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Minneapolis honors police officers, civilians for heroism during 2015

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Acts of bravery that save lives or bring in criminals should not go unrecognized. And the Minneapolis Police Department took care of that Tuesday by honoring 39 officers and a dozen civilians for heroic deeds of 2015.

The hardware distributed by Chief Janeé Harteau included Awards of Merit, Lifesaving Awards, and Medals of Valor.

Find a full list of the honorees here. Some of their stories were shared by news media attending the event.

MPR News reports that officer William Gregory was commended for two incidents, both of which occurred last April.

In one, an intoxicated man smashed a plate glass window. Gregory recognized that the man had severed a major artery and was in danger of bleeding to death. Gregory wrestled with the man to subdue him and another officer applied a tourniquet to save his life, MPR says.

In the other, Gregory was on his way to an off-duty job when he heard there'd been a double homicide. Spotting two men he considered suspects running from the area, he chased and caught one – also noting where the man had ditched his gun – and provided a description of the other that led to an easy identification when video showed him boarding a Metro Transit bus, the network reports.

The Star Tribune highlighted three of those who received the Medal of Valor – one of them a civilian, and one of them the only officer besides Gregory who was recognized with two awards.

The newspaper relates that Harrison Hamilton was a security guard who was monitoring cameras last summer when he heard a woman scream in a parking lot. Rushing out, he saw a man punching and stabbing the woman as she lay on the ground. When Hamilton drew his gun, the assailant dropped his knife. Hamilton then treated the woman's wounds as he called 911. The woman survived.

Officer Steve Lecy was honored for excellence in an investigation and also received a Medal of Valor, the Star Tribune reports. Lecy was part of an undercover investigation in a prostitution case. (The case was later dismissed by a judge, who ruled Lecy went too far in his sexual encounter with the suspect before arresting her.)

Lecy and Mark Lanasa were awarded medals for their response when two gunmen opened fire into a crowd at bar closing time downtown. Chief Harteau said video showed the officers helped keep others from getting hurt and tracked down both suspects, with Lanasa chasing one man down an alley while Lecy rode his bicycle into gunfire to apprehend the other.

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WCCO featured a trio of officers – Elliot Wong, Matthew Vana, and Laura Turner – who pulled a man to safety as he prepared to jump over the 3rd Ave. bridge.

They also highlighted a civilian, 17 year old Braylon Wheat, who pulled two victims of a serious crash out of their vehicle.

Chief Harteau says Minneapolis police respond to about 400,000 calls for service per year and the deeds recognized on Tuesday represent a small snapshot of what officers do daily.

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