GR Police Offices awarded Medal of Valor during City Council Meeting


Det. Kevin Lennon, Chief of Police Sturlaugson, Sgt. Jesse Nielson, and Officer Zachary Owens – Photo submitted by the City of Green River

Tiffany Asher, [email protected]

GREEN RIVER, WYOMING — During the Green River City Council Meeting, three Green River Police Officers were presented with the Medal of Valor for their heroic actions that took place on July 6, 2021.

Green River Chief of Police, Sturlaugson stated, “In July of 2021, these three officers were involved in an incident that simply doesn’t happen very often in Green River. What began as a very scary assault on two of our younger citizens ended that night when these officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect from that incident. Their actions that night brought that incident to a safe conclusion for the city and its citizens, so we’re here to award them for their actions.”

The award states, On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, officers received a report of an aggravated assault in which the subject brandished a weapon and threatened to shoot two juveniles. Sgt. Nielson located the vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. Officers Lennon and Owens responded to Sgt. Nielson’s location as backup officers and to assist with the evolving innocent. Due to the severity and nature of the report, verbal commands were issued to the suspect from their control vehicles. The suspect refused to exit the vehicle or comply with commands. Due to the suspect’s behavior, officers on the scene relocated to a better position of cover. Within seconds of moving to the new location, the suspect exited his vehicle with a rifle and began firing the rifle in the direction of the officer’s prior location. Officer Lennon, Officer Owens and Sgt. Nielson all returned fire and the suspect reentered his vehicle. The suspect was wounded during the firefight, which ended his actions and he was taken into custody. The actions of Officer Lennon and Officer Owens with the actions of Sgt. Nielson and the leadership of Sgt. Nielson that night saved their own lives and all the officers on scene. They also potentially saved the lives of innocent civilians driving by and walking in the area. Their actions exemplify the seriousness with which they approached their jobs as police officers and the commitment they have made in protecting the City of Green River and the citizens who reside here.”


Sturlaugson explained that the reason the awards took so long to be presented was because of the nature of the case. “We couldn’t do anything until the case was concluded.” He mentioned that it was very fitting to be able to present them with their awards during National Police Week.

Sturlaugson presented them with the Medal of Valor to congratulate them on their courage and commitment. Their actions and leadership saved their lives and the lives of the other officers on the scene. Mayor Pete Rust also shared a congratulation for the officers but was not present during the meeting.