The Knights of Christmas: Celebrating police heroism in 2017

These 10 stories showcase the bravery of police officers nationwide


This article is part of our 2017 Year in Review special coverage. Take a look back at some of this year's most heroic saves and other impactful moments in policing with features from our expert columnists and multimedia lists of the year's top moments, here.

Christmas is the season for the giving of gifts. Once again PoliceOne brings you a few of the many stories where modern knights – because of their quick response and decisive action – gave the greatest gift of all for Christmas to people they did not even know: the gift of life.

January 20, 2017 – Spokane, Washington

After Kim Novak’s car hit a bump in the road, the vehicle suffered a total mechanical meltdown and began to burn. As the fire crept mercilessly toward her, she was unable to open any doors or windows. She crawled into the back seat to avoid the flames, but just as it seemed all hope was lost, Officer Tim Schwering of the Spokane Police Department in Washington appeared, baton in hand.  

Kim said later in an interview with the media, “He was swinging on that thing like Ken Griffey Jr. in the home run derby and beating with all his might. God bless him. He didn’t give up.”

Officer Schwering smashed the window and pulled the woman out of the inferno at the last possible moment.

April 26, 2017 – County Derry, Ireland

In April, Officers Matt Gilhooley and Matt Thomas of the New York Port Authority Police were on vacation enjoying a pint in a pub in County Kerry, Ireland, when a man had a sudden cardiac arrest and fell to the floor. The officers immediately started CPR and were able to locate the pub’s defibrillator, and shock the man back to life. 

There is a man in County Kerry, Ireland, this Christmas who has a tall tale of two cops from New York traveling 3000 miles just to share a pint with him and save his life. But that’s no blarney.

May 1, 2017 – Topeka, Kansas

In Topeka, Kansas, Officer Aaron Bulmer spotted a small child alone in a park, next to a pond. He was on his way to a robbery alarm, but felt compelled to circle the park and check the welfare of this child.

When Bulmer reached the location, the little boy was in the water, drowning. Bulmer dived into the pond in full gear and reached the small child as he was going under and pulled him out. The child was Elijah Hamby, a three-year-old autistic boy who had been watching his favorite television show sipping on chocolate milk when his father had to use the bathroom. It was during these few minutes Elijah up and left the house on a walk-about. Thanks to Officer Bulmer’s timing and triage, Elijah will experience the wonders of Christmas this year.

June 14, 2017 – Alexandria, VA

A gunman opened fire on the Republican Congressional baseball team as they practiced on a baseball diamond in Alexandria. Capitol Police Officers David Bailey and Chrystal Griner instantly engaged the shooter and, although they were both wounded, they prevented unimaginable carnage with their well-placed rounds.

August 29, 2017 – Enumclaw, Washington

In Enumclaw, Washington, a battered wife fled her home with her children. As responding King County deputies began giving aid to the female, one officer heard a noise in the darkness and put on his night vision. He spotted the suspect, who was using the cloak of night to take aim at the female and the officers with a rifle. The officer with night vision ordered the man to drop his rifle, but when he failed to do so, the officers fired, preventing a tragedy.

August 13, 2017 – La Crosse, Wisconsin

A father was shore fishing while a mother was enjoying the view from the front seat of her car parked along the Mississippi with their three year old and one year old. Suddenly a career miscreant shoved a gun in the mother’s face and stole her car, kidnapping her one year old. La Crosse police officers spotted the suspect almost immediately and gave chase. 

The fleeing felon smashed through some road construction barriers, went airborne and crashed. Officer Stephen Hughes and Officer Andrew Adey repeatedly shouted for the driver to surrender and drop his pistol. The kidnapper refused, and both officers fired.

After what must have been a harrowing few moments for these young officers, Adey and Hughes had the profound satisfaction of placing the uninjured one-year-old child back into the loving arms of the parents.

September 17, 2017 – Trenton, New Jersey

In September, Officer Franky Jimenez of the Trenton Police Department in New Jersey was checking an apartment on the eighth floor of an apartment complex for a distraught man and found him outside dangling by one hand from a window sill. He rushed to the assistance of a man who told Franky, “I don’t want to die!”

Franky, clearly endangering himself, was able to pull the man up and back into the room. In doing so he saved this man, who was having second thoughts on the eighth floor. 

October 9, 2017 – Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County deputies rescued numerous civilians as a raging wild fire consumed thousands of homes, requiring mandatory evacuations. Sergeant Brandon Cutting’s body camera showed the hazardous conditions those deputies were working under, as he rescued a disabled woman and her husband on that terrible night when so many were saved by so few.

October 31, 2017 – New York City

An immigrant who swore allegiance to ISIS drove a rental truck 22 blocks down a bike path intentionally running down innocent people. He paused only after he T-boned a school bus. The man fled on foot, intent on killing more people, but he was stopped by a bullet fired by Officer Ryan Nash, who proved to be one of New York’s finest.

November 15, 2017 – Tehama County, California

In November, a man killed his wife and neighbor then went on a killing spree in Ranch Tehama Reserve, shooting randomly at people and attacking a school.

Police officers located the suspect, engaged him in a pursuit, rammed his vehicle and stopped him permanently in a gun fight. This determined and courageous response by these officers (as of yet unnamed) clearly saved lives.

These are but a few of the many officers who gave the gift of life in 2017. Whether you patrol the streets or the highways this Christmas, know that God blesses you all for what you do. For you are all guardian angels, our modern knights of Christmas.

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