U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jared Monnett has been named the Officer of the Month for September by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund for saving his partner from a swarm of Africanized bees.
The incident occurred on July 29, 2012. Agents Monnett and Overbey were assigned to the area around Black Peak located southeast of Arivaca, Ariz., about 11 miles from the Mexican border.
The agents Monnet were canvassing an area of Arizona that had been the site of several recent bee attacks that caused the deaths of several citizens, livestock, and pets.
At approximately 8:30 am, the agents responded to border sensor traffic a half mile northwest of Black Peak. When they arrived, the agents learned that the sensor had been triggered by four undocumented individuals who had crossed over from Mexico. The agents had reason to believe there might be more people traveling with this group, so Agent Overbey left to search the nearby area, while Agent Monnett stayed with the suspects.
Suddenly, Agent Monnett heard his partner let out an intense scream. He ran toward Agent Overbey and found his partner enveloped in a massive swarm of Africanized bees. Without hesitation, Agent Monnett ran directly into the swarm of bees and grabbed Agent Overbey. Agent Monnett instructed his partner to run to a safe location as fast he could to escape the swarm.
When Agent Overbey was later treated by medical personnel, they discovered he had suffered dozens of bee stings on his head, arms, and in his mouth, eyes, and ears. It was determined that the hive must have been disturbed either when the undocumented individuals tripped the sensor or when the agents responded to the alarm.
Africanized bee attacks, especially in the southern states, kill an average of 53 people in the U.S. each year. Dubbed "killer" bees, these insects are largely indistinguishable from more common bees. Had it not been for Agent Monnett's quick actions, Agent Overbey may not have survived this horrific ordeal, according to the Memorial Fund.
Agent Monnett and other Officer of the Month award winners for 2013, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., in May of 2014 during National Police Week.