VALPARAISO | The Valparaiso Police Department honored three officers for their efforts during a May 25 hostage crisis.
The officers, Detective Sgt. Jeff Balon, Officer Jerame Simpson and Officer Keith Perez were all honored at a ceremony Monday night during the Valparaiso City Council meeting.
Chief of Police Michael Brickner presented Simpson and Perez with the department’s Medal of Merit Award, the second highest award presented by the department. Detective Sgt. Jeff Balon was awarded an Honorable Mention Award.
All three officers responded to a call of a man with a gun inside the building at 2612 Calumet Ave.
Perez, who at the time was off-duty and Simpson, who was on-duty, arrived immediately at the location and made entry and confronted the gunman after assisting numerous individuals to safety who were attempting to exit the building.
The officers confronted the armed individual inside the building and exchanged gun fire with the subject. A lengthy hostage situation ensued.
Balon entered the building and, for about five hours, he negotiated with the gunman until the three hostages were released unharmed.
Each officer was presented with their awards by Chief of Police Michael Brickner.