The City of Davenport and the Davenport Police Department recognized officers – including the first to receive the Medal of Honor – and civilian staff on Tuesday night for acts of service and bravery throughout 2020.
The department awarded Commendation Bars to 159 sworn and civilian staff who responded to the civil unrest events on May 31 and the week that followed, a news release says. The Commendation Bar is awarded for an act involving grave personal danger in the intelligent performance of duty or for a highly creditable and unusual police accomplishment.
Recognition and awards were also given for several other life-saving situations, including one officer who, while off duty, rescued two young children from drowning in a pond at Crow Creek Park, four officers who applied a tourniquet and performed CPR on a gunshot victim, and six officers who rescued four teenagers from a second-floor house fire.
In addition, four officers received recognition for their promotions, eight members of the Davenport Fire Department’s Tactical Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) were recognized for their efforts during the week of civil unrest, and six volunteers with the VIPS program were honored for 15 years of service.
“To be a police officer is a high calling, one that comes with much responsibility, and I could not be more proud of how the Davenport Police Department served our community with the highest levels of integrity throughout 2020,” said Mayor Mike Matson. “When it mattered the most, the men and women of this department stepped in to preserve the safety of our community.”
Three officers who were ambushed during civil unrest also earned special recognition for their gallantry and bravery while at risk of their own lives. Detective Patrick Sievert and Sgt. Scott Lansing were awarded the Exceptional Merit Award for their conduct, actions and professionalism in a very dangerous and stressful situation.
Lansing also was awarded the Purple Heart Award from the Iowa State Police Association for injuries he sustained during the ambush.
Lt. Gregory Behning was awarded the Police Combat Bar and Medal of Honor for heroically returning fire while under ambush while directing his fellow officers out of the ambush and to safety.
“These three men exemplified great valor when coming under attack during the civil unrest on May 31st. Our department could not be more proud of their professionalism during such a harrowing experience,” said Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski.
The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the Davenport Police Department, and before Tuesday, had never been awarded. By being awarded the Medal of Honor, Behning is now the highest decorated officer in the history of the department.