Spokane police officers honored at banquet

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane police officers who've gone above and beyond the call of duty were honored Thursday night for their bravery, professionalism and commitment to the community.

More than 30 officers, detectives and other department employees were honored during an annual award ceremony at Spokane City Hall.

Officers received awards for saving lives, catching criminals, being an exemplary employee and community member.

Spokane police officers honored at banquet

Sgt. Steve Braun was honored for preventing a suicidal man from jumping off the Maple Street Bridge.  Officer Paul Carpenter received the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of a man who was hit by a car.

Detective Tim Madsen received a Silver Star Award for helping track down Charlie Wallace, the man who shot two Spokane County Sheriff deputies last summer.

Madsen pursued Wallace for several miles, at one point Wallace fire shots at him.

"Tonight is a celebration of their commitment, their dedication, their professionalism," Police Chief Frank Straub said.

"If it wasn't for our significant others, if it wasn't for our parents, if it wasn't for our children we wouldn't be able to go and do the jobs that we do," he added.

The entire Major Crimes Unit was also recognized for its work during 2012.  Straub said the unit investigated an unprecedented number of cases; 14 murders and 9 vehicular homicide last year alone.

Cpl. Kevin Keller was honored as employee of the year.

Mayor David Condon addressed the officers during the two hour ceremony, acknowledging it has been a tough year for the department.  Condon  also praised the officers actions, saying they are the "backbone" of the community.

"It is through your commitment, your direct service that we've been able to enhance the quality of life," Condon said.

"It's a people business folks. And it is the officers on the street that do make the difference. We can have the best equipment, my plan is to have that for you.  We can have the best vehicles, we can have the best computers, best software but it falls short if we don't have the best people.  And tonight we recognize you and so many others, best people using those tools so we can provide that quality of life in our community that so many expect and you do provide that for them," Condon added.