The '12 Knights' of Christmas 2013
Law enforcement knights like you make a positive difference in your communities every day
Every Christmas there are those who would not be around to celebrate Christmas if not for the courageous actions of police officers. Since I wrote the first of these “12 Knights of Christmas” columns, PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie has asked me to reprise it every year.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of heroism every year by our law enforcement brothers and sisters from which I may choose as I write each year’s installment. In fact, I’ve always had a hard time keeping this list down to just 12 individual people, so this year I’ve decided to give myself some latitude — some artistic licence, so to speak. This year I’ve chosen to highlight one incident per month — many of which have more than one officer involved.
Here are the “Twelve Knights” of 2013. There are many, many others — although they may not be named here, each has proved to be the tipping point when lives were in the balance.
January 9, 2013 — St. Paul, Minnesota
King was incapacitated immediately, but Wanschura rolled out of the moving squad car and landed on his back. Instantly he was on his feet, advancing while firing, eliminating the threat permanently. Sometimes the lives we save are our own.
January 10, 2013 — Los Angeles
A tracking chip allowed them to locate its owner, who said, “Put it down.” Instead, the officers had the owner sign the dog over to them. They told the vet to do “whatever it takes” to save the dog and they would “work it out.” The good-natured dog, named “Philly” after their sergeant, was saved at a personal cost of $10,000 plus.
April 10, 2013 — Suwanee, Georgia
The SWAT team, including Sgt. Jason Teague, feigned a food delivery, and while doing so deployed distraction devices and entered. Teague’s call for surrender was met with gunfire. Teague was hit in the arm, but returned fire, controlling his weapon with one hand. After the smoke cleared, it was apparent this gunman had taken his last hostage. Sergeant Teague has since returned to duty and continues to serve the good people of Gwinnett County.
May 24, 2013 — La Crosse, Wisconsin
June 17, 2013 — Midwest City, Oklahoma
He spent the next 34 minutes trying to convince Wallace to drop his knife and release the child. Wallace refused, stating he had “nothing to live for” and “nothing to lose.” Huff had no illusions about success, for at one point he ducked out of sight and did a press check on his handgun. When Wallace put the knife to the child’s throat and started a count down from 60, Captain Huff fired, killing Wallace instantly with a head shot. Huff returned the child to her mother unharmed and then said a prayer for the family of Sammie Wallace.
September 11, 2013 — Brentwood, Tennessee
October 23, 2013 — Durham, North Carolina
Unshaken, Munter untangled the cord and later said, “I bundled the baby in towels and laid it on the mother’s chest.”
Munter added this was “the coolest thing that ever happened to me on the job.”
November 16, 2013 — Granby, Missouri
After an interviewer called Greer a hero, he concluded, “It was the grace of God. I was the vessel and he was the driver.”
December 13, 2013 — Centennial, Colorado
He tossed a fire bomb and opened fire immediately, seriously wounding a young student, who later died from her wounds. His intent was clearly to kill many more, but the on-scene School Resource Officer heard the shot and without a moment’s hesitation drew his weapon and sprinted down the long hallway toward the gunfire — shouting warnings to the innocent students he passed.
The shooter reacted immediately to the approach of this honorable gunfighter and turned his shotgun on himself. Countless lives were saved by the courageous response of this Deputy Sheriff.
Looking to 2014
May all of you courageous peacemakers have a blessed and Merry Christmas.
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