Ector County Sheriff's deputies, Officer Nathan Heidelberg honored with Star of Texas Awards

AUSTIN, Tx. (KOSA) -- Local law enforcement officers were recognized at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

Investigator Cody Smith, Captain Steven McNeill, Investigator Joshua Pool, Investigator Javier Leyva, Reserve Deputy Ricardo Rodriguez and the family of Officer Nathan Heidelberg received the Star of Texas Award on Wednesday.

The Star of Texas Award is given to law enforcement officers who were shot in the line of duty.

Governor Greg Abbott presented the award to the family of Midland police officer Nathan Heidelberg. Heidelberg was shot and killed in the line of duty in March of this year.

Gov. Abbott and State Representative Brooks Landgraf presented awards to five Ector County Sheriff's deputies who had been hurt in the line of duty.

Investigator Cody Smith, Investigator Javier Leyva, Investigator Joshua Devin Pool, Reserve Deputy Ricardo Rodriguez, and Captain Steven John McNeill were each presented with the award.

"The willingness of our law enforcement officers to put themselves in harm's way to protect our community is the ultimate testament to duty and sacrifice," Landgraf said. "I'm thankful to have such brave men and women in uniform for the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, and I am forever grateful to all those who work daily to keep Texans safe."

Investigator Smith, Investigator Pool and Reserve Deputy Rodriguez were shot while serving a warrant in January of this year.

Investigator Leyva was shot in the leg on August 8, 2014, while pursuing a suspect.

Captain McNeill was shot in the shoulder on September 17, 2010, by a landowner upset with a local company.

The Star of Texas Awards were first created in 2003. More than 500 law enforcement officers have been honored with the award.

Officer Nathan Hayden Heidelberg. (Photo: Midland Police Department)