Governor Newsom Honors Three Law Enforcement Officers With Medal of Valor

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Governor Newsom today presented three California Highway Patrol officers with the Governor’s Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor – the highest state award for valor presented to a public safety officer.


SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, joined by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, today presented the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to three law enforcement officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) who went above and beyond the call of duty. The award, which is the highest state award for valor presented to a public safety officer, was presented to Officer Aaron Adair, Officer Jeremy Welch, and Officer Troy Wiltshire.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “These fine officers represent heroism to the highest degree. With exceptional bravery, their actions went far beyond the call of duty — saving lives and in the process, further building trust with California’s communities.”

Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta present Medal of Valor Award

Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta present Medal of Valor Award

“As California’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, it is a privilege to recognize three officers who represent the best of California law enforcement,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In moments of grave danger, each of these officers went far and above the call of duty, putting their own lives on the line to protect others. They have demonstrated a selfless commitment to safety, service, and security, and are the embodiment of the trust we put in public safety professionals.”

Officer Aaron Adair was awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions on February 20, 2022, when he and his partner responded to a vehicle pursuit crash on Interstate 10 in the Los Angeles area. When Officer Adair arrived on the scene, the vehicle was on fire, and there was an unconscious person trapped inside. As he requested backup from the local fire department, he entered the passenger compartment and quickly cut the airbags and seatbelt, freeing the driver from the seat. Officer Adair, with the assistance of his partner and an off-duty deputy, was able to free the driver right before his side of the car was engulfed with flames. Along with the off-duty deputy, Officer Adair started CPR and other life-saving measures on the driver. Officer Adair suffered severe burns to his left hand.

Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee present Medal of Valor Award to Officer Aaron Adair, Officer Jeremy Welch, and Officer Troy Wiltshire

Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee present Medal of Valor Award to Officer Aaron Adair, Officer Jeremy Welch, and Officer Troy Wiltshire

Officer Jeremy Welch and Officer Troy Wiltshire were awarded the Medal of Valor for their actions on March 20, 2022, when CHP Central Los Angeles received multiple reports of a wrong-way driver on Interstate-10. Officers Wiltshire and Welch responded to the location and initiated a traffic break with their patrol vehicle’s emergency overhead lights and siren. As they were beginning the traffic break to keep traffic behind them, they observed the headlights from the wrong-way suspect vehicle that was approaching them at a high rate of speed. Officers Wiltshire and Welch made a split-second decision to place themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives of the commuters behind them. They maneuvered their patrol vehicle directly in front of the incoming sedan. The sedan was traveling up to 100 miles per hour when it hit the patrol unit of Officers Wiltshire and Welch, effectively stopping it and saving innocent lives from severe injury and potential death. After impact, the officers exited their patrol unit to assist the driver of the sedan, who had suffered major injuries. He survived and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2003 gives the Governor authority to award medals to public safety officers who are recognized by the Attorney General for extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. The Attorney General’s Office receives nominations from public safety agencies. These nominations are reviewed by the Medal of Valor Review Board, which makes a recommendation to the Attorney General.

A recording of today’s ceremony can be viewed here.