Published Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | 10:20 p.m.
Updated Thursday, May 9, 2013 | 3 p.m.
Police officers from Metro and Henderson police departments were given the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award, and will be honored by President Barack Obama on Saturday.
Seven Metro Police officers and one Henderson Police detective will be honored at the White House Rose Garden for their efforts in combating wanted murderer Jason Baires in a shootout, a White House press release said. The officers were all part of the Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team joint task force that tracks wanted fugitives.
In February, the officers set out to catch Baires. When they arrived at his girlfriend’s home, Baires attempted to hide and then ran as police closed in on him in their vehicles.
Metro Detective Thomas Faller noticed Baires had a gun and ran his car into Baires, pinning his left arm under the front tire. While pinned, Baires fired shots at the officers, hitting Metro Detective Greg Theobald. Henderson Detective David Rowlett returned fire, and Baires was killed in the shootout.
The team then carried Theobald back to the car and took him to the hospital.
“Every member of the CAT team worked in perfect coordination, and a potentially disastrous situation ended with only one officer injured,” the release said.
Metro Police officials said the award is a proud moment for the officers who constantly put themselves in danger each week.
“These officers assigned to the Criminal Apprehension Team do a dangerous job very well on a daily basis,” officials said. “The Metropolitan Police Department is exceptionally proud for their recognition in this event.”
Henderson Police Chief Patrick Moers said Rowlett is deserving of the award. Rowlett has been an integral part of the department working the investigation unit for several years before transitioning to the CAT team, Moers said.
“Dave’s been with us for several years now,” Moers said. “He’s a great investigator and representative for everybody in Henderson. He’s willing to put his life on the line for the community."
The officers who will be honored from Metro Police include detectives Eric Collins, Thomas Faller, Richard Hart, Craig Lilienthal, Troy Radke, Greg Theobald and Linda Theobald, as well as Sergeant David Stansbury.
FBI special agents Daniel Coxon, T. Scott Hendericks III and Christopher McInnes will also be honored along with Henderson's Rowlett.
Officers in nine other states will also earn Top Cop awards at the ceremony.