Littleton Police Corporal Jeff Farmer became the first officer in Colorado to receive a Medal of Valor.
The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer.
Farmer, his family, and Police Chief Doug Stephens attended the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., where President Joe Biden presented the award.
Farmer was one of eight to receive the country's top honor, including two of whom were recognized posthumously.
“The award is given for actions above and beyond the call of duty and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind and unusual swiftness in action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect a human life,” Biden said at the ceremony.
Farmer was chosen for the award for his lifesaving actions on Sept. 21, 2021.
That evening, he and Officer David Snook responded to a call of shots fired, according to a press release from the department. After locating the suspect, they pursued the suspect on foot.
During the pursuit, Farmer severely injured his knee, according to the press release. Snook, who followed the suspect into a nearby apartment building, was met with gunfire.
The suspect shot Snook nine times, Division Chief Gene Enley shared at a city council meeting on May 16.
Despite his injury, Farmer chose to enter the building to assist Snook, who he knew had been shot.
He joined Snook in the doorway while the gunman continued to fire at both officers. Farmer stayed with Snook and returned fire enough to cause the gunman to retreat.
Then, aware of the severity of his partner’s injuries, Farmer dragged Snook to safety and transported him to the hospital.
Wwith the suspect still loose, assisting officers helped bring Snook into a patrol car and Farmer drove him to Swedish Medical Center.
According to police accounts of the shooting, hospital staff later said Snook would have likely died, had Farmer not made the decision to get him medical attention so quickly.
Officers later arrested the suspect, Rigoberto Valles-Dominguez, whose trial is set to begin in July, according to the department.
“Because of Corporal Farmer’s actions, Officer Snook is still here with us today,” Enley said at the city council meeting.
Stephens said the department submitted Farmer’s nomination for the Medal of Valor to the Department of Justice about a year ago. He said he was incredibly proud last week when they found out Farmer had been selected.
“We couldn't be more proud, you know, of Jeff and of David Snook in the tragic incident that they went through and the courage and the bravery that they both demonstrated,” he said. “Especially Jeff, being able to go in there and make … the sacrifice he made to pull David out of that line of fire and ultimately save his life, and we’re tremendously proud of that action.”
Mayor Kyle Schlachter proclaimed May 14 through 20, 2023 in the City of Littleton “National Police Week,” honoring all police officers in the city.
“Both David Snook and Jeff Farmer’s actions on that night really, truly demonstrate the courage and dedication that our officers have for our community and for each other,” Stephens said. “They're very indicative of the actions that police, and sheriff's officers take, and deputies take, nearly every day in our country. And it's nice that we could have an officer recognized on a national level for the courage that he demonstrated.”
Farmer declined to comment on this story to avoid jeopardizing the related case because it is still pending trial.