Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt today presented his Office’s Back the Blue Award to six Chesterfield Police Department officers for their role in rescuing a man from a burning vehicle back in September 2020.
“Missouri’s law enforcement serve their communities with bravery and honor, and their sacrifices for their fellow man should be recognized and celebrated. Each day, law enforcement and first responders leave their families, not knowing if they will make it home at the end of the day,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Officers Neimeier, Seeger, Kitrel, Mattaline, Broeker, and Sergeant Koebbe displayed incredible courage and bravery in the line of duty while rescuing a man from almost certain death – I was honored to meet them and present them with the Back the Blue award.”
“I am exceptionally proud that in the face of imminent danger, these six individual officers came together, chose to place themselves in harms way and worked tirelessly as a team to effect this critical rescue and preserve a human life. Each of these officers are most deserving of the Back the Blue Award," said Chesterfield Police Chief Ray Johnson.
Police officers Matthew Neimeier, Zachary “Ty” Seeger, Devin Kitrel, Andrew Mattaline, and Ryan Broeker, as well as Police Sergeant Teresa Koebbe were presented with the attorney general’s Back the Blue award on Friday afternoon for exceptional bravery in the line of duty.
In the early morning hours of September 23, 2020, the six Chesterfield officers came upon a heavily damaged car that had hit a tree on the 14300 block of Olive Blvd. The car was visibly on fire, and as officers approached they noticed a passenger was entangled in wiring and stuck in the burning vehicle.
Faced with extreme heat and imminent danger, Officers Mattaline, Kitrel, and Broeker worked to cut the passenger loose while Officer Broeker provided fire suppression with a fire extinguisher. Moments after officers freed the passenger and moved him to a safe place, there was an explosion inside the car.
If not for the selflessness and bravery of these officers, the passenger would likely have died inside his vehicle.
The Attorney General’s Back the Blue Award recognizes law enforcement across the state for incredible bravery and courage in the line of duty or extraordinary service to the community. St. Louis police officer Michael Langsdorf was posthumously awarded the inaugural award, and officers from St. Charles, Wentzville, St. Louis County, Kansas City, and more have received the award since.