An Independence police officer and three Blue Springs officers on Friday received awards for courage.

An Independence police officer and three Blue Springs officers on Friday received awards for courage.


IPD officer Roger Lane and Blue Springs officers Brandon Claxton, Cody Smith and Sgt. Don Rapp earned the Gold Award for Valor, the highest honor a police officer can receive.


The award ceremony was held at the 39th annual Awards for Valor luncheon at Argosy Casino in Riverside.


Dozens of other metro-area officers were recognized at the event that is sponsored by the Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, Code 1 Credit Unit and the city of Riverside.


On July 4, Lane rescued three children from a burning vehicle after the car had violently crashed on Missouri 291.


The driver of the car tried to elude officers.


The following is part of the police report that Lane had penned after the accident, which he described in the report as “chaotic.”


“I observed there to be a small child … in the car seat. I also observed two smaller children attempting to exit out the broken rear window of the car. I was able to remove the children from the car as the engine area began to catch fire. All three children appeared to be uninjured, however were in shock.”


The passenger, a woman, and the driver, Earl C. Watson, got out on their own.


Watson was convicted and sentenced in federal court with being a felon in possession of a firearm.


On March 7, 2009, Blue Springs officers went to a reported armed disturbance at the Chapel Ridge Apartments.


Claxton saw a woman waving at him from a second floor balcony. Claxton pulled his handgun and ran toward the building. Behind him were Rapp and Smith. They carried shotguns.


Within minutes, according to Blue Springs police, Claxton “was confronted by a male suspect who was armed with a .40-caliber semi-auto handgun.”


The suspect pointed the gun at Claxton’s head and started firing. The officer ducked and fired on the suspect, who moved past Claxton and advanced toward Sgt. Don Rapp and officer Cody Smith. Both officers fired at the man, hitting him.


Cayle Starke, of Blue Springs, was later charged with assault on an officer and armed criminal action. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced.


Also receiving the Gold Award were Kansas City police officer Chad Pickens, who walked into a gun battle when leaving a movie while off-duty. “He was able to take the firing suspect into custody single-handedly and no one was hurt,” according to a release by KCPD.


KCPD officers Dean McGinness and Eric Turner received Gold Awards when they encountered a man who was intent on killing the officers in south Kansas City. Turner and McGinness fatally wounded the suspect. Dash camera video captured the incident.