Tuesday, November 23, 2010

KCPD officers recognized at Awards for Valor

The 39th Annual Awards for Valor banquet took place Friday at the Argosy in Riverside, Mo. This award ceremony is presented by the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association (MCSA) and honors some of the bravest officers in the Kansas City metro area. Nine KCPD officers received awards this year. You may have heard some of their stories before, like the officers who were shot at in south Kansas City last fall, Dean McGinness and Eric Turner. They got a Gold Award for Valor - the highest honor.

Others you may not have heard about, like Officer Chad Pickens, who also received a Gold Award for Valor. He's pictured here with MCSA President Chief John Meier of the Leawood Police Department and Chief Mike Hasty of the Gladstone Department of Public Safety. Here's what Officer Pickens did:

A call from work made Officer Chad Pickens leave the movie he was watching with his family at the Ameristar Casino on August 15, 2008. As he was leaving to go to his car, he encountered a fight in the parking lot. He saw one man get knocked unconscious, and then a woman pulled a gun out of her purse and fired it into the air. She then handed it to another man, who began to chase other men in the parking lot, firing it at them as he ran.

Officer Pickens was in plain clothes and had no bullet-resistant vest, but he realized the danger of the situation and how innocent people at the movies or casino could get hurt. He took cover behind a car, pulled his off-duty weapon and identified himself as a police officer. He engaged the man who was firing shots. That man then turned on him and fired. Officer Pickens returned fire from behind the car. The suspect then dropped his weapon, and Officer Pickens single-handedly took him into custody. No one was hurt during the incident.

There were many similar stories of amazing bravery from officers on both sides of the state line, and I thank them for their courage and congratulate them on their awards.

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