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Cienna Chamalbide and her brother, Christian, look at the Medal of Valor awarded to their father, Fresno Police Officer Sgt. Jererdo Chamalbide, during ceremonies held in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 16. (AP Photo)Imperial Valley News
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, California's highest public safety award, to six law enforcement officers for their outstanding commitment to the people of California.
The award was given to Officer John Anderson and Officer Brian Shadle of the Fremont Police Department, Sergeant Jererdo "Charlie" Chamalbide of the Fresno Police Department, Officer Kelley Walker and Officer Aaron Taylor of California Highway Patrol, Bakersfield, and Deputy Todd Carver of the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
"These six officers are the best and bravest California has to offer and we honor them today for going above and beyond in answering the call of duty," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "These individuals personify what it means to be a hero - and we thank them for their service, their courage and for dedicating their lives to protecting the lives of those in their communities."
The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act, effective January 1, 2003, authorizes the Governor to award a Medal of Valor to one or more public safety officers who are cited by the Attorney General for extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. The Medal of Valor is the highest state award to a public safety officer. The Attorney General's Office receives nominations from public safety agencies which are then reviewed by the Medal of Valor Review Board which makes a recommendation to the Attorney General.
Today's award recipients were unanimously recommended to the Attorney General by the Medal of Valor Review Board and recommended by the Attorney General to the Governor.
"It is a privilege to stand in the company of such brave individuals," said Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. "They embody in their lives the courageous spirit of California that has always made this state great."
The following individuals are being awarded with the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor:
Officer John Anderson & Officer Brian Shadle, Fremont Police Department - On November 1, 2007, Officers John Anderson and Brian Shadle were on a traffic stop when a citizen approached and advised them of an apartment complex fire. The officers ran into the building and found a second-story apartment engulfed in flames. Told a person may be trapped inside, the officers radioed for assistance and then chose to attempt a rescue. Upon forcing open a locked apartment door they were faced with high heat, flames and smoke. The officers crawled in just a few feet, without fire gear, before being forced out. They quickly regrouped and re-entered, finding a 40-year-old female victim inside - who they brought to safety. Due to their efforts, the victim survived.
Sergeant Jererdo "Charlie" Chamalbide, Fresno Police Department - On February 20, 2007, the City of Fresno was hosting a festival when a suspect drove the wrong way down a city street. An officer attempted to engage the suspect when shots were fired, hitting the first officer and an innocent bystander. Another motor officer took a round in the bicep and Sgt. Chamalbide took a grazing round to the head. Even after being injured, Sgt. Chamalbide remained in pursuit and eventually rammed the rear of the suspect's vehicle. Despite the damage, Sgt. Chamalbide was able to exit his vehicle and confront the suspect. When the suspect refused to show his hands or obey commands, officers were forced to fire rounds at the suspect resulting in fatal injuries. It was later determined that the suspect fired at least 40 rounds at officers during the event.
Officer Kelley Walker & Officer Aaron Taylor, California Highway Patrol, Bakersfield - On November 3, 2007, Officers Kelley Walker and Aaron Taylor responded to a traffic accident involving a rollover vehicle that was on fire, with a passenger trapped inside. Upon arrival, the officers saw two citizens attempting to extract the victim. The officers quickly assessed the situation and while small explosions began to occur around the vehicle, they entered the burning vehicle to save the victim. The victims clothing, possibly saturated by fuel, kept reigniting causing complications for rendering aide. After moving the victim a safe distance from the vehicle and ensuring his vitals were stable, the officers also assist other passengers involved in the accident.
Deputy Todd Carver, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office - On June 5, 2007, Deputy Todd Carver responded to a report of shots fired. The suspect, who was heavily armed, shot and killed his father, injured three deputies and a sheriff's K-9. Deputy Carver came face to face with the suspect moments after the suspect shot the three deputies. Deputy Carver gave the suspect a verbal command to surrender, after which the suspect fired a shot at Carver, narrowly missing him. Deputy Carver returned fire, stopping the suspect from injuring or killing more innocent people.