Liberty officers, Clay County deputies receive valor award

Liberty police officers and six Clay County deputies received an award for valor Friday, Nov. 15. Deputies honored were Cpl. Dakota Williams, Sgt. Jason Garcia, John Bazzano, James Bush, Neil Hessenflow and Cody Minnis. Liberty officers honored were: Sgt. Heather Massey, Christian Childs, Chad Flickinger, Ryan Groves, Isaac Hidy and Dan Jackson.

LIBERTY — Six Liberty police officers and six Clay County deputies are being celebrated as heroes after receiving the Gold Award for Valor for their teamwork during a shooting last year. The award was bestowed on local law enforcement personnel during the 48th Annual Missouri Chiefs and Sheriffs Association Awards for Valor Ceremony Friday, Nov. 15.

The award recognizes people who perform a valorous act amid personal danger.

“It’s an award of valor, which the officers received for their teamwork with the Clay County sheriff’s deputies and the collective valor displayed in facing an armed gunman in August 2018,” Capt. Andy Hedrick, Liberty Police Department’s public information officer, said. “They did what they had to do and kept the neighborhood safe as well as themselves.”

The award stemmed from an incident where Eric Benjamin Richards, armed with a rifle, allegedly shot at law enforcement officers after calling police dispatch.

The incident was resolved as officers returned fire. No officers were injured.

“Safety is paramount and the approach to a scene such as this is one of the most dangerous for officers,” said Hedrick.

Deputies honored were Cpl. Dakota Williams, Sgt. Jason Garcia, John Bazzano, James Bush, Neil Hessenflow and Cody Minnis. Liberty officers honored were: Sgt. Heather Massey, Christian Childs, Chad Flickinger, Ryan Groves, Isaac Hidy and Dan Jackson.

“It’s quite an honor and we’re very proud of our deputies,” said Clay County Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Steve Siercks.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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