Officers honored at Best of the Badge ceremony

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The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department honored several officers Friday night for their heroic actions.

At the conclusion of a challenging day for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the department honored several officers at the Best of the Badge gala.

“It’s bittersweet, because of what occurred today,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo. “You hear that mantra you know on a daily basis, ‘We put our life on the line.’ Well, it’s true with the police department.”

Friday morning served as a reminder. Police say a man opened fire during a scuffle with a police officer. Another officer shot and killed the man. A stray bullet grazed a rookie officer at the scene.

“By the grace of God, one inch one way or the other, he may not be with us here today,” Sheriff Lombardo said.

“Just the car stop, just the person stopped… there’s no such thing as a typical one. Some go very nice. Some end like the officer… how it ended today,” said Metro Police Officer John Bethard.

Bethard received the Medal of Valor Friday night for his heroic actions June 8, 2014, when two anti-government extremists ambushed two officers while they ate lunch.

“When I heard that I was receiving the award, it brought back a lot of memories,” he said. “Sad and joyous that I was able to help out on that particular day.”

Police say Jerad and Amanda Miller ambushed and killed Metro Police Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo at a valley restaurant last year before running into a nearby Walmart, shooting and killing civilian Joseph Wilcox and engaging in a standoff with police. The assailants died during the standoff.

Bethard was one of the first officers inside Walmart. He says he was involved in the gunfight.

“We know what our job is. That’s kind of what was going through my mind. I know my job,” he said. “Once we were involved in the shootout for approximately 15 minutes, adrenaline comes on a little bit, reality sets in, and, at that point, you’re just hoping to make it out alive so you can go see your family again.”

Metro left two empty seats at Friday’s ceremony for Officers Beck and Soldo.

There is a scholarship fund in their names. Metro also recognized the students who received that scholarship during the ceremony.

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