OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Sergeant Jeff Kopietz has served more than 1,100 felony arrest warrants in Omaha and around four years ago, he shot and killed the man who killed Officer Kerrie Orozco. That lifetime of service was rewarded today, as he went to the east coast to receive the US Marshals Officer of the Year award.
After getting back from Washington DC, Sergeant Kopietz was bombarded with dozens of family, friends and colleagues at the airport.
"I obviously was shocked that there was anything going on and then the sheer numbers of people and then the variety of people that were here, I guess the internet allows you to bring in people that you haven't seen in years, honestly, to come and see me, so that was the biggest shocker,” says Kopietz.
Kopietz already was given the Medal of Valor in 2015, which is the highest honor an OPD officer can get. So while he was rewarded again today, he doesn't necessarily relish being the center of attention.
"He's just humble, he says I should be at work right now,” says Teresa Kopietz, Jeff’s wife.
"I don't really like the spotlight, I enjoy what I do, I'm proud of what I do and my work but I don't like to show off or brag about things,” says Jeff Kopietz.
"He doesn't like the recognition but I know he deserves it, even though he won't admit it, I know it means a lot to him to see everybody here,” says Lucas Kopietz, Jeff’s son.
Instead, Kopietz prefers to focus on the officers he works with everyday, who risk their lives along with him.
"They take care of themselves, all I kind of do is move them around a little bit, it's really rewarding to see people mature and be the professionals that they are,” says Jeff Kopietz.
Many of those officers celebrating and surprising Sergeant Kopietz today have become a second family to Kopietz's actual family.
"And he attracts a lot of really great people. They really formed a community, I mean all these people are sort of our found family, and we've been growing up with a lot of his police colleagues as well and it's really great to see them,” says Courney Kopietz, daughter of Jeff.
Kopietz has been on the force for 28 years, he's got about 17 more months left. And he told his family he plans on retiring once he gets to 30 years as an OPD officer.