What is it? The Medal of Valor is the highest
honor for public safety officers in the state. The California
Legislature established the award on Jan. 1, 2003.
Who gets it? Since it started, 45 public safety
officers have received the award for acts significantly above and
beyond the call of duty.
Who received it this year? Besides Lodi
Detective Eric Bradley, nine other officers also received the
award. Below is a brief explanation from the governor’s news
release on why they were selected:
California Highway Patrol Officers Rodney Richards and
The officers responded to a commercial vehicle accident in
September 2009 where a tractor-trailer rig was engulfed in
The driver was on fire and stuck in the wreckage.
The officers battled the flames with the help of some motorists
who stopped. The officers finally opened the truck and freed the
driver. Then, Smith used his bare hands to extinguish the flames on
the driver’s clothes.
The driver suffered burns on 30 percent of his body and went to
the hospital. Both of the officers were also treated for severe
smoke inhalation, and Smith had minor burns on his hands.
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman
At a vehicle accident in August 2009, a car was engulfed in
flames that reached 20 feet in the air.
Allman reached into the burning vehicle to get out the driver.
He successfully got out the driver, but suffered second-degree
burns on his hands and arms.
He then assisted others in moving the driver away from the
truck. The driver eventually died from his injuries
Placer County Sheriff Department Deputy Ken
A man who said a woman was stuck in her home approached Skogen
during an evacuation of a residential neighborhood.
Skogen went to the house, which was engulfed in flames, and saw
a confused elderly woman standing with her walker in the home.
Skogen broke a window and asked the woman to come out. The
window was too high for him to reach and pull her out, so he ran to
the back door and kicked it open. He pried the woman’s hands from
the walker and carried her from the burning house to safety down
San Mateo Police Department Capt. Kevin Raffaelli and
Officers Rick Apecechea, Jeff Dellinges and Robert
The officers went to a high school in August 2009 where there
were reports of shots fired and possible explosions.
School staff were holding a teenager on the ground when
Apecechea arrived. He tried to handcuff the suspect when he
realized the teen had a tactical vest with 10 pipe bombs.
He ordered school staff to run away and was able to hold down
and handcuff the male when the other three officers arrived to help
subdue the teen.
Raffaelli grabbed the teen and ordered the other three officers
to back away in case the bombs exploded.
All three remained by his side as Raffaelli cut off the tactical
vest with the bombs. In a follow-up investigation, it was
discovered that all the bombs were live and could have caused
Susanville Officer Kelley Merritt
Officers from multiple agencies were investigating a suspected
marijuana garden in a remote area in June 2009. Officers discovered
a large marijuana plot and three males who were living near the
As the officers approached, two of the growers complied, while
another suspect in a tent began firing an AK-47.
Two officers were struck. One received a flesh wound, while
Lassen County Sheriff’s Sergeant David Martin had injuries to his
right hand, forearm and shoulder.
As the gunfire continued, Merritt ran to Martin and shielded him
from gunfire while applying life-saving first aid.
He cleaned and bandaged the wounds, and was able to move Martin
to a location where he could be air-lifted out.