Thursday, May 22, 1997 | 11:06 a.m.
Three Metro Police officers have been awarded the department's highest honor, the Medal of Valor.
Officers Andrew Patzer, Edwin Serrano and Richard Servoss received their awards by Sheriff Jerry Keller at a ceremony Wednesday at City Hall.
Also honored were 15 other Metro officers for "their heroism above and beyond the call of duty," Keller said.
Servoss piloted Metro's search and rescue helicopter on Feb. 24 within half a mile of a site on Mount Potosi where a pilot and two local radio station technicians crash landed a helicopter.
"Officer Servoss is the reason those people are alive," Lt. Dwight Mahan, who oversees the search and rescue crew, said at the time.
Patzer and Serrano, along with a civilian, went into a burning house "not once, not twice," but four times to pull out the victim, 74-year-old Don Bresnahan, Keller said when he handed the pair their awards.
Bresnahan succumbed to his injuries two days later.
"The thought of someone being inside -- I couldn't stand that," Patzer said.
Officers Diane Krause and Travis White were given a new award for community service for helping the mother of six children clean up her apartment. The officers contacted social service agencies to assist the family, who lived in what police called "a filthy apartment infested with roaches." Food, clothing and furniture were donated to the family because of Krause and White's efforts.
"That's policing," Keller said. "It's not always to chase the bad guy. It's helping people."
Officer Luis Norris was shot four times from a gunman in a car during a family disturbance call on Jan. 29. Norris, who was struck in the chest in his bullet-resistant vest and in the foot, returned fire and caught the suspect, even though he was injured. Keller presented him with the Medal of Honor.
Officers Michael McDonald, also a city councilman, and James Mitchell successfully campaigned against handbill peddlers on the Strip; earlier this year the Clark County Commission passed a law making handbill distribution illegal. For their efforts, the officers were given the Exemplary Service Award.
Officer Charles Cain, assigned a year ago as the in-house officer at the Weeks Plaza low-income housing projct, was given a Community Service Award for "generously giving to the community," Keller said.
Officers Michael Hawk, Patrick Ledbetter, James Seebock, Michael Game, Jim Minello, Curtis Wills, Laurance Cox, Mike Iacono and Michael Richards were given Meritorious Service Awards because of their efforts in apprehending suspects in stolen vehicle and hostage incidents.
It was standing-room-only as friends, family and fellow officers overflowed into the hallway, waiting for their turn at the podium in the department's small conference room.