'They are all heroes': St. Paul Police Department honors 5 citizens


The St. Paul Police Department honored five local citizens they say showed courage and compassion in the face of danger.

According to the department, Chief of Police Tom Smith presented the honors at the Chief's Awards on Monday.

"They are all heroes," the department said in the news release.

Two citizens were given the Chief's Award for Valor:

  • Joseph Garrison, a University of St. Thomas student who used his personal shotgun to provide cover for an officer dealing with an armed burglary suspect until backup squads arrived. Garrison was also recognized with a citizen award from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.
  • Karla Harris, a SuperAmerica employee who risked her life by leaving the protective glass guarding the register to assist an officer being attacked by a man who tried to take his gun. She grabbed the officer's radio that had fallen to the floor, called for assistance, and held the door open when officers arrived to the scene.

“It’s just doing what you had to do,” Harris told the Pioneer Press. “I thought of that store as my store, and I still think of those officers as my officers.”

Meanwhile the Chief's Award was presented to:

  • Megan and Ryan Fraser, a couple who were at a Burger King drive-thru when they saw a man collapse at a nearby bus stop. Megan called 911 while Ryan, an off-duty EMT, gave CPR and was able to revive the man by the time the medics arrived.
  • Josh Whaley, who heard a motorcycle crash near his home and rushed outside to aid the rider. Whaley applied a tourniquet to the rider's leg – and possibly saved his life.


The Chiefs Award has been around for the past 20 years – but they are not given out very often, Mike Ernster, spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department told BringMeTheNews.

In order to receive the award, a citizen must be recommended to the chief by an employee who thinks that their actions were exemplary, Ernster said.

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