Two KC police officers honored at White House

WASHINGTON | A holiday night act of charity two winters ago led to honors on a spring afternoon in the White House Rose Garden today for two Kansas City Police officers.

And some thanks from the president, as well.

Christopher Skinner and David Loar were among about three dozen police officers from around the country singled out by their peers as “Top Cops.”

“I never thought an alarm call would lead us to Washington, that’s for sure,” Skinner said after the ceremony. “What often is pretty mundane turned into this.”

It was the first time since the Clinton administration that the “Top Cop” award ceremony, presented by the National Association of Police Officers, took place in the Rose Garden.

The group honored Skinner and Loar for their efforts to help a homeless man, who they found during a routine call on New Year’s Eve 2007, get his life back together.

Thanks to them, the 70-year-old retired truck driver, who spent seven years living hand-to-mouth, now has his own apartment and is receiving Social Security. He has not sought any publicity.

“This is difficult moment for our nation,” said President Barack Obama, standing under a brilliant blue sky before an audience of the officers’ families and supporters.

“But I’m heartened by the folks who are standing behind me who’ve demonstrated today by acts of selflessness and bravery what it mean to be responsiblewhat it means to serve. I’m honored to welcome you to the White House.”