The Santa Barbara Police Department is proud to announce that Detectives Brian Miller and Jeff DeForest will receive the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor on Wednesday at the County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.
Miller and DeForest are being awarded the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor for their handling of an extremely dangerous situation of taking a violent fugitive into custody as he arrived in Santa Barbara by train.
The suspect, who had prior law enforcement experience, had picked up his 9-year-old son on a regularly scheduled visit. He then proceeded to burn the family home to the ground and travel across country with his son. The suspect was known to be armed.
The Santa Barbara Police Department was advised by U.S. Marshals that the suspect and his son were on a train that would soon be passing through Santa Barbara. Miller and DeForest went to the train station along with other officers to try to apprehend the suspect.
There was much confusion as to which of the 14 train cars the suspect and his son were on. Miller and DeForest had initially been told that the suspect was in the 14th car. They then got an update that he was in the seventh car. As they headed to the seventh car, Miller caught a split-second glimpse of the suspect through the doorway of the ninth car and was able to identify him. The detectives confronted the suspect as he came out of the restroom of the train car, and the suspect began to fight with the detectives.
Miller and DeForest were able to quickly take the dangerous fugitive into custody, thereby avoiding a possible hostage situation or other violent confrontation.
For their acts of bravery and professionalism in the apprehension of this dangerous felon, they will be awarded the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Valor.
— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.