AUSTIN (KMID/KPEJ)- On Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, the Texas Public Safety Commission, along with Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, presented several prestigious awards to DPS personnel, including a Medal of Valor, two Purple Hearts, five Director’s Citations, nine Lifesaving Awards and two Unit Citations.

The Awards were presented at the Public Safety Commission meeting at DPS Headquarters in Austin. Four Director’s Awards were also given to law enforcement personnel outside the department.

Among those recognized were Senior Trooper Kenneth Pittman, of the Training Operations Division, who was awarded a Purple Heart in recognition of his “great personal sacrifice and professional performance” after he was seriously injury during a vehicle pursuit in Midland County nearly four decades ago. 

On January 11, 1987, Pittman was on routine patrol in Midland County when he became involved in a vehicle pursuit. During the pursuit, the assailants opened the back doors of their van and fired a shotgun, striking the windshield of Pittman’s patrol unit. The broken glass injured Pittman’s eyes and impaired his vision, causing him to drive off the road and through a fence. 

Once his vehicle stopped, the assailants drove up to the crash site and fired two additional rounds at Pittman, one striking the driver’s side window and the other hitting the left rear of the patrol unit. Pittman exited the vehicle and returned fire despite his impaired vision, striking one of the assailants. That person was helped back into the van and the assailants left the scene.

Trooper Pittman was taken to Midland Memorial Hospital where he underwent treatment to remove the glass fragments from his eyes, as well as treatment for several bruised ribs and a twisted knee. Approximately one month later, Pittman returned to full duty.

“These awards are a testament to the courageous acts that take place every day by the men and women who serve Texas,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “To hear their stories and know the actions they’ve taken in order to save a life and put others first is truly remarkable. It is an honor to be able to recognize them here today.”