Ceremony Recognizes Police Injured in the Line of Duty
Shield awards given out
ANCHORAGE - They've been called the thin blue line.
Police officers stand between innocent citizens and those who want to harm them.
The Anchorage Police Department has had terrible publicity recently, notably the conviction of a serial rapist within its ranks. But a ceremony today recognizing officers injured on duty was all about highlighting the risks they accept every day.
Eight officers were recognized today, one of them posthumously.
The keynote speaker said the community should strive for a heightened awareness of the dangers police face and the willingness of officers to sustain life-changing injuries in order to protect the public.
"Officers are not drafted but instead choose to put themselves in situations requiring immediate decisions that can have devastating consequences,” said Deputy Chief Steve Hebbe.
The Police Shield Award is given to Anchorage officers who have been seriously injured on-duty
Among today's honorees: officers who were shot, assaulted or forced into vehicle collisions.
At least a few face physical impairment and pain for the remainder of their lives.
Said Mayor Dan Sullivan: "Despite their injuries, some are still out there in our community, serving our neighborhoods, on our streets, representing the Anchorage Police Department and protecting the safety of our community."
The keynote speaker, Thomas Katkus, a former APD officer who is now the commissioner of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said police should enjoy the same public recognition as members of the armed forces.
"I think it's critical that our communities kind of readjust, re-tune to that sense, and actually get out and take the opportunity to thank their first responders, to shake your hand and to say thank you for what you're doing, to acknowledge the fact that it is your work, your effort that makes our community a great place to live."
One of the honorees, Officer Randy Hughes, continued to receive medical treatment this week for injuries from last September, when a reckless driver crashed into his patrol car on the Glenn Highway.
Hughes said, "It's very meaningful, especially for the other officers prior to us, you know, to survive what they've gone through, it gives me more inspiration to know that I can overcome this."
Injured but not defeated, they have continued to serve.
For the web extra video of the ceremony, click here.