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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

August 24, 2010

Contact: Special Agent Robert Schmidt, PIO-ATF

Office: (651) 726-0316

St. Paul Police Dept. Officer Recipient of ATF National Award

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) officer was presented today with the ATF Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson at ATF’s 14th Annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

SPPD Sergeant Don Benner, currently assigned to the ATF Violent Crime Impact Team, was presented the award for significantly contributing to the safety of special agents during the preparation, planning and implementation of an enforcement operation with ATF. The Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award is an honorary award established in memory of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Hagop Jake Kuredjian, who died Aug. 31, 2001, in the line of duty while responding to a shots fired barricade situation that involved the safety of ATF special agents. The award became effective in 2002.

Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous occupation. Life and death situations necessitate having experienced, respected law enforcement officers to make immediate decisions. Sgt. Benner’s experience as a patrol officer, detective, and SWAT Team member has been invaluable in protecting his fellow officers, special agents, and the public during enforcement operations, said ATF St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Bernard J. Zapor whose office nominated Sgt. Benner.

Those of us who have worked with Sgt. Benner know that this award is well deserved. His skills and leadership have long been valued by the St. Paul Police Department. We are proud of Sgt. Benner’s work, and proud of him, said SPPD Chief Thomas Smith.

The event honored law enforcement officers, citizens and ATF agents for acts of heroism, service and commitment to public safety.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at