HESSTON — Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder will receive the Presidential Medal of Valor.
The White House made the announcement July 27. The date of the ceremony is not yet known.
Schroeder received the nomination for his actions in the Excel Industries shooting on Feb. 26, 2016. On that day Cedric Ford went on a rampage, shooting at random cars in Newton on his way to Excel Industries in Hesston where he worked. At Excel Industries, Ford shot and killed three people before Schroeder brought the rampage to an end by shooting and killing Ford.
Investigators say about 300 people were in the factory at the time.
Schroeder was unavailable for comment, as he was on a family trip.
“He deserves this,” said Gloria Arellano, a member of the Hesston Police Department since 1997. “He is humble about this. Before he even says thank you he wants to be sure everyone knows this is a team effort and that everyone is recognized for their efforts.”
After the shooting Schroeder spoke very little about the incident, though did he did release a statement in March of 2016. In that statement he denied acting as a hero.
“I feel God has prepared me throughout my life and career for these events. I am not a hero,” Schroeder wrote. “I know hundreds of law enforcement officers, each one of them with a different skill set, personality and abilities. I can’t think of one officer who wouldn’t have done the same thing I did. I am so proud of my brothers and sisters in Harvey County Communications, law enforcement and EMS.”
In the fall of 2016 Schroeder was named Law Enforcement Hero of the Year by the Wichita Crime Commission and the Outstanding Law Officer of the Year Award at the National Convention of La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (The Forty and Eight) Veterans Honor Society.
Schroeder is being honored for a difficult day — and for doing something he has, nearly from day one, not considered heroic.
“It is humbling to receive some recognition. Every time I do, I do not accept that as an individual. I accept on behalf of a group of several hundred first responders,” Schroder told the Kansan in Oct. 2016.
He said does not believe his actions necessarily make him stand out, or deserve much in the way of recognition.
“I can’t take credit for it, and say ’yes I did something someone else no one else would,’” Schroeder said. “Everyone of them would have done the same thing that I did that day.”
He was lauded as a hero almost instantly — first by Sheriff T. Walton and then by Gov. Sam Brownback. Now organizations are handing him honors.
He told The Kansan in 2016 being called a hero is not something he is comfortable with.
“I work with good people. The word hero to me, I don’t know, it does not feel very positive. We do the best we can,” Schroeder said. ”... I don’t want to minimize them, and I appreciate that they recognize people in law enforcement. I am about moving on and doing my job. I do not want this to be a distraction in my organization or anyone else.”