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February 2006

Officer Christopher Hunter

Hoover (AL) Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Police Officer Christopher Hunter of the Hoover (AL) Police Department as its Officer of the Month for February 2006.

Officer Chris Hunter became interested in law enforcement at an early age. He dreamed of garnering the same respect his grandfather, a New York State Conservation Officer, received from the residents of the small community in which they lived. Regardless of whether he was on or off duty, young Chris Hunter knew that his grandfather's presence was comforting to those he was sworn to serve and protect. On September 30, 1996, inspired by his grandfather and uncle, a New York State Trooper, he took the same oath they had taken years before. Officer Hunter's career began in a small town in Ulster County, New York and he too soon began to receive the respect paid to officers in close-knit, law abiding communities.

Over the last years Officer Hunter has worked with several different departments, honing his skills in criminal interdiction, special operations and interstates criminal enforcement units. On his first stop as an interdiction officer he was responsible for apprehending a suspect listed on the terrorist watch list, confiscating the 41 kilos of cocaine and several assault weapons found in the suspect's vehicle.

Only six months after joining the Hoover Police Department, on January 6, 2005 Officer Hunter was on patrol when he was flagged down by a woman who explained that the local pharmacy was being robbed by three armed gunmen. Hearing the report on his radio, Officer Hunter reported to dispatch that he was already on the scene and moved his cruiser into position.

As Officer Hunter exited his cruiser, three suspects with weapons drawn exited through the front door of the establishment. Officer Hunter identified himself as a police officer and instructed the suspects to put their weapons down. Immediately the suspects opened fire, showering the area, filled with innocent citizens, in a hail of gunfire. Officer Hunter returned fire causing the suspects to flee in separate directions.

One of Officer Hunter's rounds wounded a suspect, who continued to fire as he attempted to flee the scene in a get-away vehicle. He was only able to go a short distance before the vehicle crashed. When finally arrested, this one suspect was armed with a Glock 9mm handgun and a .40 caliber Glock pistol. He was arrested on site and his subsequent confession led to the arrest of the two other suspects later that same night.

In the end, over 40 rounds of ammunition were fired during the incident in front of the crowded pharmacy. It was by far the biggest shootout the city had ever seen. Roughly $9,500 worth of drugs including morphine, methadone and other narcotics was recovered from the robbery. Officer Hunter had only been with the Hoover Police Department for six months and this was his first time ever coming under fire. "I don't really remember a lot of it; training took over," he explained after the incident.

For his actions that day, in not only saving many innocent lives at the pharmacy, but for keeping thousands of dollars of stolen drugs off the street, Officer Christopher Hunter was awarded the department's Combat Cross. Sergeant C. D. McKay stated, "Day in and day out, Officer Hunter leads by example and I commend him for his "professionalism under fire and the bravery he exhibited in an extremely dangerous situation."

Officer Hunter continues to serve with the Hoover Police Department. He believes his greatest achievement as an officer was protecting the lives of innocent civilians during the shootout. He participates in the ICE and K-9 programs at the department and is a member of the National Criminal Enforcement Association. He is married and is very proud of his two sons.