The first Medal of Valor in the history of the Gwinnett County Department of Corrections was awarded to Senior Correctional Officer Amiziah Smith III recently for his life-saving actions following an automobile accident in February.
Officer Smith was driving his prison work detail bus along Indian Trail Road near Oakbrook Parkway on February 25, 2008 when he witnessed an automobile accident. One of the cars in the accident struck a guardrail, returned to the roadway and caught fire. After securing his vehicle, Officer Smith rushed to the aid of two occupants within the burning car. The driver was able to escape after Smith forced open the driver’s door. The passenger was injured and was unable to move on her own. At great personal risk, Officer Smith went to the other side of the car, freed the passenger and carried her to safety. He then used his vehicle’s fire extinguisher and along with another officer, extinguished the fire preventing further property loss.
In a memorandum recommending Smith for the award, Smith’s supervisor, Lieutenant Scott Pickens stated “You immediately addressed security issues with your inmates, rendered assistance without regard for your own safety and continued to work to save the loss of property. Congratulations on a job well done. In my opinion, heroes are few and far between. I’m proud to say that I work with one.”
For his efforts, Officer Smith was awarded the Department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor. This was the first time in the Department’s 50 plus years of existence that a Valor award has been given. Criteria for receiving the Medal of Valor award requires the employee perform “A conspicuous act of gallantry or heroism while risking life or serious injury above and beyond the call of duty and such act shall be performed in extremely hazardous or dangerous conditions.” Officer Smith is a four-year veteran with the Gwinnett County Department of Corrections and is assigned to the Field Operations Unit.
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