The International Association of Chiefs of Police has partnered with Target to recognize the exemplary performance in professional policing. The organization seeks to recognize the performance of law enforcement agencies both domestically as well as internationally.
The Police Officer of the Year Award is described by the organization as the most prestigious law enforcement award to be offered. This award is meant to recognize outstanding and heroic achievements among police officers across the globe and highlight the sacrifices made daily by the members of law enforcement.
For the year, four finalists are selected one of which will receive this award, and this year a member of the Corpus Christi Police Department is one of those finalists. Senior Officer Armando Gonzalez has been nominated for the award based on his acts of heroism while serving the Corpus Christi area.
On March 20, Gonzalez was responding to assist a fellow officer who was attempting to make contact with a person who fit the description of a prowler. As Officer Gonzalez arrived he observed the suspect pull out a gun and begin firing at him and his fellow officer.
It was only a matter of seconds before he saw the other officer go down after being hit in the neck and leg from the gunfire. Officer Gonzalez as it turns out was struck by one of the bullets as well.
Returning fire, the suspect was wounded in the chest before getting into one of the patrol vehicles and attempting to flee from the scene. In his attempt to escape the suspect struck a telephone pole and was later apprehended.
Despite being wounded, Officer Gonzalez rushed to the aid of his fellow officer who was bleeding from his injuries. Gonzalez immediately sprung into action by applying a tourniquet and in doing so helping save the life of his fellow officer.
Other officers nominated for the award were Officer James F. Cunningham of the San Francisco Police Department, Sgt. Lawrence A. Litzell Jr. of the Florida Highway Patrol and Officer Justin R. Wester of the New Bern North Carolina Police Department.