Madison Police Department Awards Ceremony honors officers, civilians, for courageous acts

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Wednesday evening's Madison Police Department Awards Ceremony honored both officers and civilians who performed courageous acts and did their part to protect others in 2018.

The ceremony at Monona Terrace featured dozens of awards, from meritorious conduct medals, to citizen recognition awards, to lifesaving awards, and many more.

"I remember everything crystal clear," said Lt. Mike Hanson with MPD West District. He served as scene commander during the shooting at the Paradigm office building in Middleton in Sept. 2018, and was given an award during the ceremony.

"It didn't hit myself or many of the other officers until hours and days later of what transpired, and how much worse this could have been," he said.

Despite his role at the scene in Middleton, he says he does not consider himself a hero.

"It's an uncomfortable title and police officers don’t feel comfortable with the title hero," he said. "It’s awkward because it’s doing our job, it’s something every cop in Dane County would do, and rise to the occasion. And on this test of days, Sept.19, we all did, and they should all be proud."

Hanson said he and the others receiving awards for their roles in the Middleton shooting response represent dozens of other first responders who helped that day as well.

Matt and Connie Phair, who also received recognition at the ceremony, are Madison residents who helped two people escape a submerged car in August. A third person did not survive that night.

"We realized the severity of the situation and did what we could," Matt Phair said.

They said they were riding their bikes one night when they saw the vehicle in the water during the floods.

"Everyday we walk by when we take our dog for a walk, we go by the same exact spot" Connie Phair said. "There isn't a day when I don't think about what happened that night."

The Phairs said they don't consider themselves heroes either.

"It's what human beings do, not even their best days, just on their days," Matt Phair said.

"So many people think that if they were given that situation, they wouldn't do it, but I don't believe it," Connie Phair.

Hanson and the Phairs were among dozens of others honored for their heroic acts.