The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Program. The Medal of Valor is the highest honor for public safety officers, and it was created when Congress passed The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001. The President or Vice President award the medals annually to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.
The program defines a public safety officer as “a person (living or deceased) who is serving or has served in a public agency, with or without compensation, as a firefighter; law enforcement officer, including a corrections, court, or civil defense officer; or emergency services officer, as determined by the U.S. Attorney General.”
The program states that “an act of valor is considered to be above and beyond the call of duty; and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind along with unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life.”
Nominations for the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Program are now open and are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 31, 2021. Qualifying events must have taken place between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.