Chief Honors 25 Officers; Distinguished Purple Heart & Medal of Valor Awards NA15184lp

September 30, 2015

WHAT: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck will present the Department’s highest honors to 25 recipients at the “Above & Beyond” Medal of Valor and Purple Heart Awards Ceremony. Actor Eric Dane, star of TNT’s “The Last Ship” as U.S. Navy Commander Tom Chandler, and known for his role as Dr. Mark Sloan on the television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” will emcee the event and vividly narrate this year’s stories of heroism.

WHEN: Thursday, October 1, 2015 11:30 a.m. Luncheon 12:15 p.m. Awards Ceremony

WHERE: The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, 5th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90028

WHO: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck Actor Eric Dane, star of TNT’s drama television series “The Last Ship”

WHY: To recognize real-life events that exemplify exceptional stories of bravery and heroism as narrated by one of Hollywood’s veteran actors, Eric Dane.

During the awards presentation, audience members will hear about officers facing harrowing, deadly circumstances in the line of duty as they protect and serve. These larger-than-life encounters include:

• The tragic death of Officer Nicolas Lee who was killed instantly when a massive, runaway construction truck careened into his police vehicle. After extensive and frantic work to access the passenger compartment, rescuers were forced to cut off the top of the police vehicle to gain access to Officer Lee and his partner.

• A surprise attack on two officers working the front desk at LAPD’s West Traffic Division lobby. A man entered the lobby and said he had a complaint as he produced a handgun and began firing at the officers. One of the officers was severely wounded, yet endured an intense close quarters gunfight with the suspect, eventually striking him until he collapsed.

• The incredible story of an officer standing by the driver’s side door of his police vehicle when a drunk driver in a minivan rammed into him with such force that his car doors opened in the opposite direction, pinning him between the minivan and the police car. Though he was in a coma for five days, hospitalized for two months and told he would never return to police work, he miraculously returned to full duty within seven months.

• The heartbreaking death of Motor Officer Christopher Cortijo who was rear-ended on his motorcycle with great force, by a driver under the influence of narcotics. The officer was a 26-year Department veteran and DUI taskforce member who, during the course of his career, arrested over 3,000 violators for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• The bizarre story of a man, who jumped out of a moving ambulance, then assaulted a paramedic and ran into a church where an officer played a deadly game of hide-and-seek in efforts to apprehend the suspect. When he finally came face-to-face with the suspect, the man brutally stabbed the officer, causing him to go into shock with profuse bleeding before his partner finally shot the suspect and stopped the attack.

• The appalling murder of Officer Roberto Sanchez at the wheel of a police car trying to stop a speeding car. During his efforts to stop the car, a second vehicle associated with the speeding car joined the fray and intentionally crashed into the police vehicle at a tremendous speed, literally causing “catastrophic” damage to the driver’s side of the police car.

ADDITIONAL: The Los Angeles Police Foundation (LAPF) is the proud host of the “Above & Beyond” ceremony. The mission of the Los Angeles Police Foundation is to create partnerships to provide resources and programs that help the Los Angeles Police Department perform at their highest level and to enhance LAPD-community relations. Since its founding in 1998, the LAPF has invested more than $23 million in grants to the LAPD in the areas of equipment and technology upgrades, specialized training, community outreach, and youth programs.

INTERVIEWS: Medal of Valor and Purple Heart honorees will be available for print and broadcast interviews after the awards ceremony on October 1, 2015. For assistance or to make advance arrangements for interviews, please contact Management Analyst Richard French, who will be onsite at the event, (213) 486-5930. Police Officer Lilliana Preciado, a Spanish speaker, will also be available to facilitate interviews. She can be reached at (213) 486-5924.

CONTACT: For more information, please contact Police Officer Sara Faden, LAPD Community Relationship Division at (213) 486-6023, or (213) 841-2064. For information about the Los Angeles Police Foundation, please call Pat Berni at (213) 489-4636, or visit: