Missoula police officers have been placed in harm's way several times in the past year, and the City of Missoula will honor these officers in two separate ceremonies in May.

On January 7, 2013, officer Deni Poling was struck and run over by a suspect, Dawnette Eaton, 47, as she was attempting to escape arrest on a probation violation. Poling was seriously injured in the incident. Lieutenant Richard Stepper was the officer who fired his weapon at the escaping vehicle, shooting Eatson in the shoulder. She is currently in jail on $250,000 bond.

"We've decided to hold a separate awards ceremony on May 9, in the city council chambers. Officer Deni Poling will receive the Purple Star, Lieutenant Richard Stepper will receive the Police Medal, and officer Michael Kamerer will receive a special award for going above and beyond the call of duty in helping Poling and her family after her injury," Muir said.

Officer Ben Freudenerg will receive a lifesaving medal for his efforts to resuscitate a woman during the 2012 Missoula Marathon. Officers Matt Stonesifer and Mitch Lang will receive certificates of commendation for their efforts in breaking the case of a series of vehicle break-ins.A civilian employee, volunteer coordinator Tracy Bigley, will receive a certificate of commendation for her efforts to assist and support the department's officers.

"In a separate ceremony on May 14, during Law Enforcement Memorial Week, we will recognize those folks who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and to remind the community that we have much to be grateful for from our law enforcement personnel," Muir added.

Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir