ELK GROVE -- Correctional peace officers in California are widely believed to have thankless jobs in their duties watching over society's most dangerous and violent criminals.
Thursday they got recognition for putting their safety at risk to help fellow officers who were being attacked.
Among the dozens of medals for bravery handed out by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was the highest honor, the medal of valor, that went to some officers who weren't even on the job.
Jaymi Apppleberry was off duty when she saved herself and a roommate from an armed robber. She disarmed him while bullets were flying and chased him off. She received a medal of valor for her actions.
The other medal of valor winner, Mike Johnson, pulled a woman from a burning car, saving her life.
"I wasn't going to let her die," said Johnson after receiving his award.
There were dozens of others who were recognized, including Rafael Diaz who chased down an armed robber who was shooting at him. He was off duty having dinner at the time.
Department Secretary Scott Kernan said his officers are dedicated around the clock.
"They are first responders both on and off duty," said Kernan.
Governor Jerry Brown also praised the crucial work and dedication of correctional peace officers at the ceremony.
"Those we honor today are strengthening our state and country by what they've done," said Brown.