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Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Background

  • The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is awarded by the President to public safety officers cited by the Attorney General and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board.

  • The Attorney General designated the Assistant Attorney General's Office, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to serve as the Federal point of contact for the Medal of Valor initiative.

    Legislation

    • The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act, which was enacted on May 30, 2001, creates the Public Safety Medal of Valor as the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer.

    • "Public safety officer" is defined as a person (living or deceased) who serve(d) in a public agency, with or without compensation, as a firefighter, law enforcement officer (including a corrections or court officer, or a civil defense officer), or emergency services officer, as determined by the Attorney General.

    • An act of valor is defined as:
      • above and beyond the call of duty; and
      • exhibiting
        -  exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind.
        -  unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life.

    Medal of Valor Review Board

    • On January 14, 2002, the Charter for the Medal of Valor Review Board was signed by Attorney General John Ashcroft. As required by the legislation, the eleven-member board was appointed by the President, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. Senate, and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    • The board, which comprises representatives of the public safety community and the general public, reviews the nominations and recommends individuals for recognition.

    • The first board meeting was held on March 26, 2002.

    Nominations

    • Applications must be submitted by an Appointing Authority or Agency. Public safety officers (see definition above) must be nominated by the chiefs or directors of their employing agencies.

    • Nominations must be submitted on the Medal of Valor application form.

     

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