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San Diego officer awarded nation's highest honor for civilian heroism for Sunset Cliffs rescue

Officer Jonathan Wiese and family
sunset cliffs.png
Posted at 9:58 AM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 12:59:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego Police officer will be award the country's highest honor for civilian heroism for his efforts to rescue three people who plunged off Sunset Cliffs last year.

Officer Jonathan Wiese will be awarded the National Carnegie Medal for saving the life of a father and his two-year-old twin daughters from drowning after the father purposely drove his vehicle off Sunset Cliffs on June 13, 2020.

The vehicle fell 30 feet to the rocks below, landing upside down in the water. Wiese, a K9 officer, grabbed his rescue rope and 100-foot dog leash and wrapped it around his chest. Four of five other officers who then arrived lowered Wiese down to the base of the cliff and the officer swam out to the three.


Wiese grabbed the three and pushed them to shore, where the girls were hoisted up the cliff by the officers above. The father was airlifted from the base of the cliff.

Wiese grabbed a surfboard and swam to a point where he could exit the ocean safely.

"I didn't do the job to be liked every day, I didn't do it to become rich, I did it because I want to be out there making a difference and helping people, as cliche as that might sound, but I was just glad I could be there," Wiese said following the rescue last June.

The Carnegie Medal will be awarded to 18 people total this year for their efforts to risk their lives while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

Last year, Wiese was also awarded the Medal of Valor and Heroic Act award from the California Surf Lifesaving Association and United States Lifesaving Association for his efforts that day.