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Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2017
2 pages
This fact sheet describes the provisions of The federal Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, the nomination process for the mandated Medal of Valor, and some examples of valor displayed by five public safety officers who have received the Medal of Valor.
The Medal of Valor Act created the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. It is awarded annually by the President in the name of Congress to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect a person's life. Those eligible for the Valor Medal are public safety officers (living or deceased) who served a public agency, with or without compensation, at the time of their brave act as a firefighter or law enforcement officer (including a corrections, court, or civil-defense officer, or an emergency service officer), as determined by the U.S. Attorney General. Candidates for the Medal of Valor must be nominated for the Medal by the chief executive officer of the nominee's employing agency and be recommended by the bipartisan Medal of Valor Review Board and cited by the Attorney General. Five Medal of Valor awardees' valorous acts for which they received the award are briefly described. These include a firefighter who suffered second-degree burns while rescuing an unconscious victim of a residential fire and who then rejoined his crew to combat the fire. Another Medal of Valor recipient was a deputy sheriff who sustained 10 gunshot wounds while apprehending two burglars and protecting two children.