Officer Michael Vernon Receives Purple Heart
By Carol Arnett
Several residents and police officers came out to the Florissant City Council meeting last week to see Police Officer Michael Vernon receive the purple heart.
Vernon was injured while searching for burglary suspects on May 28. He was shot three times. One of the bullets hit his spinal cord and he is partially paralyzed.
Police Chief William Karabas called Vernon “a true hero.” Karabas noted that Vernon was a military veteran who served in Iraq. “He served two tours overseas and didn’t suffer a scratch through several firefights,” Karabas said. “Then he came back to us and this happened.”
Karabas said that Vernon had shown his character during his recovery. “He has been in good spirits,” Karabas said.
Ten officers who were also on duty that night were also honored, as well as the dispatcher on duty.
These officers did everything from working to stabilize Vernon after the shooting, to riding with him in the ambulance, to searching for, apprehending, and questioning the suspect. They worked with over 100 officers from other departments who came to assist with the search for the suspect.
The dispatcher was the only dispatcher on duty. She was able to coordinate the Florissant officers as well as the officers from other departments who came to assist, while continuing to answer other emergency calls.
The suspect is currently in custody.
“The men and women who worked that night are the true heroes,” Vernon said. “I salute you,” he continued as he saluted the fellow officers.
Mayor Tom Schneider also praised Vernon and the other officers. He called Vernon’s recovery a miracle. “I think maybe God has a plan for him,” Schneider said.
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