RGC Undersheriff Hart receives Medal of Valor

Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell Rio Grande County Sheriff Anne Robinson presented Undersheriff Heath Hart with the Medal of Valor for his heroic and tactile response to an incident on Nov. 7, 2022. The Medal of Balor is the highest award a law enforcement officer can be presented for actions in the line of duty. Hart was surrounded by fellow law enforcement officials from across the Valley.

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — During a special session of the Rio Grande County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 8, Rio Grande County Sheriff Anne Robinson presented Undersheriff Heath Hart with a Medal of Valor for his efforts to subdue an active shooter last November.

Hart was called to the South Fork area to do a follow up on a stolen vehicle on Nov. 7, 2022, that resulted in exchanging gunfire with the suspect who was subsequently subdued by Hart.

“So as much as I hate anyone being involved in the circumstances that brought us here today, I am fortunate enough to have someone who was and is capable of handling it and we are going to present him with the Medal of Valor,” began Sheriff Robinson. “This is the highest award a law enforcement officer can receive.”

Robinson continued by reading the letter that she included with the Medal of Valor that was presented to Hart.

“On Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at 10:27 a.m., Undersheriff Heath Hart tried to stop a stolen vehicle that he had received a report of earlier that morning,” Robinson said reading the letter. “The driver attempted to allude Undersheriff Hart ultimately stopping on Blackhawk Road at Farnsworth Road in the Upper Alpine Subdivision. Upon stopping the driver got out of the stolen vehicle with a pistol in hand and started shooting at Undersheriff Hart while he was still in his patrol vehicle.”

Robinson continued, “The Undersheriff exercised sound judgment and tactical skills, hiding for cover behind the dashboard of the patrol vehicle. At the first available opportunity, Undersheriff Hart got out of his vehicle and pursued his assailant who ran up the road and was attempting to get into another stolen vehicle. The assailant was shot in the exchange of gun fire and was ultimately taken into custody. Undersheriff Hart was shot under his left arm, thankfully not a life-threatening injury. Undersheriff Hart eliminated a threat to society and is to be commended for his courage that he displayed. We are proud to count him among the ranks of the Rio Grande County Sheriff Office.”

Hart was surrounded by his fellow law enforcement officers from all over the San Luis Valley and beyond when he was presented with the medal and a pin that he can wear on his uniform during duty. Undersheriff Hart received a standing ovation and was congratulated by all who attended the ceremony.

Sheriff Robinson said she will be putting Hart in for the National Medal of Valor award when the application process opens later this year.