Officers honored for dedication and service

Written by Julie Hying

Each year, many men and women in uniform serve and protect the citizens of our state, and each year superiors in the field take time to recognize individuals who have gone beyond the typical call of duty. Randy Henderson, executive director for the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, explains that KACP Valor Award recipients will be honored for their courageous acts of service at a banquet hosted at The Hyatt on September 28.

These nominations might be life-saving endeavors, crime stopping efforts or any number of reasons that are worthy of recognition and respect.

On Jan. 31, 2019, Officer Cori Tuxhorn of the Arkansas City Police Department was sent to a residence where a seven-week-old infant had stopped breathing. Upon arrival, she immediately took charge of the situation, assessed the baby's breathing and administered CPR. The child eventually began showing signs of life, coughing and faintly crying as Tuxhorn reassured family members while monitoring the breathing.

Arkansas City EMS transported the baby to the local hospital where she made a full recovery. Officer Tuxhorn performed her duties flawlessly while handling this stressful situation by remaining calm, properly assessing the situation and executing her plan to save a human life.

On the evening of Aug. 23, 2019, officers were dispatched to Kohl's west location in Wichita. They watched as an unknown person (a 17-year-old runaway later identified as M.M.) ran into a nearby retention pond and swam to the middle of it.

Remaining there, M.M. told the officers that she could not swim yet refused to come out.

M.M. flailed and then disappeared underwater for approximately 30 seconds. Alerted to her distress, Officers Nelson and Rhoades quickly removed their duty gear and swam to the victim's last known location. Officer Eric Little directed both officers from his position on the shoreline. Officer Rhoades swam to the middle of the pond, dove underwater and felt a hand brush against his foot. Officer Nelson swam to where Rhoades located M.M., and both assisted in holding her above water and guiding her safely to shore.

Nelson related to Little that M.M. was not breathing, who then alerted Fire and EMS to assist in the life saving efforts.

Officers Little and Lane were waiting on the embankment and immediately began administering CPR while Officers Nelson and Rhoades assisted. The CPR efforts prompted the victims’ lungs to purge water and begin breathing again. M.M. was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. Although the victim's health initially improved, she quickly deteriorated, and she was intubated and admitted by the doctors.

Due to the selfless efforts of these four Wichita Police Officers, she recovered and was released from the hospital days later.

On April 29, 2019, Rice County Undersheriff Chad Murphy went into Casey's General Store where he recognized David Madden, who had just been federally indicted days before for firearms violations and had an active warrant. He followed Madden onto K-14 highway, executed a traffic stop just north of the Sterling city limits where he confronted Madden by saying “Come on, David. You have a warrant. Let's get this taken care of." Madden exited the vehicle and opened fire on Undersheriff Murphy with a handgun.

The first bullet struck Undersheriff Murphy in the neck, disabling his right arm. Murphy took two additional rounds before turning to flee and was struck in the back with a fourth round before collapsing to the ground. Madden then fled by car.

Nearby, three individuals placed their lives in danger as they rushed to aid Murphy.

Shortly after the shooting, Rice County Sheriff Bryant Evans and Sterling Police Department Sergeant Richard Tommer arrived. Sergeant Tommer, who serves as a medical first responder, began rendering emergency medical aid to Undersheriff Murphy.

All of these heroic individuals of law enforcement deserve praise and will receive honors in September to mark their heroism.

KACP Valor Awards Banquet
Sept. 28
Hyatt Regency, Wichita

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