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VIDEO: Joe Biden Gives Medal of Valor to 5 St. Pete Police Officers

The medal is awarded to "public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life."

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder presented the Medal of Valor Wednesday to fallen sergeant Tom Baitinger, sergeant Karl Lounge, SWAT officer Doug Weaver, officer Max McDonald and Officer Tim McClintick for their acts of heroism during the events of January 24, 2011.

According to a news release, they were given the "public safety officer medal of valor."

The medal, authorized by the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer, according to a news release.

Police said the medal is awarded to "public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life."

Including this year's awardees, a total of 78 medals have been presented since the first recipients were honored in 2003.

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