Washington, DC — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Corporal Christopher Sturgeon and Officer Trent Ginn of the Topeka (KS) Police Department as its Officers of the Month for July 2010.
On the evening of November 17, 2009, police, fire, and emergency medical crews were called to a house fire. Closest to the scene, seven-year Topeka Police Department veteran Corporal Christopher Sturgeon was the first to arrive and found the house engulfed in flames. Even worse, he heard a female voice screaming for help from inside the burning home.
After he assessed the situation, Corporal Sturgeon ran to the back of the home and looked for an entry point. Several people including Kevin Howard, a relative of the woman stuck inside, tried to break a window to gain access to the burning home, but Corporal Sturgeon realized any effort to get through the window was futile and instead kicked in a storm door and an interior door to gain entry.
The thick smoke forced Corporal Sturgeon to crawl on the floor, but he found the woman lying unresponsive on the floor. Nearly overwhelmed by the flames and smoke, Corporal Sturgeon grabbed the woman’s foot and dragged her toward the exit. After a short distance, he was forced to retreat outside the home for fresh air. Corporal Sturgeon repeated this process at least five times and moved the woman a little closer to the door each time.
Meanwhile, three-year Topeka Police Department veteran Officer Trent Ginn arrived at the house and after he learned of the situation, he immediately entered the home to help Corporal Sturgeon rescue the woman. Officer Ginn also retreated for fresh air at least twice due to the intense heat and smoke. In one last joint effort, Corporal Sturgeon pulled the woman to the rear door and Officer Ginn lifted the nonresponsive woman over his shoulder and ran out of the house to safety.
The officers took the woman outside and waited for emergency medical crews. The woman, who suffered life-threatening injuries, was rushed to a local hospital and then transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital’s Burn Unit. Corporal Sturgeon and Officer Ginn also needed medical attention and were transported to a local hospital where they were treated and released.
For their selfless actions that evening, Corporal Sturgeon and Officer Ginn were awarded the Topeka Police Department’s Medal of Valor on January 10, 2010. Topeka Police Chief Ronald Miller, who nominated the two officers for the NLEOMF Officer of the Month Award wrote, “These officers have demonstrated outstanding achievement in personal character by exhibiting benevolence, compassion, decisiveness, initiative, and determination when called to go above and beyond normal law enforcement responsibilities and duties.”
Located in the nation’s capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Corporal Sturgeon and Officer Ginn, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2010, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2011 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s 2012 calendar.