The Chattanooga police officers who first responded to the Naval Reserve Center on July 16 are being recognized nationally for their bravery.
Officer Lucas Timmons, Officer Keven Flanagan, Officer Jeff Lancaster, Officer Sean O’Brien, Officer Grover Wilson and Officer Dennis Pedigo, who was shot in the attack, have been chosen to receive a TOP COPS Award.
The National Association of Police Organizations launched the awards program in 1994 to pay tribute to outstanding law enforcement officers across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty. The program requires that officers be nominated by their fellow officers.
The six Chattanooga officers were nominated by Officer Lorin Johnston, a 2012 recipient of the TOP COPS Award. Johnston was selected as one of ten winners nationwide for his bravery on April 2, 2011 when a Sgt. Tim Chapin was shot and killed in a botched robbery. Johnston was also wounded in the attack.
Channel 3 also visited the White House with Johnston where President Barack Obama recognized the 2012 winners and their families.
“All of these officers are good men,” Johnston told Channel 3. “They saved a lot of lives that day.”
The TOP COPS Award Selection Committee chooses one TOP COPS case from each state and then ranks the top ten cases. The winners from the top ten cases are then flown to Washington, DC for an awards ceremony. The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“This is obviously a tremendous honor," Chief Fred Fletcher told Channel 3, who went on say his officers are his heroes.
"Police officers across the United States engage in everyday and remarkable heroics all across the country and to be recognized as one group of individuals in one town among all of that outstanding work is tremendously rewarding and satisfying as a police department. I know the individuals involved are very honored to be recognized."
"The officers of the Chattanooga Police Department are my heroes," Fletcher added. "The men being honored today would be the first to tell you that they don’t think they are any more heroic than their brothers and sisters with whom they work with everyday and also responded to this exact same incident. But let’s be clear, these officers being honored risked their lives, as officers do day in and day out across this country, and they are my heroes, they are heroes to the Chattanooga community and they are clearly heroes across the country as being recognized in this prestigious award."
UPDATE ON WOUNDED OFFICER
Officer Dennis Pedigo, who was wounded on July 16 continues to recover. Police Chief Fred Fletcher offered an update on his recovery Tuesday.
"Officer Pedigo is recovering from a second round of surgeries resulting from the very, very debilitating wounds he received on July 16," said Fletcher.
"He is a very strong man with a tremendously strong support system both from his family and from his police family. He is in good spirits and he is determined to make a full recovery and get back to protecting the community that he and his partners care very deeply for."