The Sacramento Police Department is proud to announce that two Sacramento police officers will be awarded with the prestigious Medal of Valor by the California State Firefighters' Association (CSFA).
The ceremony will take place on Friday, October 15, 2010, at a dinner banquet being held at the Capitol Plaza Holiday Inn, 300 J Street, in Sacramento, at 6:00 p.m.
The purpose of this event is to recognize firefighters, peace officers and civilians from throughout the state who have exhibited great courage in order to save the life of another.
On December 22, 2009, Officer Richard Kawasaki and Officer Matt Suehowicz were dispatched to a call of a vehicle that had hit a sound wall on Riverside Boulevard and was on fire. Officer Suehowicz arrived and saw the vehicle's front end and passenger compartment completely engulfed in flames. He grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran toward the vehicle. Officer Suehowicz discharged his fire extinguisher into the vehicle's interior. He then reached into the vehicle in an attempt to pull the driver out. The driver's legs were pinned and Officer Suehowicz was unable to pull him out. At this point, Officer Kawasaki arrived. Together, Officer Kawasaki and Officer Suehowicz tried to extract the driver from the burning vehicle as the fire was intensifying in both heat and size. The officers grabbed under the driver's arms and were eventually able to pull him out. They pulled the driver about 40 feet away from the vehicle and onto the sidewalk. As they laid the driver down, Officer Suehowicz observed the driver's shirt was on fire in his chest area. He used his duty jacket and put out the flames as they awaited the arrival of the Fire Department.
Chief Rick Braziel said, "I am very proud of these two officers whose brave actions saved a life. Their actions demonstrate the high level of commitment our officers have towards serving the community."