TYLER, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - The Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented two Medals of Valor, one Purple Heart, 10 Lifesaving Awards, the 2020 Top Trooper Awards and a Unit Citation to department personnel. Three Director’s Awards were also presented to partner agency personnel at the PSC awards ceremony held Wednesday at the DPS Tactical Training Center in Florence.
“These awards remind of us what our DPS officers do on a daily basis to willingly serve and protect the people of Texas, often under extreme conditions and in dangerous situations,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Their bravery, professionalism and dedication to help their fellow Texans are a credit to this department, and we are honored to recognize them. I would also like to extend our appreciation to Trooper Javier Arana’s family for allowing us to continue honoring his legacy here at DPS through the Top Trooper program.”
The following East Texans were presented either medals or awards by DPS Director McCraw and the PSC at the ceremony:
Cpl. Shana Clark, Texas Highway Patrol—Jasper, and Trooper Aaron Jones, Texas Highway Patrol—New Boston, each received the Javier Arana Jr. Top Trooper Award, given annually to the top female and top male competitor. The 9th annual competition was held over four days in February at the Tactical Training Center. In all, 128 Troopers were evaluated on physical conditioning and endurance, driving and firearms skills, and job knowledge in nine events. The Top Trooper competition was established in 2012, and the award was named in honor of Trooper Javier Arana Jr., who was killed in the line of duty in El Paso earlier that same year. Trooper Arana’s family helped present the awards at the ceremony.
Trooper Matthew Strube, Texas Highway Patrol—Tyler, received a Lifesaving Award. On July 28, 2019, Trooper Strube responded to a call regarding a possible intoxicated driver and discovered a vehicle with two men in medical distress. Trooper Strube also observed a white powdery substance on one person’s lap, and due to signs of an apparent opioid overdose, he administered four milligrams of Narcan to one of the men. The Trooper’s actions restored normal breathing, pulse and consciousness to that individual. (The second man did not survive.)
Trooper Sean Smith, Texas Highway Patrol—Jacksonville, received a Lifesaving Award. On Oct. 26, 2019, Trooper Smith responded to a rollover crash. When he arrived, he found a woman outside of the crashed vehicle with her left arm severed above the wrist. Responding quickly, Trooper Smith applied a tourniquet to her upper arm, which immediately stopped the bleeding. Once the woman was stabilized, he kept her calm and monitored her until EMS arrived.
Sgt. Phillip Davis, Texas Highway Patrol—Palestine, and Trooper Brent Taylor, Texas Highway Patrol—Palestine, both received Lifesaving Awards. On May 5, 2019, they arrived on the scene of a motorcycle crash involving two people who had been thrown from the motorcycle. One man had head trauma, multiple open fractures on both lower legs and was bleeding badly. Sgt. Davis applied a tourniquet to one of the man’s legs, and Trooper Taylor used his tourniquet on the victim’s other leg. The Troopers also kept the man calm until EMS arrived.