Pictured left to right: Officer Keith Perez, Chief of Police Michael Brickner and Officer Jerame Simpson, Valparaiso Police Department (photo provided)
Two northwest Indiana police officers have received the 2012 Police Officer of the Year Award from the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police – Officer Jerame Simpson and Officer Keith Perez with the Valparaiso Police Department. Each year the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police receive nominations from across Indiana for officers performing their duties above and beyond the call of duty. Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner nominated Simpson and Perez for their efforts during a hostage crisis on the north side of the city last May.
Chief Brickner presented both officers with their awards during the ceremony in Indianapolis Wednesday. The Valparaiso Police Department says they both received the award for their actions on May 25, 2012 when both entered the Prudential Building to stop an armed man who had entered the building and had reportedly fired his weapon. Officer Simpson, who was on-duty, and Officer Perez, who was off-duty at the time, were able to assist in evacuating many individuals from the building prior to confronting the armed man. Gunfire was exchanged and authorities say a lengthy hostage standoff concluded with the male subject shooting himself. No employees or police were injured during the incident.
Police chiefs from across Indiana and numerous officers from the Valparaiso Police Department were present during the awards presentation.