The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Brunkow, of the Boulder County (CO) Sheriff's Office, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for February 2016.
On April 22, 2015, Deputy Brunkow and fellow deputies from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office responded to a situation in which a man was holding two of his in-laws hostage at gunpoint. The suspect had taken his father-in-law and brother-in-law hostage after his estranged wife left him.
Deputies located the suspect and the hostages inside a car in a parking lot, where the suspect was pointing a gun at the hostages and threatening to kill them. The suspect opened a rear door of the vehicle and waved the gun at the officers, warning them to stay back.
The suspect pulled the weapon back into the vehicle, leaving the door slightly open. The car windows had dark tinting, making it impossible to see inside the car. Through the small opening of the door, Deputy Brunkow saw the suspect put the gun to the back of a hostage's head.
Fearing for the life of the hostage, Deputy Brunkow fired a single shot from roughly 120 feet away through the 4-inch car door opening, striking the suspect in the head and killing him instantly.
The victims scrambled from the car and ran to the deputies. They later told the deputies, "You saved our lives." The suspect had battered his estranged wife and made threats to kill her and her family for several months leading up to the hostage situation.
"That shot had saved their lives," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said. "The suspect had just told his brother-in-law to open his eyes and look to the mountains because 'It's the last thing you're ever gonna see.'"
"There is no doubt that Deputy Brunkow's courageous act saved the lives of the hostages," said Memorial Fund Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd. "His quick thinking earns him the honor of receiving our February 2016 Officer of the Month Award."
Located in the nation's capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Deputy Brunkow, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Award, visit www.LawMemorial.org/OTM.
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which contains the names of 20,538 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of American law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.