Exemplary service and bravery of OC Sheriff personnel honored at Medal of Valor

MOV McCann

SANTA ANA, Ca. (Oct. 1, 2021): The Orange County Sheriff’s Advisory Council on Thursday, Sept. 30, recognized 54 members of the Sheriff’s Department for heroic acts and exemplary service at the 33rd Annual Medal of Valor.

Thirty-one medals for Lifesaving were awarded, along with 14 medals of Merit and nine medals of Courage.   K-9 Rosco also received the Canine Medal of Merit for his work apprehending a knife-wielding suspect. Three deputies received multiple medals related to one incident.

In addition, Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes recognized San Juan Capistrano resident Roy Heine with the Sheriff’s Medal of Courage for his bravery in fighting off a suspect who was attacking an elderly woman. 

Award recipients and their families attended a limited-capacity event at the Anaheim Hilton to celebrate their achievements.  A recording of the ceremony can be viewed at

The honorees included:

  • A group of San Juan Capistrano deputies who came to Roy Heine’s aid and safely apprehended a combative and violent suspect.
  • A group of Lake Forest deputies who interrupted a robbery in progress and took three suspects into custody who were later determined to be part of an extensive crime ring. 
  • Three Stanton deputies who performed lifesaving measures on a man gravely injured after he was struck by a train.
  • Two Mission Viejo deputies who saved the life of a man critically injured after being pinned by a commercial-grade lawnmower. 
  • Sgt. Sandra Longnecker as this year’s Distinguished Deputy honoree. Sgt. Longnecker’s exemplary career includes an extensive history working sex crimes, domestic violence and homicide investigations. She also was honored for her work as the Crisis Negotiation Team sergeant and co-coordinator of the department’s Peer Support Program, among other achievements.

Interviews with select recipients can be scheduled, upon request. A brief synopsis of this year’s incidents is attached. Clean B-roll of the event also can be provided to members of the media.

The Sheriff’s Department will be sharing video stories of each incident in the coming weeks on the department’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You Tube social media platforms. Follow @ocsheriff to view videos highlighting the distinguished work of these Sheriff’s Department employees.

Medal for Lifesaving:

  • Coto de Caza: Deputies apprehended a suspect in an attempted murder incident. The deputies provided medical aid to the victim, saving his life. (Because this case is not yet adjudicated, deputies cannot participate in interviews).
  • Laguna Hills: A Community Services Officer pulled a disoriented driver from a burning vehicle.
  • Laguna Niguel: Deputies provided lifesaving measures to a woman trapped in a burning vehicle after a single-car collision.
  • Mission Viejo: Deputies rescued a landscaper who was critically injured after being pinned by a commercial-grade lawnmower.
  • OC Jail: Deputies rescued an inmate who attempted suicide at the Intake Release Center.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita: Deputies revived an infant who became unresponsive after an in-home birth.
  • Stanton: Deputies provided lifesaving measures to a man gravely injured after he was struck by a train.

Medal of Merit:

  • Lake Forest: A deputy saved a young boy attempting to injure himself by running into traffic.
  • Lake Forest: Deputies interrupted a robbery in progress and safely apprehended three suspects later tied to an extensive crime ring.

Medal of Courage:

  • Harbor Patrol: Deputies and a dispatcher came to the aid of a couple whose boat was taking on water during rough seas.
  • Mission Viejo: A Community Services Officer rescued three people from a burning home.
  • San Clemente: Deputies and K-9 Rosco took a knife-wielding man into custody after a lengthy standoff.
  • San Juan Capistrano deputies and resident Roy Heine stopped a violent suspect that attacked an elderly woman.