Several Harvey County law enforcement agencies were recognized at the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police's annual Valor Awards Banquet on May 10.
Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, Harvey County Sheriff's Department Investigator Robert Guest and Officer Stan Kurtz of the Newton Police Department, who was employed by the Harvey County Sheriff's Department at the time, were each presented with a Gold Award for their actions during an active shooter incident on Feb. 25, 2016.
"It's nice when somebody outside of our agency recognizes the effort those guys put in," said Harvey County Sheriff Chad Gay.
The Valor Banquet honors men and women of the criminal justice community, who, during the previous year, performed acts of exceptional merit, distinguished service, conspicuous bravery, uncommon valor or paid the ultimate sacrifice, according to KACP Executive Director Jennifer Duffy.
This was the 38th annual awards program of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, which drew around 500 attendees.
Every Kansas law enforcement administrator was invited to nominate employees for recognition on the basis of their performance in 2016.
Multiple Harvey County law enforcement agencies responded when an individual shot and killed three people at Excel Industries in Hesston.
"You never know how you're going to react in those situations, but those guys reacted how we expected them to and how the community expected them to," Gay said.
Several law enforcement officers responded to the shooting by using their personal vehicles to reach the scene quickly.
"That's why they're law enforcement, because of how they reacted to that," Gay said. "They're a pretty exceptional group of people. It's cool for me to be able to work with these guys now."
Gold Unit Citations for Heroism were given to the Hesston Police Department, North Newton Police Department, Halstead Police Department, Burrton Police Department, Newton Police Department and Harvey County Sheriff's Department.
"They received their unit citations for their assistance for the Hesston shooting," Duffy said.
Officer Morgan Hinz of the Newton Police Department was also presented with a Silver Award for her life saving actions in preventing the choking death of an infant.
Corporal Brandon Huntley of the Harvey County Sheriff's Department received the Silver Award for giving life saving medical aid to an individual wounded during the Feb. 25 incident.
Nominated by the Wichita Police Department for his efforts in furthering multi-agency investigations into multiple organized crime and drug cases, resulting in numerous arrests and significant seizures of drugs and cash, Detective Mitch Nedrow of the Newton Police Department received a Bronze Award.
From the 195 nominations, 56 individuals were selected for special recognition, Duffy noted.
"It is a humbling experience to sit and read through the many heroic acts accomplished by our men and women in blue," Duffy said. "Our communities owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these men and women who consistently place their own well-being aside and step in front of danger to protect our citizens. In an age when many overlook the sacrifices made, it is important that we, as an organization and state, step forward and honor these acts of valor."