As you well know, recent years have been terribly tragic for our state’s law enforcement community, as local, state and federal police agencies across Washington have all been touched by the loss of an officer killed in the line of duty, and many others who have been seriously injured.
As Attorney General, I participate in many law enforcement events throughout the year, so I’m able to see this community from a unique perspective. I see time and again how dedicated our state’s law enforcement officers are, how much pride the people of Washington have in their police forces, and how deeply our state mourns when an officer is lost in the line of duty.
Last week, I again had the privilege of participating in Washington’s annual Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony. Each year at this event, the Medal of Honor, the highest law enforcement honor in America, is awarded to officers who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty, or have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct. Since 1855, more than 290 law enforcement officers in our state have been killed in the line of duty, and each of their names is engraved on the Law Enforcement Memorial wall.
This year we honored the following:
Recipients of the Medal of Honor for Posthumous Service
- Officer Jayme L. Biendl, Department of Corrections: Officer Biendl was killed by an inmate at the Washington State Reformatory Unit at the Monroe Correctional Complex on Jan. 29, 2011.
- Trooper Tony V. Radulescu, Washington State Patrol: Trooper Radulescu was shot and killed by the driver of a suspect vehicle during a traffic stop on Feb. 23, 2012, in Kitsap County.
Recipients of the Medal of Honor for Serious Injury
- Deputies Andrew Ejde and John Stacy, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office: Deputies Ejde and Stacy were seriously injured while responding to a suspicious acting suspect who was reportedly armed and travelling with a female juvenile at a Walmart store in January 2011. Both were in foot pursuit and continued even when being fired upon.
Recipients of the Medal of Honor for Meritorious Conduct
- Deputy Krista McDonald, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office: Deputy McDonald joined Deputies Ejde and Stacy in responding to the Walmart incident, advanced and fired upon the suspect drawing fire towards her and wounding the suspect. She continued to secure the suspect and aid the female juvenile as the suspect shot the girl and then himself.
- Corporal Christian Munoz and Officers Laura Asbell, Brian Horn and Jesse Petersen, Issaquah Police Department: The Issaquah Police Department responded to a report of a heavily armed gunman and active shooter at Clark Elementary School on Sept. 24, 2011. Corporal Munoz and Officers Asbell, Horn and Petersen actively engaged in gunfire with the shooter for roughly 12 minutes until the officers were able to stop the suspect. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
You can watch this year’s ceremony on TVW.
If you’ve never been to the Law Enforcement Memorial, I encourage you to visit it sometime when you’re in the Olympia area. It began as a vision - the dream of families and friends of our lost heroes - nearly 30 years ago. Today, it’s one of the finest memorials in our nation, a fitting tribute to our state’s law enforcement heroes who gave their lives protecting and serving our communities.
Meanwhile, more information about the Medal of Honor and our honored heroes is always available on our website. If you’ve ever considered attending the ceremony, I encourage you to keep it in mind next year as you make your Spring plans. It’s is a beautiful ceremony, open to the public, and held in May at the site of the Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol grounds in Olympia. The date is announced on our website a few months in advance, so stay tuned. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!