OLYMPIA - Attorney General Rob McKenna and Gov. Chris Gregoire will honor two law enforcement officers at this year’s Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony on Friday, May 2.
"No event brings a community closer together than the loss of a law enforcement officer--particularly when an officer dies in the line of duty," McKenna said. "It is impossible to put into words the emotions that these losses bring. There is so much grief, sorrow and heartbreak to be shared."
What: Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Ceremony
When: 1 p.m. on Friday, May 2
Where: Law Enforcement Memorial on Capitol Campus in Olympia
The ceremony is open to the public and includes a catered reception for all in attendance.
Gregoire and McKenna will present the Medal of Honor to two officers this year:
Deputy Michael O. Estes, Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office. Estes’ car was broadsided by a truck while crossing a highway in response to a 911 call on Feb. 6, 2007. He died of his injuries on Feb. 14, 2007. Estes was commissioned on July 15, 2005.
Officer Gary Shilley, Puyallup Police Department. In the early morning hours of March 25, 2006, Shilley came upon what appeared to be a disabled vehicle at the South Hill Mall in Puyallup. Shilley contacted the driver of the car in an attempt to assist him. When Shilley asked the driver for his license and registration, the driver pulled out a handgun and fired two rounds, one of which hit Shilley in the left cheek and lodged in his neck, narrowly missing his spine.
Despite serious injury, Shilley notified dispatch he needed help and gave a description and direction of travel of the suspect, greatly assisting in the capture of the suspect.
Shilley’s assailant was convicted of attempted first degree murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Shilley, who has been employed as an officer with the Puyallup Police Department since July 8, 1991, returned to duty on June 12, 2007. He is now a Canine Patrol Officer.
"While our ceremony personally honors these two men, their medals are a symbol of gratitude and pride in law enforcement that extends far beyond the Memorial Wall, " McKenna said. "These medals also symbolize our pride in every one of the fellow officers who continue to answer their fallen comrades’ call to duty and our gratitude to the families of our officers--the unsung heroes behind the badge whose support and sacrifices too often go unnoticed and unappreciated."
Since 1855, more than 280 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in the state of Washington.
The Washington Legislature established the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor in 1994. This honor is reserved for those police officers who have been killed in the line of duty or have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.
Gary Fox, AGO Criminal Justice Division Investigator, (206) 389-2554
Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725