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Police Officers In Denver Honored For Helping Ethiopian Soccer Team

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Four Denver police officers were honored on Wednesday for how they helped members of an Ethiopian soccer team. They were awarded the Citizens Appreciate Police Award for going above and beyond the call of duty. 

“You look at the random acts of kindness that our police officers extend on a regular basis, you know we do so many things right that don’t make the news, for that I appreciate your efforts,” said Christopher Lujan, Denver’s Deputy Director of Safety.

The soccer team was stranded at Denver International Airport on July 5 because they came up short while paying for some unexpected baggage fees. The airline said the team needed $1,840 for baggage fees and flight change fees.

The officers met with the team’s captain but he told them the team didn’t have the money. The officers worked out a plan with the airline which agreed to waive some of the fees, dropping the balance to $400.

Without hesitation, the four officers, Officers Greg Ceccacci, Officer J. Sewald, Officer Jode Sprague, and Officer Mark Miller, pitched in their own money to help get the team of 20 back in the air.

“These moments of kindness, which I consider from a police perspective, service above self. There are members out there in our agency, in our department, every single day, they’re doing something beyond what would be expected of them,” said Denver Police Chief Robert White.

The team was able to re-book their flight and return home.

Once back in Ethiopia, the team posted a picture with the officers, which quickly got a lot of attention.

The CAP is a nonprofit organization that recognizes Denver Police Officers who serve the public outside their regular call of duty. It was formed in 1978 by Denver Mayor Bill McNichols and District Attorney Dale Tooley.