Arizona law enforcement officers recognized for bravery

Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-24 01:12:15-04

Nine law enforcement officers from around the state have been recognized for their bravery while on the job.

Those honored with the ASIS Award for Valor include officers who were injured in the line of duty, rushed into burning homes and pinned down suspects to protect their fellow officers and the community.

A total of 36 law enforcement agencies were present at the awards ceremony.

Among those recognized is Chandler Police officer Daniel Colwell. He and another officer responded to a routine trespassing call in April 2016 at a Wal-Mart when the subject opened fire in what officials described as an ambush. Officer Colwell took two rounds to the chest, both stopped by his bulletproof vest. He was knocked to the ground and shot the suspect while still on the floor.  

Colwell said one of the bullets hit right under his throat.  He said he was proud to represent Chandler and was humbled by the honor.

Phoenix police detective William Underwood was cited for his actions in February when a 26-year old man shot four members of his family and set the house on fire. He was one of the first officers on scene and shot and killed the suspect before going inside to try and save anyone trapped in the house. He found a 6-year old girl in a back bedroom. He was ordered to leave the building by firefighters but managed to grab the girl and carry her to safety. Sadly, the child did not survive. Underwood said the award should be given to everyone who responded that day.

"There were officers from patrol grabbing equipment from the fire department they had not used before. There was a firefighter trying to put out the fire before the scene was stable, he was hiding behind a 12-inch wall," said Underwood.

The ASIS Award of Valor was given to Buckeye Police Department officers Larry Biffin, Aaron Price, Randy Robichaud, and Justin Ricks for their actions taking down an armed man accused of killing his wife in front of their two young children.

The officers faced off in a public gun battle with the man, putting their lives on the line to protect each other, and the community. Several homes were riddled with bullet holes in the gun fight. No one was injured.

Other recipients of the Award for Valor included Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy Jimmie Clapper and Pima County Sheriff's Department Sgts. Robert Svec, and Brian Kunze.

While this event honored those who had lived to tell, special recognition was also given to those who did not make it. Fallen Phoenix Police Officer David Glasser's family received special honors at the awards luncheon.

ABC15 News Anchor Steve Irvin emceed the event.