They were all given the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS Award for their bravery.
"It's not just about the uniform that they wear, it's about who they are, what they're made of," Mr. Obama said.
The 12 recipients from Los Angeles have some true grit. Last September, the officers arrested a murder suspect, who was also accused of stealing a car at gunpoint and leading police on a chase to Downtown Los Angeles. It came to an end when the suspect hit another car, got out, and started shooting at police. After being wounded, officers were able to take the suspect into custody. During the shootout, one officer even managed to pull the driver of the other car to safety.
"You embody America at its best, and at its bravest," Mr. Obama said.
The president also thanked officers in Massachusetts for their efforts in finding and bringing down the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.