Officer, Boulder Police Department, Colorado
Officer Richard Steidell joined the Boulder Police Department after an 11-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was drawn to a life of service after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and was inspired by his uncle’s 20-year service with the New York City Police Department.
Recently, Officer Steidell responded to an active shooter incident where an armed suspect began shooting inside a grocery store. Nine community members and a Boulder police officer were killed. Officer Steidell and other officers formed a team and made entry into the grocery store and came under intense gunfire. As the entry team moved back to cover, Officer Steidell stayed inside armed with only his handgun. Officer Steidell had no cover and was fully exposed, risking his life to stop the threat. Before the gunman could begin shooting again, Officer Steidell immediately fired his handgun, striking the suspect in the leg. The suspect immediately stopped all aggression toward the officers and was taken into custody. The actions of Officer Steidell saved countless lives that day.
Officer Steidell strives to be a community caretaker both on and off duty. One day, when he was driving while off duty, he saw a woman lying in the middle of the roadway. He stopped to render aid and learned she had been trying to take her own life. The woman became combative, and he was able to calm her and to keep her from hurting herself until on-duty officers arrived. Officer Steidell’s calm demeanor and talent for informal leadership is admirable, and he shows great promise for becoming a strong leader in the law enforcement profession.
“I have the honor and privilege to work alongside real-life superheroes. Working with other officers to accomplish one common goal has always motivated me.”