Brandon Guerrero, Staff Writer

On Monday, May 16, thirteen law enforcement officers were handed the Medal of Valor by president Barack Obama. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award given only to law enforcement officers who have put their lives on the line and showed exceptional acts of courage.


“I know police officers sometimes get a bad name because of the few bad ones that are out there,” Jose Alvarez, 12, said, “but I think most police officers do good. This ceremony proves just how awesome they are.”


The Medal of Valor is equivalent to the military’s Medal of Honor. Being awarded one is no easy task and a huge accomplishment. Officer Mario Gutierrez was among the thirteen officers who were acknowledged for their bravery. Gutierrez came face to face with an assailant who was attempting to cause a massive gas explosion at a gas station. He was stabbed multiple times in the process, but continued to subdue the assailant’s plans while being inflicted by multiple injuries.


“I don’t know if I would have the courage to do what these officers did,” Jeremy Barnett, 12, said. “It’s a lot easier to run away from danger than it is to run towards it.”


Some of the other heroic acts that the other 12 officers did despite their personal safety include: chasing and apprehending a gunman in a hospital, saving students and staff lives during a school shooting in Santa Monica College, resolving a dangerous hostage situation with a two year old girl at knife point, and pulling an unconscious man to safety from a car engulfed in flames. These are just some of the heroic acts from: Patrolman Louis Cioci, Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparksa, Captain Raymond Bottenfield, Major David Huff, Officer Donald Thompson, Officer Coral Walker, Officer Gregory Stevens, Fallen Sergeant Robert Wilson III, Officer Niel Johnson, Special Agent Tyler Call, and Deputy Joey Tortorella.


“The fact that the Medal of Valor is equivalent to the military’s Medal of Honor really speaks volumes,” Elani Vengas, 12, said. “This is such a prestigious award, and they all deserve it.”


The valor of these public safety officers were definitely demonstrated in the courageous acts they displayed. Although it is their job to maintain peace, and protect citizens, these officers went above and beyond to put aside their own personal safety for the safety of others.