Idaho Medal of Honor Recipient
August 18, 2021
Officer Celina Mortensen
Caldwell Police Department
On the evening of March 28, 2020, Caldwell Police Department Patrol Officer Celina Mortensen responded to an address on Colorado Avenue following multiple 911 calls reporting gunshots. The suspect fired a gun at a woman as she was fleeing a residence. Later, the suspect forced his way into a nearby house and held those inside at gunpoint before firing a shot at a passing vehicle. A woman inside the vehicle suffered minor injuries. When officers arrived, the suspect began shooting at them with a shotgun, handgun, and a high powered rifle. The officers returned fire. Officer Mortensen was the third patrol car to respond. Following the lead of her patrol team leader, Officer Mortensen exited her vehicle and immediately returned fire. Her proactive actions placed her own life in danger by drawing the suspect’s attention away from a neighbor he was threatening, likely saving her life and allowing other officers to reduce the active shooter threat. Officer Mortensen was advised there was a possible second shooter in the neighbor’s house threatening the life of the resident. Without regard for her personal safety, Officer Mortensen entered the house alone to clear it of any potential threats and rescue the resident, who was in hiding inside. She provided comfort to the resident and directed her on how to remain safe until the scene was cleared. The suspect was eventually wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.
Through indomitable courage, complete disregard for her own safety, and profound concern for the safety of others, Officer Celina Mortensen showed great determination and bravery. Officer Mortensen’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity, with danger to her own life above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the Caldwell Police Department and Idaho law enforcement.