Trooper Amanda Villa

HELENA, Mont. - A Montana Highway Patrol trooper received an Honorable Mention award Thursday at the 29th annual TOP COPS Awards in Washington, D.C.

Trooper Amanda Villa received the award from the National Association of Police Organizations for her bravery on June 15, 2021, when a Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter landed hard in front of her and crashed from the strong winds during the Deep Creek Canyon fire in Broadwater County according to MHP.

"Without hesitation, she jumped out of her squad car, attempted to radio for additional resources, and ran toward the helicopter that was starting on fire. Without regard for her personal safety, she climbed under the helicopter and pulled four passengers to safety," MHP said.

“Without Trooper Villa’s bravery and quick action, the outcome at the incident could have been much different that day. Because of her selfless actions the entire crew was able to go home,” Attorney General Austin Knudsen said. “Troopers put themselves in harm’s way every day to serve others, but Trooper Amanda Villa’s act of valor stands above and is among the best in the Highway Patrol’s long history of service, integrity, and respect.”

“Trooper Villa’s actions that day are a great example of why I take pride in working with the men and women of the Highway Patrol,” Highway Patrol Colonel Steve Lavin said. “We are fully committed to protecting Montanans.”

“Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa’s actions in response to the helicopter accident on June 15th were an extraordinary example of the exceptional emergency response partnerships that the DNRC is so proud of and grateful for,” DNRC Director Amanda Kaster said last year. “She provided a heroic act of service for which our agency and firefighters are forever thankful.”

The National Association of Police Organizations says TOP COPS are nominated by fellow officers and then selected by an Awards Selection Committee which reviews hundreds of nominations from cases across the 50 states and U.S. territories.

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