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Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Receives Honorable Mention at NAPO TOP COPS Awards

HELENA – Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Jerril M. Ren received an Honorable Mention award from the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) at their 28th annual TOP COPS Awards in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 15. The awards are meant to honor law enforcement officers and educate the public about the nation’s heroes.

Sergeant Ren received the award for his bravery on June 10, 2020, when law enforcement was called to investigate a homicide in Flathead County. Hours later, the suspect was spotted by Flathead County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Vander Ark.  The suspect did not stop for the deputy and was pursued by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and the Montana Highway Patrol.  The pursuit ended on Highway 35 near Woods Bay in Lake County. Upon the pursuit ending, the suspect shot multiple times at the deputy and Sergeant Ren. Both officers returned fire and killed the suspect.

“I’m incredibly proud of Sergeant Ren and the bravery he showed during an incredibly dangerous situation last June. His actions exemplify what it means to be a member of the Montana Highway Patrol,” Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. “As attorney general, one of my most important jobs is working with law enforcement, including overseeing MHP. I’m proud of the work our troopers do day in and day out.”

“This award was well deserved as Sergeant Ren put his life on the line to protect Montanans,” MHP Colonel Steve Lavin said. “It’s an honor to work alongside Sergeant Ren and the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol each day.”

MHP Colonel Steve Lavin and Lieutenant Colonel Hildenstab joined Sergeant Ren at the ceremony. Flathead County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Vander Ark also received the award for his involvement in the case.

Sergeant Ren also received MHP’s Medal of Valor – the Patrol’s highest award – earlier this year for his actions on June 10, 2020. To qualify for the award, troopers must show an act of heroism and bravery, knowingly expose themselves to obvious life-threatening peril, or react to a situation without regard for personal safety to effect aid or rescue.

According to NAPO, TOP COPS are nominated by fellow officers then selected by an Awards Selection Committee which reviews hundreds of nominations from cases across the 50 states and U.S. territories. Officers from the top ten cases are selected as the 2021 TOP COPS and in each remaining state where there was a nomination a case is selected for which officers receive an Honorable Mention award.