Four Pocatello police officers to receive Idaho Medal of Honor - East Idaho News

Four Pocatello police officers to receive Idaho Medal of Honor

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BOISE — The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has named five law enforcement officers who will receive the Idaho Medal of Honor — four of those named recipients are officers with the Pocatello Police Department.

The Idaho Medal of Honor was established in 2004 by the Idaho State Legislature, according to the Idaho Medal of Honor Commission website.

The award was created to honor the police officers and firefighters who put themselves in danger in protection of their community. One year later, the award was amended to include emergency medical service providers.

Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador named five recipients of this year’s award in a news release. Details about the local officers and why they received the award were also in the release.

Pocatello officers Demetrius Amos and Makenzie Handel were selected for their actions on the morning of May 5, 2022.

Around 1:30 a.m., Amos and Handel, along with trainee officers, responded to reports of a disturbance at a residence on East Bridger Street. When officers arrived, they were fired upon by a man later identified as Todd Vernon Brewer.

Following an exchange of gunfire, both Amos and Handel sustained serious injury and were taken to Portneuf Medical Center for emergency surgery.

“Officer Handel and Officer Amos led the trainee officers around the front of the residence toward the alley where the suspect was lying in wait to ambush them. The suspect fired multiple shots in the direction of these officers. Officer Amos selflessly put himself in harm’s way, to protect the innocent lives at the residence and then again to protect the officers in training,” the Idaho Medal of Honor website says. “During the encounter, Officer Amos and Officer Handel were shot and suffered life-threatening injuries.”

No civilians were harmed in the shooting, and Brewer was taken into police custody.

RELATED | Both officers stable as investigation into Thursday officer-involved shooting continues

Both officers made speedy recoveries, were discharged from the hospital and have since returned to work.

Fellow Pocatello officers Jordan Johnson and Joel Weinheimer are being honored for their actions on July 5, 2022.

Both officers responded to reports of an overturned vehicle submerged in a canal. When they arrived on scene, Johnson and Weinheimer reacted to witness reports that a person was inside the vehicle by entering the canal.

The attempted to gain entry into the vehicle by prying a door open, then by breaking a window.

“The canal’s powerful current made the efforts ineffective,” the website says. “Officer Weinheimer was eventually successful breaking the windows using a knife fitted with a window punch. Officer Weinheimer reached inside the vehicle through the broken window and found a female subject who had been submerged in the water for several minutes and appeared to be unconscious. … Due to their quick response time, decisive actions, and determined persistence to gain access the vehicle, the female who had been inside the submerged vehicle received lifesaving care and survived the accident.”

All four Pocatello officers, as well as officer Cole Kuta of the Heyburn Police Department, will receive their award, the state’s most prestigious award for emergency medical responded, during a ceremony on Aug. 23 at the State Capitol Building in Boise.