‘Top Cop' Honor for Partner of Slain Sgt. Robert Wilson III

Officer Damien Stevenson exchanged fire with one of the suspects accused of killing Sgt. Robert Wilson III during a botched robbery in March 2015.

Philadelphia Police Officer Damien Stevenson, the partner of Sgt. Robert Wilson III, who was shot to death in the line of duty when he walked in on a robbery last March, received the honor of "top cop" at a national ceremony this weekend.

Stevenson's honor came just before Wilson was to be presented posthumously with the Medal of Valor by President Obama on Monday.

“There is no other car like 22 – 22,” said Philadelphia Police Officer Damien Stevenson during a eulogy for his slain partner, Officer Robert Wilson III. Stevenson, who said he did not prepare his speech, brought laughter and tears to the hundreds gathered at the Palestra.

The National Association of Police Organizations selected Stevenson as one of the top 10 law-enforcement officers in the nation, and Stevenson received the "Top Cops" Award during NAPO's annual awards banquet on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

"The purpose of the Top Cops Awards is to educate the American public about our nation's heroes and pay tribute to law enforcement officers in federal, state, county, and local agencies from across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the preceding year," NAPO wrote in a statement about the awards.

Officers who win the awards are nominated by their colleagues.

Stevenson and Wilson were partners in North Philadelphia's rough-and-tumble 22nd District in March 2015 when they stopped at a GameStop store on Lehigh Avenue near 22nd Street in a snowstorm so that Wilson could buy his son a birthday gift.

Wilson was in the store when two armed robbers walked in, announced a stickup, and opened fire when they saw Wilson in uniform.

Wilson returned fire at both gunmen, managing to keep their gunfire away from store customers and employees.

Stevenson was outside the store when the gun battle erupted and chased down one of the suspects, later identified as Carlton Hipps, outside. Police have said that Hipps fired a shot at Stevenson, and Stevenson returned fire, wounding Hipps, and held him until backup arrived.

Both Hipps and Ramone Williams have been charged in Wilson's murder. Both are scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial conference July 21.

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