By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of Philadelphia police officers were recognized for valor, bravery, and heroism today, at an awards ceremony the police department holds every two years.

The ceremony highlights the danger that officers face on the job.

“On November 20th, you and your partner were inbound to Northwest Detectives when you heard the sound of gunfire,” began one commendation.

The awards ceremony featured story after story of officers suddenly confronted by gunfire and heavy weapons, often turned on them.

“The armed assailant turned his attention on you and started firing…”

The commendations cite courage without regard for personal safety.  Six civilians were also cited for stopping robberies and helping police capture suspects.

Philadelphia managing director Rich Negrin, in remarks, thanked the officers and their families, saying their sacrifice is making a difference.  He noted that many of the suspects had automatic weapons with high capacity clips:

“Our police officers are struggling not to be outgunned in the city of Philadelphia. That’s why this gun conversation is so important. That’s why the assault weapons ban is so important. You’re seeing it play out in these stories being described today. Many of these officers narrowly escaped being injured or even killed.”

And what’s it like to have somebody point a gun at you?

“I guess scary.  Scary, you could say,” says Officer Eugene Donahoo, who was among those commended for valor.  An Iraq War veteran, he’d been shot at before, but he says the violence in Philadelphia is in some ways more troubling.

“Over there they think they’re fighting for something,” Donahoo said today.  “Here they fight for a street corner and drugs and… nothing, really.”

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