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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 03, 2007
Medal of Honor recipients honored Friday

OLYMPIA - Attorney General Rob McKenna will keynote this year’s Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony on Friday, honoring four fallen officers and two who were seriously injured in the line of duty.

"As the son of a law enforcement officer, this ceremony holds special meaning to me,” McKenna said. “I encourage the public to join me in honoring these heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. I also invite you to join me in recognizing and thanking officers across our state who, at great risk and peril, continue to protect those they serve. We also honor these officers’ families, who sacrifice so much for the safety of our communities."

McKenna will posthumously honor the following law enforcement officers with Washington State’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, this state’s highest award:

Officer Edwanton Allen Thomas, Brier Police Department - On Sept. 12, 2006, Officer Eddy Thomas died during a struggle while responding to assist paramedics in securing the scene of a known combative subject so that paramedics could enter the residence and treat the subject. 

Deputy Steven E. Cox, King County Sheriff’s Office - On Dec. 2, 2006, Deputy Cox was shot while responding to a disturbance call in White Center.

Deputy Ronald R. Rhodes, Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office - On March 14, 1959, Deputy Rhodes was killed while riding in a patrol car responding to a report of a negligent driver near Easton, when the  patrol car struck the back of a slow moving truck. 

Officer Joselito Barber, Seattle Police Department – On August 13, 2006, Officer Joselito Barber was killed when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed.

McKenna will also honor two officers for serious injury:

Officer Lawrence C. Strauss, Renton Police Department – On January 8, 2006, Officer Strauss was shot in the neck by an armed suspect.

Trooper Kelly A. Kalmbach, Washington State Patrol - On June 28, 2006, Trooper Kalmbach was shot during a traffic stop of a male driver suspected of driving under the influence.  

When: 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2007
Where:  Law Enforcement Memorial Site, Olympia, WA
Additional information: The ceremony is open to the public with a catered reception for all who attend.

Since 1855, more than 280 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in the state of Washington.

In 1994, the Washington Legislature passed RCW 41.72 establishing the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor.  This honor is reserved for those law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty or have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.

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Contact:       
Gary Fox, AGO Criminal Justice Division Investigator, (206) 389-2554  
Maureen Scharber, AG Public Affairs, (360) 753-6224

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