Captain Miguel Galvez & Officer Raymond Robertson
Opa-Locka (FL) Police Department and Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Captain Miguel Galvez of the Opa-Locka (FL) Police Department and Officer Raymond Robertson of the Miami-Dade (FL) Police Department as its Officers of the Month for September 2009.
"At that point, I saw Detective Galvez. He was covered in blood, flesh, skin, hunks of meat, and I asked him, 'Are you hit?' He's like, 'No.' At that point, I saw that parts of my body were all over Detective Galvez, on his face and all over his clothing." Officer Raymond Robertson of the Miami-Dade Police Department recalled that conversation as he took the stand in April 2009. For Officer Robertson and Captain Miguel Galvez of the Opa-Locka Police Department, this trial began on October 13, 2006. On that day, these two officers lived through a law enforcement officer's worst nightmare.
Taking part in a joint Tactical Narcotics investigation, then-Detectives Galvez and Robertson were observing a possible apartment full of narcotics and firearms. The two officers were sitting in a dilapidated undercover vehicle when they noticed a male suspect walking toward their vehicle with a firearm. In an effort to retreat, Detective Robertson began backing the car out of the parking lot, but their escape was foiled by another vehicle that purposefully rear-ended their vehicle. The suspect who had been walking toward the car opened the driver's side door where Detective Robertson was sitting, raised his firearm to eye level and then realized that the two occupants of the car were police officers. A fierce gun battle, at point blank range, ensued.
Detective Robertson fired on the suspect, hitting him and knocking him to the ground. Although shot, the gunman began firing into the car, hitting Detective Robertson multiple times. Originally shot in the right forearm, Detective Robertson switched his handgun to his off hand and continued to fire until his left forearm was hit. Losing strength in both hands, he fought through the pain enough to reload and continue firing. Another shot grazed his ear while three additional shots struck him in the chest. His bullet-resistant vest saved his life. Miraculously, Detective Galvez was not shot.
In an attempt to escape, Detective Galvez exited the passenger side door. As he opened the door, the suspect vehicle rammed the passenger door striking Detective Galvez's leg. The impact caused Detective Galvez to drop his firearm in the car. Detective Galvez exited the car with Detective Robertson right behind him. One final round caught Robertson in the fleshy area of his buttocks and lodged in his groin. The two managed to escape through a hole in a fence and made a 100-yard dash to a convenience store to get help, with additional suspects in hot pursuit of the wounded officers.
Once in the store, Detective Robertson began to lose consciousness and relinquished his firearm to Detective Galvez. Keeping the suspects at bay with Detective Robertson's sidearm, Detective Galvez was finally able to call for backup. Additional officers and fire rescue personnel converged on the scene. Detective Robertson was immediately treated on scene and transported to a local hospital where he underwent several surgeries. Detective Galvez was treated and taken to a hospital as well.
In a letter of commendation, Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker wrote, "You experienced every law enforcement officer's worst nightmare and survived. Your fighting spirit and unwillingness to give up are an inspiration to all law enforcement officers and a credit to yourself and the entire law enforcement community." Returning to full active duty, both officers have used their experience to instill the importance of officer safety to fellow law enforcement officers. They have also counseled other officers on operational tactics and the effects of being a shooting victim.
Detective Galvez and Detective Robertson have been recognized for their heroism by several organizations. On October 23, 2008, both officers were awarded the U.S. Department of Justice Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by President George W. Bush. The Medal of Valor recognizes heroic action performed above and beyond the call of duty and is the nation's highest award for valor by a public safety officer.
Miguel Galvez, since promoted to a Captain, continues to serve with the Opa-Locka Police Department. A native of Havana, Cuba, he has spent 20 of his 24 years as a law enforcement officer with the Opa-Locka Police Department. With more than 300 commendations in his file, Captain Galvez is a seasoned investigator who continues to thrive on the challenges presented to him on a daily basis. Captain Galvez remains a member of the department's Tactical Narcotics Team.
Officer Raymond Robertson is a 17-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department. A native of Miami, he says he always knew he wanted to be a police officer. Officer Robertson continues to volunteer on the department's Special Response Team as well as complementing the Tactical Narcotics Team as needed.
Located in the nation's capital, the NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program began in September 1996 and recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Captain Galvez and Officer Robertson, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2009, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2010 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund's 2011 calendar.