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Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder Present Medal of Valor to Public Safety Officers

On February 11, 2015, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Attorney General Eric Holder presented the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor to 22 recipients. Watch a video of the ceremony, read the White House press release, and learn about the recipients.

Medal of Valor Overview

Every day, public safety officers risk their lives to protect America’s citizens and communities. To honor that commitment, Congress passed The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, which created the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The medal is awarded annually by the President to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.

A “public safety officer” is 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.

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.

Nominating Someone to Receive the Medal of Valor

To receive the Medal of Valor, public safety officers must be nominated by the chief executive officer of their employing agencies, recommended by the bipartisan Medal of Valor Review Board, and cited by the Attorney General. PLEASE NOTE: The background of Medal of Valor nominees may be reviewed as part of the selection process.

The Attorney General designated OJP's Assistant Attorney General to serve as the Federal point of contact for the Medal of Valor initiative. OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) assists in overseeing the Medal of Valor Initiative.

Nominations must be submitted through the online Medal of Valor Application System.

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