Major Marty O’Brien and Deputy Richard Jue
Harris County (TX) Sheriff’s Office
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has named Major Marty O’Brien and Deputy Richard Jue of the Harris County (TX) Sheriff’s Office, as the recipients of its Officer of the Month Award for July 2018.
Hurricane Harvey was one of the biggest disasters to hit the Texas Gulf coast in 2017. Hundreds of water rescues occurred as law enforcement throughout the area fanned out to save the citizens of the region. Among them were Major Marty O’Brien and Deputy Richard Jue, Harris County Sheriff’s Reservists, whose actions were caught by TV cameras.
On August 27, three days after the hurricane first made landfall, waters quickly rose in the Houston area. As truck driver Robert Roberson followed another vehicle on the North Sam Houston Tollway frontage road, he became trapped in deep water that rose to the cab of the truck.
Luckily for Roberson, a KHOU news crew had been filming live from the Tollway above the truck. They noticed the truck and realized someone was still in the cab, needing to be rescued from the rapidly rising waters. While still live, viewers watched as the reporter and cameraman flagged down a passing Harris County Sheriff’s Officer truck towing a boat.
Major O’Brien and Deputy Jue quickly assessed the situation, remembering that another person had perished on that same stretch of road in a flooding incident years earlier. The pair quickly readied the airboat and, without regard for their own safety, launched a rescue operation for Roberson. Quick currents and rising water made for a dangerous situation, but the officers remained calm and positioned the boat next to the truck. Despite the conditions, Roberson was able to climb into the rescue boat. He was taken to a rescue site and then a shelter from the storm.
The entire rescue was not broadcast live. The news crew lost their feed as the storm also damaged their TV station, but they were acknowledged for having alerted the officers to Roberson’s truck in the water, saving his life. After rescuing the driver, Major O’Brien and Deputy Jue went on to save countless others, rescuing them from their flooded homes in the area.
“Major O’Brien and Deputy Jue were successful in their heroic efforts to save the life of the truck driver, who otherwise would have met with a tragic ending,” Harris County Major Douglas Hudson said. “[They] went above and beyond the call of duty in horrific weather conditions, caused by Hurricane Harvey, risking their lives to save others.”
“Major hurricanes destroyed large areas of our country last year and we’ve heard many of heroic law enforcement stories from these disasters,” Memorial Fund Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd said. “We’re grateful for the brave men and women in uniform who put themselves at risk to save members of their communities. For their efforts in rescuing a man who would’ve died under the conditions he found himself in, we’re happy to award the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award for July 2018 to Major O’Brien and Deputy Jue.”
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Major O’Brien and Deputy Jue, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2018, will be honored at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in 2019.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.