HELENA – Three Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) troopers received the Patrol’s highest award – the Award of Valor – in a ceremony today at the Attorney General’s Office. Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and MHP Colonel Steven Lavin presented the awards to Trooper Alex Hiday, Sergeant Jerril Ren, and Trooper Connor Wager.
To qualify for the award, troopers must show an act of heroism and bravery, knowingly expose themselves to obvious life-threatening peril, or react to a situation without regard for personal safety to effect aid or rescue.
“Troopers put themselves in harm’s way every day to serve others, but these acts of valor stand above and are among the best in the Highway Patrol’s long history of service, integrity, and respect,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “As attorney general, it’s an honor to recognize these three members of the Montana Highway Patrol for their acts of heroism and bravery and present them with the Patrol’s highest award.”
“In each of these harrowing circumstances, these men faced life-threatening peril with steadfast courage and unwavering dedication,” Colonel Steve Lavin said. “It is my great honor to recognize them today and I hope that they know, today and always, that they are appreciated by our agency and the entire Montana community,” he concluded.
The three troopers who received the award are:
Trooper Alex Hiday: On March 15, 2019, Trooper Wade Palmer was shot multiple times after locating a homicide suspect north of Missoula. Trooper Alex Hiday responded soon thereafter and provided lifesaving medical attention to Trooper Palmer and removed him from the scene where the suspect was still at large. Trooper Hiday continued to provide medical attention to Trooper Palmer until they arrived at the hospital. Trooper Hiday then returned to the scene to help locate the suspect, who was eventually brought into custody.
Sergeant Jerril Ren: On June 10, 2020, law enforcement was called to investigate a homicide in Flathead County. Hours later, the suspect was spotted by a Flathead County Sheriff’s Deputy. The suspect did not stop for the deputy and was pursued by the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and the Montana Highway Patrol. The pursuit ended on Highway 35 near Woods Bay in Lake County. Upon the pursuit ending, the suspect shot multiple times at the deputy and Sergeant Ren. Both officers returned fire and killed the suspect.
Trooper Connor Wager: On January 17, 2021, Trooper Conner Wager responded to a one-vehicle rollover near Emigrant. The vehicle veered off the roadway and was partially submerged in the Yellowstone River with a driver trapped inside. Trooper Wager entered the near-freezing river tethered to a rope. Due to the fast-moving current, Trooper Wager had to break through the rear window with a rescue tool to save the driver.
PRESS RELEASE PROVIDED BY MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE