Sheriff’s office distributes awards

Posted 5/19/11

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office celebrated its annual awards ceremony, distributing awards and scholarships to local residents and …

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Sheriff’s office distributes awards


The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office celebrated its annual awards ceremony, distributing awards and scholarships to local residents and law-enforcement officials.

The ceremony honored students selected as this year’s recipients of the sheriff’s office scholarships, sheriff’s office deputies who went beyond the call of duty and more than 20 SWAT members who responded to the shooting of a Limon police officer.

The May 17 ceremony was at the Douglas County Events Center, where Sheriff David Weaver and his command staff distributed more than 50 awards and scholarships.

Scholarships, valued at $500 each, went to area students including: Greta Skelton, who received the County Sheriff’s of Colorado Scholarship; Kara Leachman, Yu Edwar Chen, Ashley Van Bruwaene, Victoria Robinson, Kailin D. Dunn, Preston Rich, Victoria Amiot, Natalie Eidson and Nicole Grimm, who received the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Scholarship; Nick Knappe, who received the Race-A-Cop Scholarship; and Cameron Lindemann, who received the Deputy Ron King Memorial Scholarship.

Citizen Lifesaving Awards went to Lee Harrison, Christine Gerherds and Deborah Hileman, who came to the aid of a crash victim by administering CPR before paramedics arrived. Dispatcher Craig Cummings received a Lifesaving Award for helping a man who collapsed March 12 at a racing event.

The night’s highest honors went to five men who responded to a March 9 call from the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office, which requested the aid of the Douglas County SWAT team in response to a hostage situation in Limon. Officers en route were aware a Limon police officer had been killed and two other officers taken hostage in a trailer home, said Lt. Thomas Barrella, who described the response of the Douglas County SWAT team.

“Any time a SWAT member is called out there are numerous scenarios running through their mind,” Barrella said. “But when it involves the death of a fellow officer and the rescue of other officers it elevates the level of stress even more.”

Barrella distributed Medals of Valor to five SWAT officers for their part in the Limon response. The Medal of Valor goes to employees who have risked their lives in the line of duty or performed under life-threatening conditions, while protecting the lives of others, according to the sheriff’s office. The Medal of Valor is the highest award the sheriff’s office presents.

Deputies Joel White and Cesar Madrigal received the Medal of Valor as members of the SWAT bomb team. During the Limon response, White and Madrigal placed a bomb on the exterior of the trailer home where the suspect was holding the Limon police officers hostage, paving the way for entry into the home, Barrella said.

“When you consider the fact the suspect had already killed one officer, knew other officers were on scene and more had arrived, and now they are making noise, giving away their position where a bullet could be fired and easily pierce the mobile home and strike them, it shows their commitment to rescue their brothers in blue,” Barrella said.

Medals of Valor also went to detectives Mike Dieck, Jeff Engel and Larry Peterson, who eventually entered the house and rescued the surviving Limon officers.

“One part I left out was that two of them removed most of their essential gear so they could fit in the small space and move quickly,” Barrella said.

The sheriff’s office recognized the efforts of the remaining SWAT team members, distributing 19 Meritorious Conduct awards to the responding SWAT team. The Meritorious Conduct Award is given to members whose conduct or performance is brave, exemplary or poses a significant risk of personal injury.

To read the text of Barrella’s speech, which includes a description of events in Limon, visit our website at


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