Division of Criminal Justice Services

Police Officer of the Year


The Police Officer of the Year Award provides statewide recognition of the police officer or officers who have demonstrated exceptional valor in service to the people of New York State, thereby upholding the highest traditions of law enforcement.


  • Act(s) of Exceptional Valor:

    An act or acts of exceptional valor shall mean that a police officer has, by a conspicuous act or acts, clearly distinguished him/herself by bravery, heroism or outstanding courage, and has placed the safety and welfare of the people of New York State above all other considerations. This definition permits an agency to combine exceptional acts of valor performed by an officer in any calendar year into a single nomination.

  • Criteria for Eligibility:

    A nominee must be a sworn police officer employed within the State of New York, regardless of rank or position, who has performed an act of exceptional valor during the calendar year. An Agency may only nominate an individual(s) actually employed by such agency. A posthumous award may be made in the name of a police officer to the surviving spouse, child or parents of such officer.


The following documentation must be submitted by the nominating agency to be eligible for award consideration.

  • A letter of nomination from the chief executive officer of the department or the municipality which includes a brief overview of the incident.
  • In addition, incontestable proof of the act(s) under consideration shall be required and the nominating package should include: 1
    • A complete report of the incident;
    • Copies of all official reports, statements, photographs, maps, etc; and
    • If available, related media reports such as videotapes and newspaper clippings.
  • Each agency is limited to one nomination per calendar year. Nomination is defined as one officer one event, or one officer multiple events, or multiple officers one event. Therefore, each agency should carefully screen its acts of exceptional valor and submit the one which best exemplifies the spirit of this award.

1 The Selection Committee recognizes that confidentiality considerations may preclude the submission of some official reports and related material. However, the act must be sufficiently documented for a nominee to be considered.

Selection Process

  • The award recipient will be chosen by the Selection Committee after a full review of nominations.
  • Committee Makeup. The Selection Committee is composed of the following members:
    • Commissioner, Division of Criminal Justice Services;
    • Superintendent, New York State Police;
    • Counsel and Executive Director, NYS Sheriffs' Association;
    • Executive Director, NYS Association of Chiefs of Police;
    • President, Police Conference of New York;
    • President, Metropolitan Police Conference of New York State; and
    • President, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York.
  • The Selection Committee is authorized to make a full and complete investigation of facts in substantiation of nominations. The prompt submission of nominations will permit this to be done more effectively.

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