Wounded police officer Cem Duzel receives Medal of Honor and Purple Heart

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Officer Cem Duzel was awarded the police department’s Medal of Honor and Purple Heart Monday for his actions and bravery in the line of duty.

Officer Duzel was shot in the head while responding to a call in the early morning hours of August 2, 2018. For weeks, his life hung in the balance.  Since then, he has made tremendous strides forward, despite several setbacks along the way. In September 2019, after many surgeries and rehabilitation, he was moved to New York where he continued rehabilitation therapy in the comfort of his home state.

The Colorado Springs community has followed Officer Duzel’s progress during his rehabilitation and shown an continuous outpouring of support for him and his family with  letters, gifts, and messages of encouragement.

In June of this year, the Colorado Springs Police Department posted this message on their Facebook page from Officer Duzel.

Cem Duzel June 2019

Thirty-one other officers were also honored. Seventeen were presented with the Medal of Valor and fourteen with the Distinguished Service Award. One of the officers who received the Distinguished Service Award also received a purple heart.

Medal of Valor Recipients

  • Sgt. Robert Wolf
  • Sgt. Keith Wrede
  • Corporal Ronnie Carter
  • Officer Jeremy Campbell
  • Officer Chris Fernandes
  • Officer Troy Kananen
  • Officer Brian Kelly
  • Officer Christopher Laabs
  • Officer Andrew Leeper
  • Former Officer Armando Newell
  • Officer Steven Pugsley
  • Officer Frederick Sunderlin
  • Officer Teresa Tomczyk
  • Officer Tracy Toth
  • Officer Kyle Vanderlinden
  • Officer Michael Walker
  • Officer William Wingert

Distinguished Service Award Recipients

  • Sgt. Christopher Arseneau
  • Officer Ryan Blank
  • Officer Alexander Colborn
  • Officer Kenneth Gatewood
  • Officer Matt Graham
  • Former Officer Nick Lesnansky
  • Officer Emily McBride
  • Officer Sean Medina
  • Officer Vijay Seenath
  • Officer Jeremy Sheldon
  • Officer Phil Strevett
  • Officer Patrick Taylor
  • Officer Peter Tomitsch
  • Officer Matt Waldera  

The Medal of Valor Luncheon is a Police Foundation event held each year to honor outstanding Colorado Springs Police officers for their service and dedication to the community. https://www.policefoundationofcoloradosprings.org/


Medal of Honor

The highest award in the police department and is awarded to a police officer how voluntarily distinguishes himself/herself, conspicuously, by gallantry and extraordinary heroism. The act must be beyond normal demands and of such a nature that the recipient was fully aware of the imminent threat to his/her personal safety and acted above and beyond the call of duty, at the risk of his/her life.

Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is to be awarded to any police officer who is seriously wounded in the line of duty by an assailant while involved in a combat situation. The injury must not be the result of or concurrent with any conduct of the recipient that is less than acceptable by all standards.

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is to be awarded to any police officer for extraordinary heroism at imminent risk of serious bodily injury, the recipient demonstrating courage through their actions in an extremely dangerous situation.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is to be awarded to any police officer who in the performance of normal police duties, is faced with imminent risk of serious bodily injury and displays courage in carrying out the necessary action to contain the situation.


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