Las Vegas police SWAT Sgt. James Pate Causey knows the perils of his job.
A .40-caliber bullet lodged in his right thigh is his reminder.
Causey, a SWAT team leader, was wounded Dec. 28 while serving a search warrant outside the Henderson home of an accused drug dealer.
Emmanuel Dozier, 32, fired on police before they could enter the house. Two other SWAT members were injured. Dozier surrendered before police returned fire.
Causey said he and the two other SWAT members injured that day put themselves in harm’s way for the safety of other residents in the house.
"It was easy for us to take a bullet, because we’d gladly take a bullet for the people on the other side of the door," he said.
Dozier’s girlfriend and her 13-year-old daughter were inside with him.
On Tuesday, Causey, 46, officer Patrick Ledbetter, 41, and officer Charles Collingwood, 59, received Purple Heart medals from the police department for being wounded in the line of duty.
They received the awards in front of family, friends and department leaders at Las Vegas City Hall.
Ledbetter and Collingwood didn’t want to comment on their awards, but Sheriff Doug Gillespie lauded their bravery.
"The heroism performed by these officers was done at great risk to personal safety and was directly responsible for the safety of human lives," Gillespie said. "Their actions reflect the highest ideals and standards of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department."
Causey said the medal represents an accomplishment for his entire SWAT team.
Gillespie emphasized that while some have criticized police for the way the warrant was executed in the quiet Seven Hills neighborhood, the officers acted appropriately that day.
Dozier remains in the Clark County Detention Center on $75,000 bail on multiple counts of attempted murder, selling cocaine and battery with substantial bodily harm.
He claims police never identified themselves as SWAT. Police deny the claim.
Contact reporter Antonio Planas at email@example.com or 702-383-4638.