The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 28, 2009
CHP officer wins state medal of valor for helping fellow officer

This afternoon, The State Worker pays tribute to a man who has won the state's highest honor for people in his profession, the Medal of Valor for public safety officers.

CHP officer Roger Smith from Red Bluff saved the life of a colleague on Dec. 2, 2008.

Fellow CHP officer David Madrigal had been hit by a shotgun blast and was pinned down and bleeding profusely after responding to a domestic violence call.

We'll let Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently awarded the medal to Smith, describe what the California Haighway Patrolman did next to earn the honor.

On Tuesday December 2, 2008, CHP Officer Roger Smith responded to a domestic violence call to provide backup to Tehama County Sheriff's Deputies and another CHP officer already on the scene. Officer Smith picked up radio traffic indicating that the other officers had come under shotgun fire from the subject, and that one of the officers was injured. While rushing to assist, Officer Smith relayed critical information to the communications center. The injured officer, wounded in the femoral artery and bleeding profusely, advised that he was still pinned down and feeling faint. Upon arrival, and realizing the urgency of the situation, Officer Smith positioned his car, rear doors open and still under fire, so as to facilitate the extraction of the injured officer. Having rescued the bleeding officer from the scene, Officer Smith drove him to awaiting medical personnel.

Smith was among six officers honored for valor. To read about the other five, click here. 

Gov. Schwarzenegger said Smith and the other officers are among the state's "best and bravest," showing "extraordinary strength and character while answering the call of duty."

"In the face of danger, each of these men protected their fellow officers, members of the public and communities. They are true heroes and serve as an inspiration to us all."


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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