents, critically striking Daniels in the head before being fatally wounded. Special agents rushed to Daniels’ side and immediately rendered aid, saving his life.