Matthew W. Neely, Missouri State Highway Patrol

On March 19, 2018, Troop H communications broadcast that a man and woman suspected in a residential theft in Ridgeway, Missouri, had just fled in a silver Ford Taurus. Trooper Neely spotted the vehicle southbound on Interstate 35. Before Trooper Neely could attempt to stop the vehicle, the driver exited the interstate and crashed into a utility pole. As Neely arrived on scene, the driver and passenger exited the vehicle with the driver fleeing on foot. Trooper Neely informed the passenger she was under arrest and ordered her to remain with the vehicle. Then, as Neely pursued the driver on foot across an open field, the man turned and fired multiple shots at Trooper Neely. The trooper attempted to take cover as best he could. Once the gunfire stopped, Trooper Neely radioed that shots had been fired and advanced on the gunman while commanding him to drop his weapon. The gunman attempted to re-engage Trooper Neely. The trooper fired several shots, striking the gunman twice and ending the threat. Trooper Neely and another trooper provided first aid until medical assistance arrived. The gunman survived. Despite being fired upon, Trooper Neely exhibited exceptional courage and tenacity by advancing on an armed felon, apprehending him, and ending the threat.

Shawn D. Fields, Stone County Sheriff’s Office

On July 19, 2018, Sergeant Fields was off-duty and working security at the Showboat Branson Belle. At approximately 7 p.m., while Sergeant Fields was on an upper level entry platform, a severe storm with near-hurricane force winds quickly developed. Observing that a tourist duck boat was in trouble as it attempted to return to shore against the 70 mile per hour winds and heavy waves, Fields ran down a set of stairs and across the deck to the back of the showboat, positioning himself beside the paddle wheel. Sergeant Fields notified dispatch that the duck boat was sinking and that he was going into the water in a rescue attempt. Fields removed his duty gear and handed it to a Branson Belle employee. He then stripped down to his pants, grabbed a life jacket and, without concern for his own safety, dived into the turbulent water. Fields helped pull multiple people to safety and, unfortunately, removed several victims who did not survive the tragedy in which 17 people died. In the midst of a dangerous, unrelenting storm, Sergeant Fields took immediate and decisive action. Without specialized equipment, he bravely risked his own life by jumping into roiling Table Rock Lake to save lives.

Jeremy E. Bratton and Kyle B. Schmidt, St. Charles Police Department

On December 28, 2018, at six minutes before midnight, 911 received a desperate call for help. A dispatcher heard gunshots, and then the female caller went silent. As the first St. Charles Police Department officers approached the house where the 911 call originated, a white Chevy pickup was pulling away. Officers radioed a vehicle description. The officers made a forced entry into the locked single family residence and discovered three victims dead from gunshot wounds and a 39-year-old woman mortally wounded. As officers administered first aid to the victim, a shots fired call rang out over the police radio. Officers Bratton and Schmidt had seen the pickup leaving the subdivision and activated their lights and siren. The suspect initially fled, and then stopped. As Officer Bratton shouted verbal commands, the suspect, Richard Emery, fired repeatedly at Officer Bratton. Bratton’s patrol vehicle was hit multiple times, but, miraculously, Bratton was not hit. Officers Bratton and Schmidt returned fire but the gunman was able to flee on foot into the darkness. Police launched a search. A short time later, a woman was stabbed seven times in a failed carjacking attempt. Almost seven and a half hours after the first 911 call, a man was found bleeding profusely in the restroom of a St. Charles gas station. Officers quickly took the wounded Richard Emery into custody. Emery’s abandoned pickup had contained an assault-style rifle, magazines, and boxes of ammunition. Officers Bratton and Schmidt had fearlessly engaged a violent, heavily-armed gunman suspected in four killings. The officers’ shooting and wounding of Emery ultimately led to his capture and the end of the threat to the community.