PORAC Members Honored with Governor’s Medal of Valor

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department EMT/Paramedic Stephen Miller and San Diego Police Officer Shawn Boggeman — both members of PORAC — were presented with the Governor’s Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra on December 17 in Sacramento.

“The brave heroes we honor today, Stephen Miller and Shawn Boggeman, knew the risks, but rushed into danger to save lives, and today, we honor their commitment and dedication to their communities and their selfless acts of courage,” said Governor Newsom. “Their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect their fellow Californians is an inspiration to all of us.”

Governor Newsom, Stephen Miller, Shawn Boggeman and Attorney General Becerra

Miller and Boggeman were selected to receive the award from among 36 nominations public agencies statewide submitted to the Medal of Valor Review Board, which then recommends honorees to the Attorney General.

Miller was recognized for his lifesaving actions in the face of imminent peril on February 10, 2018, when the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department helicopter team responded to rescue a woman from San Gorgonio Mountain. The hiker had slipped on an icy patch and slid about 100 yards off the trail, striking a tree and sustaining life-threatening injuries. Due to the remote area and extremely windy conditions, it took 10 hours for the air rescue team to locate and reach the spot where she lay on a 45-degree slope of sheer ice. Miller, a citizen volunteer and reserve deputy, was selected for the rescue because of his prior ice training and experience. Lowered onto the ice below the victim, he used his ice axe to ascend the sheer face in complete darkness. Just as he reached her, part of the ice gave way and Miller began sliding down headfirst, on his back. After about 100 yards, he remarkably was able to use his ice axe to arrest his fall, saving his own life. Fearing he had sustained serious injuries, the air rescue team hoisted Miller back onboard, but incredibly, he returned for a second attempt to reach the injured hiker, using a tree to stabilize her and himself against the helicopter’s downdraft. Miller and his partner assessed the victim’s injuries and carefully placed her into a rescue harness, and all three were safely hoisted back into the aircraft.

Boggeman was honored for his brave actions to protect his fellow officers and community on June 23, 2018, when San Diego Police Department dispatch received a radio call of a violent disturbance at an apartment complex. As Boggeman and other responding officers attempted to contact the suspect from outside his residence, a strong smell of smoke began to emanate from inside. The officers called in the San Diego Fire Department, which breached the door from the hallway, allowing police to make initial contact. Unknown to them, the suspect was in possession of an AR-15 rifle and had donned body armor, and he fired numerous rounds toward officers and fire personnel. After one officer was shot in the shoulder and another rushed to his aid, Boggeman placed himself in harm’s way while returning fire on the suspect. All three officers advanced to the end of the hallway, where Boggeman was able to exit the small exterior window. He perched on an adjacent balcony and continued to fire at the suspect, allowing his fellow officers — now both severely injured by gunfire — to escape through a window. Boggeman remained on the balcony and continued to provide cover and point on the suspect’s apartment until more units and SWAT arrived. Once additional officers arrived on scene, he helped coordinate a perimeter and tactical response. The suspect was later found deceased in his apartment with numerous wounds.

“Those who answer the call of public service put their community’s needs ahead of their own every day,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This year’s Medal of Valor recipients, Stephen Miller and Shawn Boggeman, went above and beyond that call of duty, taking on great personal risk to help others. Their bravery was not just life-changing, it was life-saving, and they have more than earned this honor. It is because of the bravery of public safety officers like them that families in California can breathe easier, knowing they have some of the country’s finest men and women looking out for them.”

PORAC congratulates both members on this great honor. Thank you for being such shining examples of the spirit of valor and public service.