Sgt. Brad Edmonds of the Altus Police Department received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Oklahoma Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for his selfless action that lead to the rescue of two Altus residents in danger of being trapped inside a burning home in December 2012. Altus Police Officer Sgt. Don Wood was also selected as the American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. These two officers were nominated for these awards on their acts of bravery, heroism, courage, professionalism and dedication to the law enforcement profession.
“I am extremely proud of what officers at the Altus Police Department do for our citizens and community every day and I’m certain that Sgt. Edmonds and Sgt. Wood are humbled by these prestigious awards. Their dedication, loyalty, professionalism, ethical and moral standards are certainly held in high regard and qualities I believe citizens expect and deserve from police officers,” said Altus Police Chief Tim Murphy.
As Edmonds was ending his nightly tour at 6 a.m., a call went out stating that there was a structure fire in progress on N. Blain Street. He considered the time it might take for firefighters to deploy to the scene, and the response time for police officers just starting their shift, and decided to investigate the fire.
“I thought maybe I could help,” said Sgt. Edmonds, who became an officer for the Altus PD in 2006, after having been a firefighter for 3 years in Vernon, Texas.
“The front door was open,” Edmonds explained. “I could see smoke inside. When I looked down under the smoke I could see a pair of legs walking around in there. I went into the house to see who those legs belonged to… to see if I could get him out the door. It was an older man, and he seemed disoriented.”
Edmonds directed the man outside and was told that someone was in the front bedroom where the blaze originated. He found a woman lying on the floor near a burning mattress.
“The way she was laying I couldn’t get her picked up,” Edmonds said. “I sat down beside her and I talked to her and said, ‘I’m not leaving until you do. The fire department is on the way. Hang in there.”
Several critical minutes later, the fire department arrived and Edmonds signaled to the approaching firemen. The woman was taken to safety moments before that room was fully engulfed.
“I was just doing what I think any police officer in that situation would have done,” he said.
Edmonds also received the FBI Law Enforcement Award in 2013 because of his brave actions, and was chosen to fly with the Thunderbirds after being named a Hometown Hero in 2014.