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Press Release

Two Pocatello Police Officers Honored in Justice Department’s Sixth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Idaho

BOISE – Two Pocatello Police Department officers—Corporal Demetrius Amos and Patrolman First Class Mackenzie Handel—received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing at a ceremony presided over by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Monday in Washington, D.C.  Corporal Amos and Patrolman Handel were two of only nineteen law enforcement officers and deputies from 15 jurisdictions across the country to receive this prestigious honor this year.

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, and Tribal sworn rank-and-file officers, deputies, and troopers for exceptional efforts in community policing.  The awarded individuals have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: criminal investigations, field operations, or innovations in community policing.

Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei and Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad attended the ceremony along with representatives from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.

“Every day, law enforcement officers across the country are asked to respond to some of the most difficult, most dangerous, and most traumatic moments that our communities face,” said Attorney General Garland. “Today’s awardees exemplify the very best of the noble profession of policing.”

In May 2022, Officers Demetrius Amos and Mackenzie Handel and their trainees (new hires on just their third day with the Pocatello Police Department) responded to a domestic disturbance in which a man was threatening a woman and a child with a gun.  When the officers and trainees arrived, the subject turned his rifle on them. Officer Amos fired twice, and the subject fled to an alley, took cover, and lay in wait to ambush them when they followed.  When they did, he fired multiple rounds—gravely injuring Amos and then injuring Officer Handel, who had placed himself in the line of fire to protect his trainees.  Handel was able to direct additional responding officers to the subject, who surrendered, and to guide a new hire in providing emergency medical care for Amos and himself.  The subject was transported to a local hospital by ambulance; Amos and Handel were evacuated in patrol vehicles.  Officer Handel’s selflessness and quick thinking resulted in his own injury but likely saved the lives of officers around him, including Officer Amos. Amos’s encouraging messages to his department through his period of recovery unquestionably improved morale among colleagues who had been affected by the incident.

“Corporal Amos and Patrolman Handel are extremely well-deserving of this honor,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit.  “They responded with bravery and professionalism to protect the community from a cowardly act of violence.  The officers that assisted them immediately after the shooting and, indeed, the entire Pocatello Police Department, also have our praise and gratitude.  All of their actions during this traumatic event, and in its aftermath, represent the best of law enforcement and are a credit to Idaho.”

The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing is made possible through the Department’s work with national law enforcement stakeholder groups, who play a vital role in the review process.  The result is this annual awards program, which allows the Department to highlight a group of officers whose commitment to their communities is obvious through their exceptional efforts.

A list of award winners can be found here.  Complete information on the Sixth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing can be found here.




Public Information Officer

(208) 334-1211

Updated June 7, 2023

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