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Gov. Chris Gregoire Awards Law Enforcement Medal of Honor

For Immediate Release: May 2, 2008

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today honored two police officers with Washington’s highest law enforcement honor, the Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, during a ceremony at the Peace Officers Memorial Wall in Olympia.

The Washington Legislature established the Law Enforcement and Peace Officers Medal of Honor in 1994 honoring those police officers killed in the line of duty or who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.

Gov. Gregoire awarded the Medal of Honor for Posthumous Service to Walla Walla Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Estes, killed in the line of duty when his patrol car collided with a flatbed truck on the way to respond to a 911 Emergency call from a residence in Burbank.

“Deputy Estes died responding to what could have been a life-saving emergency – a fellow Washingtonian who needed help,” Gov. Gregoire explained. “This is the kind of work our police do every single day. I honor him and his memory by awarding him this Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor for Serious Injury was awarded to Puyallup Police Officer Gary Shilley, who nearly died after being shot in the face during a traffic stop in 2006. Officer Shilley spent two weeks in intensive care and nearly a year recovering, a process that included facial reconstructive surgery and intense workouts to regain his physical strength. Officer Shilley was back on the job only eight months later.

“I’m sure I’m not alone in my amazement and gratitude that Officer Shilley would go through so much suffering and still be committed to his work,” Gregoire said. “The protection of our citizens and the fight against crime is a 24-hour a day job, and it exposes our law enforcement professionals to serious danger, placing their lives in jeopardy. Their commitment to this dangerous duty is truly heroic.”

Following the award ceremony, Governor Gregoire read the proclamation honoring Washington’s law enforcement community and proclaiming May 11-17, 2008 as Law Enforcement Recognition Week.

Since 1855, over 280 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in the state of Washington.

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