Officer deserving of national honor

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We sympathize with Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Morrow not wanting to relive the events of Feb. 12, 2013.

Morrow, the school resource officer at Chelsea Middle School, was thrown into action that day when, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Ryan Matthew Sims allegedly entered the school wielding a gun before taking five CMS students hostage in the school’s locker room.

Upon learning of the situation Morrow and CMS Principal William Harper rushed to the locker room, where they spent 20 minutes talking with the suspect. Eventually, Sims agreed to release the girls and surrender to law enforcement officers, according to Sheriff’s deputies.

To honor Morrow’s actions in defusing what could have been a tragic situation for everyone involved, Shelby County School System leaders worked with the National Sheriffs’ Association to organize a surprise pep rally at the school on March 14.

During the event, the National Sheriffs’ Association awarded Morrow its prestigious Medal of Valor for his actions during the 2013 hostage situation.

Each year, about 20 people are presented with the Medal of Valor nationwide for “an act of outstanding personal bravery, intelligently performed, in the line of duty at imminent personal hazard of life,” according to the National Sheriffs’ Association website.

The incident at Chelsea Middle happened while the nation was still reeling from the terrible December 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Had it not been for the department’s preparations to avoid a similar tragedy here – and for Morrow’s professionalism under extreme pressure – this story may not have had a happy ending.

“This is a very, very big shock, but it’s a great honor,” Morrow said during the March 14 pep rally. “I wouldn’t want to relive last year, but I’m thankful that you guys, the staff and students, were prepared enough to know what to do in a time of crisis. I appreciate you very much.”

We can think of nobody more deserving of such an honor.

The editorial is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.