Gold Star

2020 Gold Star Medals Awarded

CDCR Gold Star medal

3 Gold Star Recipients in 3 Incidents

The Gold Star medal is awarded for heroic deeds under extraordinary circumstances. The employee shall display courage in the face of immediate peril in acting to save the life of another person.

Robert Dickson, Correctional Officer, California Rehabilitation Center

In just a few seconds, Officer Dickson probably saved seven lives, including his own, on April 22, 2019, when an historic plane crashed on a CRC construction site.

Robert heard the sounds of an airplane in trouble as he was overseeing two incarcerated men helping four non-custody workers. The plane circled the yard and then nose-dived. Realizing the plane was going to hit near them, Robert hustled the men into the relative safety of a Conex box.

Seconds later the plane crashed 15 to 20 feet away. Shards of metal hit the box and fire scorched the exterior. Shortly thereafter, Robert and the men emerged with only one of them having minor injuries.

The pilot was killed. He was flying an N-9M aircraft, a so-called flying wing and one of only four ever built.

Nichele Aguilar, Correctional Officer, California State Prison, Solano

Preparing for bed in her home, Officer Aguilar heard someone ringing her doorbell.

A bloodied female teenager screamed that her step-father had stabbed her mother and her. As she rushed across the street, Nichele phoned 9-1-1. She found a woman crawling on the driveway with stab and slash wounds to her throat.

Nichele ran back to her residence for a towel. She used it to apply pressure to the woman’s wounds as the victim drifted in and out of consciousness.

At the same time, she counseled the teenage stab victim to keep her from going into shock. Police and paramedics arrived and Nichele turned care of the victims over to them.

She then told police about the children remaining in the house, one of whom had suffered critical burns. Nichele’s prompt and brave actions probably saved the life of the woman in the driveway.

Her cool head helped police and paramedics immediately assess the situation they were facing. To complete the story, police later shot and killed the step-father as he inflicted serious stab wounds to a police K-9.

Harley Robbins, Correctional Sergeant, Centinela State Prison

Traveling home, former Sergeant Robbins saw a turned-over vehicle in an irrigation canal with people swimming toward it.

Harley stopped and dove into the water. A 16-year-old passenger was trapped in the vehicle. Another person tried to get her out but couldn’t undo the seat-belt holding in the unconscious victim.

Staying focused, Harley removed the victim from the vehicle, now under water and swam with her to the bank of the canal. Harley and an off-duty doctor performed life-saving measures on the victim. They got a pulse before emergency medical help arrived.

The family later chose to remove the girl from life-support. The family later said they wanted to thank Harley and others for their help that kept the girl alive long enough for them to say good-bye.