MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The late Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Johnson, along with his partner Deputy Chris Poole, were awarded the Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement Thursday for their “extraordinary courage in the line of duty” during a fatal encounter last year.
On June 29, 2022, Poole had initiated the pursuit of a vehicle that was reported stolen, driven by 26 year-old former inmate Austin Hall, who was out of prison on good behavior. As speeds reached in excess of 100 mph, Hall began firing on Poole. After Hall lost control of his vehicle, Johnson arrived at the scene to provide support and Hall began firing again.
Both Poole and Johnson sustained gunshot wounds, however, while Poole was treated and released from the hospital, Johnson died the following day.
Hal Taylor, the secretary for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, thanked Poole and Johnson for their bravery, as well as all the nominees for the law enforcement Medal of Honor.
“To the officers that are here today, thank you for all that you do,” Taylor said in the packed Alabama House chamber.
“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and things have changed; we’ve got computers in cars, we’ve got body cameras, we’ve got all this stuff that we can use, but it still doesn’t stop some of the crime and the things that we’re faced with every day for those of us that wear the badge.”
Watch part of the presentation on Capitol Journal below.
A total of six law enforcement officers were nominated for the award and honored Thursday.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrius Black, acting as a school resource officer, was nominated after identifying a student in possession of a Glock 43 pistol with a fully loaded clip.
State Trooper Charles May was nominated for his efforts in helping locate a lost hunter.
Corporal Derrick Riego was nominated for administering narcan to Montgomery Sheriff’s Deputy Skylar Campbell after a suspected exposure to the deadly drug fentanyl.
And Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputies Kel Roberts, Jerry Bingman and Jacob Boening were nominated after rescuing an individual from a home engulfed in flames.
With Poole Thursday was his wife, Tiffany, as well as his former partner’s two daughters, Lana and Libby.
“To Lani and Libby,” said Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Hazel Green, “these men and women rise in this body because you too, have suffered the ultimate sacrifice. God bless you, and we love you. To Deputy Chris Poole, thank you for your heroic actions in this matter. You are commended.”
Poole, who stood close to Johnson’s daughters in comfort during the somber award ceremony, thanked the entire chamber for their continued support, including the recent passage of the Deputy Brad Johnson Act, which reduces the amount of early release credit certain inmates can accrue.
“As I look out there and I see my entire agency here supporting us, and to know that we have other people here supporting us is an amazing thing. I just want to thank you all; it’s been tough, but we’re going to get through it, and we’re a great state.”
The Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement is the highest decoration awarded to officers.