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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

April 8, 2010 at 9:31 AM

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SPD officer who shot Clemmons earns national honor

Posted by John de Leon

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has named Seattle police Officer Benjamin L. Kelly its Officer of the Month for March 2010.

The Washington, D.C.-based memorial fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America's law enforcement officers. The Officer of the Month program recognizes federal, state and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty, according to a news release.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 1, Kelly ended an intense, two-day manhunt when he fatally shot Maurice Clemmons, who killed four Lakewood police officers in a Parkland coffee shop on Nov. 29. Kelly testified about the shooting during an inquest that ended Wednesday with the jury finding Kelly had reason to believe he was in imminent danger when he encountered an armed Clemmons.

"Had it not been for Officer Kelly's quick reaction, Clemmons could have been successful in murdering another police officer," wrote Seattle Police Capt. David Emerick, who nominated Kelly for the Officer of the Month Award.

Kelly is a five-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department and serves on the Advanced Training Unit - Tactics Cadre. He received his department's Officer of the Month Award in January 2010 and April 2006.

Kelly, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2010, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2011 during National Police Week.

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