John Day trooper gets national award

Trooper Marv Ritter grasps the rope as he gets ready to bring Milton Pearlman to safety in the May 2010 rescue operation.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oregon State Police (OSP) Trooper Marv Ritter of John Day will receive an award this week at the 18th annual TOP COPS Awards ceremony in the nation's capital. 

The ceremony will be held Thursday, May 12, at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Ritter, 58, is being recognized with a honorable mention for his daring rescue of Milton Pearlman, 90, who drove off the road and into the swollen John Day River last May in Picture Gorge, east of Dayville. Putting himself at considerable risk, Ritter donned a life jacket and plunged into the river several hundred feet upstream from Pearlman. He was able to reach the elderly man, stranded in the rushing water, with a life jacket. Other rescuers and bystanders helped pull the two men by rope to the shore.

Ritter is traveling to Washington to be at the annual ceremony, an event sponsored by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) since 1994. The purpose of the TOP COPS Awards is to educate the American public about the nation's heroes and to pay tribute to law enforcement officers in federal, state, county, and local agencies from across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the preceding year.

Nominations are submitted by fellow officers from whom the top 10 cases are selected as the 2011 TOP COPS. In each remaining state, one case is selected for which the officer(s) will receive an honorable mention award.

"Trooper Ritter's response that day was truly heroic as put himself at great risk going into the water to save Mr. Pearlman. The men and women of our Department are very proud of Marv and the special recognition he is receiving from the NAPO," said OSP Superintendent Chris Brown.

Last August, Ritter received the OSP Harold R. Berg Lifesaving Award for the rescue. Ritter works out of the John Day work site.

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