PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than 40 Philadelphia police officers received special awards for their actions – on and off-duty – at a Commendation Ceremony Wednesday that included honors for valor, bravery and heroism.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross was delighted to showcase what he calls the “best, brightest and the bravest” in the department.
“You’re getting the highest awards that we bestow upon police officers,” Ross said.
One officer, while off-duty, ran repeatedly into a raging house fire to look for occupants, others used C-P-R, or defibrillators, applied tourniquets or administered an anti-opioid drug, or dove into rivers to save people. Still, more used their smarts in tactical de-escalation maneuvers to prevent agitated people from committing violence against others or themselves.
Officer Jesse Hartnett, who was shot three times, ambushed in his patrol car at 60th and Spruce Streets by a gunman who later said he acted in the name of Islam, received the Valor Award for returning fire and wounding his attacker.
“I have another surgery coming up at the end of the month,” Hartnett said. “It’s coming along.”
He appreciates the award, but Hartnett is also was quick to mention plenty of other officers.
“Especially a lot of officers go unrecognized for the job that they do every day,” he said.
He got emotional when asked about the Valor Award being renamed for Sgt. Robert Wilson III, who died in 2015 during a robbery in North Philadelphia.
“It just puts chills through your body even thinking about it now,” Hartnett said, “how heroic and how strong of a person he was.”
During the Phillies home opener last season, Hartnett threw out the first pitch and proposed on the field. A week ago, another gift arrived.
“We just had a baby girl on [December 1],” Hartnett said. “She gave birth to Emma Grace.”