- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2002

The Justice Department is seeking nominations for the "Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor," the highest national award for valor given to public safety officers.
The new medal of valor is authorized by the Public Safety Officers Medal of Valor Act of 2001 and will be awarded annually by the president to public safety officers cited by the attorney general who have exhibited extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty.
"Our law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and all other public safety officers are truly everyday heroes," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "We need to honor the unique sacrifices of these officers and remember their dedicated service and the contributions they make every day of the year."
Justice Department officials said that to be considered for the 2002 medal, public safety officers must be nominated by the chiefs or directors of their employing agencies. Nominations will be accepted for exceptional acts of valor that occurred between May 31, 2001, and May 31, 2002.
The nominations have to be submitted by Aug. 15 to the Justice Department.
Department officials said medals will be awarded based on the recommendations of an 11-member review board comprising representatives of the public safety community and the public, and appointed by the president, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the speaker and the minority leader of the House.
They said the board includes Sheriff Oliver Boyer of the Jefferson County, Mo., Sheriff's Department; Michael Branham, executive director of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission; Chief David Demag of the Essex, Vt., Police Department; and Chief Richard Dyer of the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department.
Also, the board includes Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York; Chief Jimmy Houston of the Ridgeland, Miss., Police Department; Thomas McEachin, president of the Prince George's County Fire Fighters' Association; William Nolan, immediate past president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 in Chicago; Thomas Scotto, president of the National Association of Police Organizations; and Steven Young, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Mr. Ashcroft noted that because the Medal of Valor Act allows the board to recommend a maximum of five recipients annually, the board has requested the administration recognize the heroic deeds of the hundreds of public safety officers who responded to the September 11 attacks.
"I will work with others in the administration, consult with the Medal of Valor Board and seek the advice of all those interested to ensure that the extraordinary acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty by all public safety officers involved in September 11 will be appropriately recognized," Mr. Ashcroft said.


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