Englander Honors Medal of Valor Recipient LAPD Officer Donald Thompson
Posted by Councilmember Englander on September 02, 2016 at 11:32 AM
Today I was proud to honor a true hero in our community Los Angeles Police Officer Donald Thompson. Officer Thompson, a LAPD Emergency Operations Division Bomb Technician, was honored with the National Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Award at the White House on May 16, 2016 for going above and beyond the call of duty by rescuing an unconscious accident victim from a burning vehicle, saving his life.
On December 25, 2013, Officer Thompson was driving southbound on the 405 freeway to start his shift, when he saw a vehicle about a half mile away collide with the barrier wall.
The car then veered across all lanes of traffic and collided with the concrete center divider. Upon impact, the rear of the car caught fire and continued to slide for another 350 feet before coming to a rest approximately 150 feet in front of Officer Thompson.
Seeing the vehicle fire spreading quickly and realizing there was very little time to spare, Officer Thompson immediately pulled his vehicle to the center divider, jumped two concrete freeway dividers, and rushed to the flaming vehicle. All this as the fire was quickly travelling forward into the driver's compartment. Officer Thompson, without regard for his own life, rushed forward to rescue the driver, forced open the badly damaged front door. After several attempts to release the unconscious driver from his seatbelt, he finally freed the driver and dragged him out of the vehicle.
The driver received treatment for moderate injuries and Officer Thompson was treated for first-degree burns to his arms and face as well as second-degree burns to his right hand. As a testament to Officer Thompson’s work ethic and commitment to duty, he continued his shift after he was released from urgent care.
In addition to being honored with the National Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Award, Officer Donald Thompson has also received the American Police Hall of Fame National Officer of the Year Award in June 2014, the California State Firefighter Association Medal of Valor Award in October 2014, and the Carnegie Hero Medal in December 2014. Officer Thompson is a resident of West Hills.
-Mitchell Englander, Councilmember Twelfth District