Oregon police officers honored

6:31 PM, Mar 7, 2012   |    comments
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KEIZER, Oregon (KGW) - Two Keizer, Oregon police officers have been awarded the Medal of Valor for freeing a man trapped in a car involved in a fiery wreck last fall. 

Dashcam video showed the terrifying scene, as an electrical transformer burned next to a car that flipped after hitting a power pole in North Salem. 

"The power pole was hit with such force it broke in half, with part of it being thrown into an unoccupied vehicle that was parked just a few feet from the crash," Keizer Capt. Jeffrey Kuhns said. "The initial caller to 9-1-1 reported the crashed vehicle had came to rest on its top and there were people screaming. The transformer from the power pole came to rest on top of the parked vehicle and there were live power lines that were down." 

Sgt. Andrew Copeland and Officer Rodney Bamford were first to arrive on the scene. 

When they realized a man was trapped inside the car, they worked to pull him out. 

Dazed, the victim initially refused and officers could be heard struggling. 

"Several times they were forced away because of the intense heat of the nearby burning car. Knowing that the car was in danger of catching fire and the driver's life was in jeopardy if they didn't get him out, Sergeant Copeland and Officer Bamford persisted and were able to pull him out of the vehicle and moved to a safe location," Kuhns said. 

The officers were awarded the medals at the Keizer City Council meeting on Monday. 

Fellow officers described them as heroes. 

"Because of Sergeant Copeland's and Officer Bamford's quick thinking and willingness to risk their own safety, a citizen's life was saved," Kuhns added.

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