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Annual luncheon honors service of law enforcement, private security officers

ARNOLD, Mo. – An Arnold police officer wounded in the line of duty drew a standing ovation at the 29th Annual Law Enforcement and Private Security Officers Appreciation Luncheon.

Officer Ryan O’Connor has spent the last 10 months in recovery. He was shot in the back of the head December 5, 2017 while bringing a burglary suspect to the Arnold Police Department. Doctors were unsure if he’d survive, but Officer O’Connor has continued to improve.

The St. Louis Chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security hosts the luncheon to recognize officers who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary performance in the line of duty.

Like St. Louis city police Detective Archie Shaw, who was ambushed and shot in the shoulder while working undercover and left for dead.

“I believe they are the true heroes when you pass away,” Shaw said. “I’m fortunate to be here today and I thank God I am. I still want to serve this community.”

Then there’s Meredith Absolon, a sergeant with the Manchester Police Department. During a traffic stop, she recognized two suspects for identity theft. She was able to handle the encounter without incident; the suspects were arrested and nobody was hurt.

“It’s never the same encounter over and over, so you have to be cool, calm, collected, and speak with someone how you want to be spoken to because you don’t know what they faced on a daily basis,” Absolon said.

These are just two of several officers recognized for outstanding work.

“Even as a 32-year veteran officer, I’m impressed by what these officers do day in day out,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.