National Police Organization to Recognize ‘TOP COPS’
(MADISON, WI) – Last August, two officers rushed into a life-threatening situation, became targets and ultimately saved the lives of dozens of Sikh worshipers. Oak Creek Police Lieutenant Brian Murphy was shot 15 times before fellow officer Sam Lenda shot the perpetrator.
Chosen from hundreds of nominations from all across the country, the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) has selected these officers and others as winners of its prestigious TOP COPS Award®. NAPO launched its TOP COPS® awards program in 1994 to pay tribute to outstanding law enforcement officers for actions above and beyond the call of duty.
President Barack Obama will honor all the Oak Creek officers who responded to the Sikh Temple shooting, along with other heroes from around the country, at a White House Rose Garden ceremony on May 11th. Also attending the ceremony and being recognized by NAPO will be Oak Creek officers John Finco, Julie Grauberger, Dean Kleinhans, Kelly Romen, Michael Schultz, and Derick Slamka. NAPO will formally recognize all Oak Creek officers at an awards dinner the following night in Washington, D.C.
“These officers are indeed Wisconsin’s finest, and I am proud that WPPA will be represented at the Rose Garden in the company of the President,” said Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) and representative on the NAPO Awards Committee. “The list of police heroes in Wisconsin is long this year and we’ll be honoring these officers and others from around the state in the coming weeks in a ceremony of our own.”
On the morning of August 5, 2012, a man with ties to extreme white supremacist organizations entered the Oak Creek Sikh Temple and shot and killed five men and one woman attending a religious ceremony, wounding four others. Several officers responded to the mass shooting, and Lt. Murphy was shot 15 times at close range before Officer Lenda shot the perpetuator, later identified as Wade Michael Page, who then took his own life.
“While we celebrate these heroes, we also must never forget those who lost their lives unnecessarily on that tragic day in Oak Creek,” said Palmer, who also indicated that the WPPA will announce next week the names of the Wisconsin officers that it will recognize as a part of its annual awards banquet on May 19th in Wisconsin Dells (details to come).