Pres. Obama Award Medal of Valour to SMC Police Capt. Bottenfield
Receives Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Along with Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks of the Santa Monica Police Department
May 23, 2016
President Obama awarded a 2013-14 Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor- the highest national award for valor presented to a public safety officer- to Captain Raymond Bottenfield of the Santa Monica College Police Department (SMCPD) at a ceremony held Monday, May 16 in the White House in Washington, D.C. Officers Jason Salas and Robert Sparks of the Santa Monica Police Department also received Medals of Honor for their response-along with Bottenfield-to a 2013 shooting rampage which ended on the Santa Monica College campus.
The White House said in a statement Friday that Capt. Bottenfield and Officers Salas and Sparks were being recognized "for courage and composure in ending a deadly rampage." The three officers "placed themselves in mortal danger to save the lives of students and staff" when they confronted 23-year-old gunman John Zawahri in the college library.
"All of us who witnessed it felt such a deep sense of pride to see President Barack Obama recognize our SMC hero Capt. Raymond Bottenfield for his selfless act of valor," said Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President. "Our Santa Monica College community holds a debt of gratitude to Capt. Bottenfield, as well as Officers Salas and Sparks. They saved the lives of our students and staff by putting their own lives in mortal danger without any hesitation on that day in June 2013. These men-and all who responded that day-are true heroes in our eyes."
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the medal-authorized by the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001-is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.
Capt. Bottenfield-and Officers Sparks and Salas-have also received the Peace Officer Valor Award from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the Governor's Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from California Governor Jerry Brown, and the Medal of Valor from The California Peace Officers Association.
Capt. Bottenfield has almost two decades of law enforcement experience. Prior to joining the SMC Police Department, he served as an officer with the Los Angeles Housing Authority Police Department and in roles including officer and detective with the Los Angeles School Police Department. He began working for the SMCPD as a Sergeant and became the first Captain in the agency's history in 2013. Capt. Bottenfield earned a Master of Science degree in Emergency Services Administration from California State University, Long Beach, while working full-time at SMC.
When not at work, Capt. Bottenfield enjoys being outdoors: fishing, riding his bicycle along the beach, working out-and cooking on his barbecue grill.