Sgt. Burtnett Receives Purple Heart
The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) along with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented one Purple Heart and eight Lifesaving Awards to members of the Texas Highway Patrol at the PSC meeting on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the DPS Headquarters in Austin.
“The Texas Highway Patrol has highly-trained, outstanding men and women who embody the DPS motto of courtesy, service, protection, while doing extraordinary things on a daily basis,” McCraw said. “I’m proud to recognize the DPS Troopers today who selflessly went into dangerous situations in order to serve people throughout Texas, saving lives in the process. It’s a privilege to recognize them for their heroic actions.”
The following DPS personnel were recognized at the Thursday meeting:
Sgt. Jerrod Burtnett, Highway Patrol — Lubbock, received a Purple Heart for his actions on Dec. 27, 2019. Burtnett, then a Trooper, was investigating a series of crashes due to zero visibility fog in Lubbock County. Burtnett had just finished checking on a bystander along the side of the road, when a fast moving tractor-trailer lost control and struck another vehicle. The tractor-trailer went into the ditch, hitting more vehicles as well as Burtnett, causing him serious injury. After a series of surgeries, he continues to improve. Burtnett was presented a Purple Heart in recognition of his courageous service and personal sacrifice.
Trooper Jeremy Amis, Highway Patrol — Waco, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on April 15, 2020. Amis overheard radio traffic from the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office about a possible suicidal person in Lorena and went to the scene. Upon arrival, he found the person with a knife to his throat. When the person asked for a cigarette, the Trooper located a cigarette and lighter, tossing both just far enough away that he had to move. When the subject went to light the cigarette, he lowered the knife. Amis seized the chance and was able to pin the person’s wrists to the ground, while other officers removed the knife and took him into custody.
Trooper Chad Brooks, Highway Patrol — Pampa, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Aug. 29, 2020. Brooks was eating at a café when he heard a commotion at a nearby table. Brooks saw a 2-year-old boy choking and the child closed his eyes and went limp. Brooks immediately jumped up and asked the mother for the child and laid him facedown over his leg, striking the boy on his back. As a result, a large piece of food was ultimately dislodged from the little boy’s mouth, and he took a gasp of air and began to cry. Brooks ensured the child was alright before returning him to his mother.
Trooper Roy Haley, Highway Patrol — McKinney, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Jan. 20, 2020, when he responded to a domestic disturbance in Collin County. An elderly woman had been stabbed by her son. Haley saw she was losing a significant amount of blood due to the wound in her arm, so he removed the woman’s jacket and applied a tourniquet from his duty belt. Noticing a wound to the woman’s neck, he used gauze from another officer on the scene and applied pressure, which helped reduce the blood loss. The woman was taken by EMS to a local hospital, where she fully recovered.
Trooper Samuel Perez, Highway Patrol — Mission, received a Lifesaving Award for his actions on Aug. 2, 2020, when he attempted a traffic stop on two people on an ATV. The driver refused to stop and continued at a high rate of speed, passing other vehicles illegally. Eventually, the driver lost control and crashed, causing him and his passenger to be ejected. The driver suffered a large wound on his left arm that was bleeding extensively. Perez immediately applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The tourniquet likely saved the man’s arm and possibly his life.
Trooper William Robbins, Highway Patrol — Greenville, and Trooper Cody Sagnibene, Highway Patrol — Greenville, each received a Lifesaving Award for their actions on Aug. 8, 2020. The two Troopers were called to assist the Royce City Police Department after a motorcycle crashed into a guardrail. When Robbins and Sagnibene arrived they found the motorcyclist’s foot was severed. At this point, there had not been any pressure applied to the injured leg. Sagnibene and Robbins worked together to apply a tourniquet and provide medical treatment until EMS arrived.
Trooper (Jonathan) Daniel Britton, Highway Patrol — Queen City, and Trooper Wayne Johnson, Highway Patrol — Linden, each received a Lifesaving Award for their actions on April 5, 2020. Johnson was informed by the Atlanta Police Dispatch that a woman was in cardiac arrest near a Texas/Louisiana COVID-19 checkpoint on U.S. 77. Johnson phoned Britton, who was able to locate an elderly woman who wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Britton began chest compressions until Johnson arrived; then together, they continued lifesaving measures. The woman eventually regained a pulse and began breathing. EMS arrived and took her to a hospital. She was expected to make a full recovery.
A veteran Washington state trooper was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling Monday, according to authorities. Rescuers recovered the body of Steve Houle, 51, around 7 p.m. after an avalanche hours earlier buried him and another snowmobiler near the French Cabin Creek area, Kittitas County Sheriff Clayton Myers said in a press release. The other person was able to dig himself out and call for help at the nearby French Cabin Sno-Park in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, according to the sheriff. “On behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Trooper Houle’s family, friends and the Washington State Patrol,” Myers said in a press release. “This is a tragic accident and will be felt hard in our close-knit law enforcement community.” NBC News affiliate KING reported that Houle was riding a snow bike, which is a narrower snowmobile, at the time of the avalanche around midday Monday. On social media, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste called Houle "a great person and an excellent employee, loved and respected by us all." "We hold his memory and his family close to our hearts in this painfully sad time," Batiste said. Trooper John Bryant told KING that Houle was "someone you can count on." "The fact that next time he's not going to be around, it's hard to imagine," Bryant continued. KING reporter Vanessa Misciagna posted a video showing a police and rescue vehicle escort for Houle's body. Houle had been with the Washington State Patrol for 28 years, the agency said. According to the Northwest Avalanche Center, the area is currently under a "considerable" avalanche warning. In a post Sunday, the center said the avalanche danger in Kittitas County was high. The Washington state avalanche occurred just days after another deadly snowslide killed four Utah skiers, according to NBC News. Since the start of the month, over a dozen people have been killed by avalanches in the U.S., according to the Northwest Avalanche Center's count. "We ask that you be patient, read the forecast, and choose terrain in line with current conditions," the Avalanche Center said. The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office, which is handling the investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
One year ago, a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper went to work on the Treasure Coast like he did for 19 years. The morning of Feb. 5, 2020, Trooper Joseph Bullock helped a disabled motorist on the side of I-95 in Martin County, who would end up shooting and killing Bullock. Dozens of law enforcement officers, state and community leaders, and family members celebrated the life of Trooper Bullock once again on Friday and unveiled a host of dedications in his honor. "On the morning of February 5, 2020, we mourned the loss of our son. Today, February 5, 2021, we celebrate Joe’s life," said Jon Bullock, Trooper Bullock’s father. Bullock was and is the only law enforcement officer to have been killed in the line of duty in Martin County. A dedication ceremony showed his loved ones how much his sacrifice still means. “It’s all been very humbling and very heart warming,” Jon Bullock said. “We have good days and bad days like anybody else." FHP leadership unveiled a roadway designation sign to be located between mile markers 105 and 110 where Bullock was killed, designating the stretch of roadway as the Trooper Joseph Bullock Memorial Highway. They also revealed an image of the newly renamed FHP Fort Pierce station, in Bullock’s honor. “I can’t even state how much that he really does deserve all this,” said FHP Sgt. Mellow Scheetz, who worked with Bullock for 13 years. Investigators with the 19th Judicial Circuit raised money for a tree and monument at the FHP station in Fort Pierce. Bullock’s Troop L colleagues also raised money for a monument, “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of him,” Sgt. Scheetz said. The ceremony and remembrance come at a time of tense law enforcement scrutiny, though Martin County Sheriff William Snyder praised all of the law enforcement officers for their efforts to bring peace to the community. “There’s an infinite amount of good that you do,” Snyder said. Jon Bullock also used to work in law enforcement. “We are fortunate that there are people who still want to go into law enforcement. That have a passion for it,” Bullock said. He hopes the community continues to honor his son’s sacrifice by continuing to support law enforcement. “I would like the public to honor my son by supporting the law enforcement that’s out in their community. There’s still risk out there, there’s still danger. There’s still work to do,” Bullock said
Funeral services will be held Friday for State Trooper Bradley “Brad” Huffman, 56, of Xenia who died of COVID complications in January. The patrol says Huffman, a 23-year trooper, and Army veteran, died January 20 after two weeks in the hospital. Huffman most recently served with the Piqua District Commercial Enforcement Unit, but colleagues tell WHIO-TV, he spent most of his career at the Xenia Patrol Post. Visitations will be from 10am-12pm at Xenia Nazarene Church, followed by a memorial service at 12pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Xenia Nazarene Church in his memory. Condolences may be made to the family at www.NeeldFuneralHome.com