Retired Lewiston Police Officer Receives Medal Of Honor next Week
Idaho Office of Attorney General
BOISE – Ten Idahoans will be awarded the Idaho Medal of Honor during a ceremony next week at the Idaho Capitol. One of which is Retired Officer Eric Olson of the Lewiston Police Department. He will be receiving the award for conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally meritorious conduct at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
On April 17, 2019, Lewiston Police officers responded to a reported drive-by shooting. Ofc. Olson located the suspect’s vehicle in a residential area in Lewiston. The suspect shot multiple rounds at Ofc. Olson, who in turn, returned fire. The suspect fled in his vehicle. Ofc. Olson pursued the suspect through a residential area where the suspect shot multiple rounds at him. Ofc. Olson exited his vehicle and returned fire.
From the two gunfire exchanges, Ofc. Olson’s vehicle was hit three times but was not incapacitated. The suspect fled in his vehicle again, pursued by Ofc. Olson and several other Lewiston officers through residential and commercial areas of the city. The pursuit and gunfire continued until it finally ended with a standoff that led to the suspect’s death. Throughout the incident, Ofc. Olson continued to pursue and re-engage the suspect in an effort to protect his community and fellow officers.
Through indomitable courage, complete disregard for his own safety, and profound concern for the safety of others, Ofc. Olson showed great determination and professionalism. Ofc. Olson’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity, with danger to his own life above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the Lewiston Police Department and Idaho law enforcement.
The ceremony will include both 2020 and 2021 recipients after the 2020 ceremony was postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 recipients include two firefighters and two law enforcement officers. The 2021 recipients include six law enforcement officers. Each will receive the Idaho Medal of Honor for performing with exceptional courage and bravery while protecting the public.
Medals will be awarded Wednesday, August 18, at the Idaho Capitol in Boise. The ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Auditorium, located in the west wing of the Garden Level.
The state’s highest honor for law enforcement officers, firefighting professionals, and emergency medical service providers will be awarded to:
- Firefighter Jason Beck, McCall Fire Protection District (2020);
- Firefighter Jonathan Metz, McCall Fire Protection District (2020);
- Corporal Eric Duke, Nampa Police Department (2020);
- Officer Eric Olson, Lewiston Police Department (2020);
- Sergeant Justin Anderson, Post Falls Police Department (2021);
- Conservation Officer Randy Martinez, Idaho Department of Fish and Game (2021);
- Officer Robert Heaton, Caldwell Police Department (2021);
- Corporal Ben Heinrich, Caldwell Police Department (2021);
- Officer Celina Mortensen, Caldwell Police Department (2021); and
- Officer Seferino Tapia, Caldwell Police Department (2021).
“As chairman of the Idaho Medal of Honor Commission, it’s my distinct honor to announce this list of very deserving recipients,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “We have ten individuals who exemplify what it means to act with bravery and selflessness. On behalf of the entire commission, I congratulate each recipient and thank them for going above and beyond to protect the public.”
Beck and Metz will be honored for their actions following a fatal home explosion on March 17, 2019, in McCall. They were able to reach and extricate a victim who was trapped amid burning debris in the home’s basement.
The commission selected Duke as a 2020 recipient after his actions on March 27, 2018. Duke responded to a report of a stabbing in which a man had stabbed or slashed female residents at a Nampa home. Duke helped secure the suspect and end the threat while also performing life-saving measures on one of the victims.
The 2021 recipients include four members of the Caldwell Police Department. Heaton, Heinrich, Mortensen, and Tapia will receive the Medal of Honor for responding to a report of an active shooter at a home on March 28, 2020. Each helped end the threat presented by the suspect who fired a rifle, shotgun, and handgun at the officers.
Martinez will be honored for his actions while off duty on March 29, 2020, at a property near New Meadows. Nearby, two Adams County Sheriff’s deputies were responding to a call when a suspect opened fire and pinned the deputies behind their patrol vehicles. Martinez aided the deputies by relaying information about the shooter to them and then firing at the suspect when he advanced toward the officers. Martinez’s actions forced the suspect to flee and helped end the threat to the two deputies.
On March 3, 2020, Anderson was fired upon by a suspect while conducting surveillance outside a Post Falls residence. Anderson was hit in the abdomen but returned fire. He was able to retreat to his patrol vehicle and relay information to other officers, who were then able to establish a perimeter and prevent the suspect’s escape.
The Idaho Legislature created the Idaho Medal of Honor in 2004 to generate statewide recognition for extraordinary acts of valor and heroism by Idaho firefighters and police. Emergency medical service (EMS) providers became eligible for the award in 2005.