APD recognizes officers with Medal of Valor awards
In honor of Police Memorial Day on May 9, Anchorage Police Department recognized three of its officers with a medal of valor award.
The awarded recognizes an exceptionally courageous act where officers had prior knowledge of the physical risks and dangers involved.
Officers Matthew Barth, Officer Jonathan E. Butler and Officer Eric Christian were recipients for this year’s award due to their actions on August 24, 2013, when a small aircraft crashed at Merrill Field Airport.
The crash was catastrophic; the aircraft impacted the ground nose first, crushing the engine compartment and bending the fuselage in half.
Officers Barth, Butler and Christian were the first officers on scene. Joining them was civilian John Lameroux, who had been in the area, witnessed the crash and jumped a fence to assist.
It was immediately apparent that there were two persons on board, trapped from the wreckage and suffering from the smoke spilling into the passenger compartment from a fire in the engine compartment.
The three officers and Lameroux ran to the burning aircraft, fully aware that it could explode at any moment.
While Lameroux administered the fire extinguisher, Barth, Butler, and Christian worked to extricate the two occupants from the aircraft, pulled them away from wreckage and performed life-saving efforts until the arrival of fire department personnel.
According to APD, the officers and civilian responding to this crash endured choking smoke, escalating fire threat, and fire extinguishing agents while freeing the aircraft occupants.
“Tragically, neither of the occupants survived, but the officers’ and civilian’s efforts as they worked together to rescue citizens from a highly dynamic and dangerous event reflected great courage and bravery,” Anchorage Police Department said.