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Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

The following is a list of frequently asked questions, and their answers, received by the National Medal of Valor Office concerning the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor application. The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Review Board believes it would be helpful for recommending officials to review the information below before completing the application form.

Question: What is the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor?

Answer: The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The Medal is awarded by the President of the United States to public safety officers who are cited by the United States Attorney General and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board (the "Board"). Public safety officers must have exhibited exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind, and unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her own personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life, where the act is deemed to be above and beyond the call of duty.

Question: When is this year’s application due?

Answer: Applications for the 2003-2004 Medal of Valor are due, and must be received by the National Medal of Valor Office no later than, July 30, 2004. Mailing instructions are found on the application form.

Question: Can I nominate more than one person, or a team, for the Medal of Valor?

Answer: Yes, recommending officials may nominate more than one public safety officer. However, please note that a separate application must be submitted for each individual nominee. Because the Medal of Valor is awarded for a single act that is above and beyond the call of duty, recommending officials must prepare a separate application for each meritorious act.

When considering the nomination of a team (a team is defined as two or more public safety officers responding to a single incident), please note that, because of statutory limitations, the Board may recommend no more than five (5) individuals for the Medal of Valor. Therefore, there is no guarantee that all team members will receive recognition.

Question: Must I complete every section of the application form?

Answer: Yes, please complete every section of the application form. The Board requires this information and may reject an application that is incomplete. Original signatures are required for each application. Recommending officials should also keep the following points in mind when preparing the application:

  • The “applicant” is the public safety officer whose act of valor is submitted as a Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor candidate for consideration by the Board.
  • Recommending officials may include either the applicant’s home or business mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
  • Social security numbers are kept confidential and solely used by the Board in connection with the application process, as well as by the National Medal of Valor Office for security purposes, when scheduling the award ceremony.
  • The “Appointing Authority/Submitting Agency” is the agency under which the applicant serves as a sworn public safety officer and varies by jurisdiction. In many cases, the Appointing Authority/Submitting agency will be a jurisdiction’s police, fire, or emergency medical services agency. In other cases, it may be a state police, parks authority, or corrections institute.
  • Each application must be signed by the “Recommending Official.” The Recommending Official is the Chief Executive or Director of the appointing or submitting agency. In many cases, the chief executive or director will be a police, fire, or emergency medical services chief, director, or superintendent. In other cases, the recommending official may be a sheriff, mayor, state agency director, or governor. Please adhere to the particular requirements of your jurisdiction. The Board cannot accept applications submitted by individuals who are not the Chief Executive or Director of the appointing or submitting agency. The signature must be an original.

Question: Will the Board accept posthumous nominations?

Answer: Yes, the Board will accept posthumous nominations and may award a medal posthumously. Recommending officials should make clear to the Board that the application seeks a posthumous award and describe whether the public safety officer’s death occurred in connection with his or her act of valor.

Question: How can I keep informed about the application process and the award ceremony?

Answer: The National Medal of Valor Office will update its website, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/medalofvalor/, as information becomes available.

Question: Where can I find definitions for terms such as “public safety officer” and “act of valor”?

Answer: See the Medal of Valor web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/medalofvalor/welcome.html#background.

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