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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

The following is a list of frequently asked questions, and their answers, received by the National Medal of Valor Office concerning the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor and its nominations. The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Review Board believes it would be helpful for recommending officials to review the information below before completing the nomination form.

Question: What is the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor?

Answer: The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The Medal is awarded by the President of the United States to public safety officers who are cited by the United States Attorney General and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board (the "Board"). Public safety officers must have exhibited exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind, and unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her own personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life, where the act is deemed to be above and beyond the call of duty.

Question: When is this year's nomination form due?

Answer: The online system will typically open each year on May 31st at 8:00 a.m. (ET) and close each year on July 31st at 11:59 p.m. (ET).  The opening date may vary when the 31st falls on a weekend.

Question: Can I nominate more than one person, or a team, for the Medal of Valor?

Answer: Yes, recommending officials may nominate more than one public safety officer. However, please note that a separate nomination form must be submitted for each individual nominee. Because the Medal of Valor is awarded for a single act that is above and beyond the call of duty, recommending officials must prepare a separate nomination form for each meritorious act.

Please note that when considering the nomination of a team (defined as two or more public safety officers responding to a single incident), there is no guarantee that all members will receive recognition.

Question: Must every section of the nomination form be completed?

Answer: Yes, please complete every section of the nomination form. The National Medal of Valor Office requires this information and may reject an application form that is incomplete. Recommending officials should also keep the following points in mind when preparing the nomination:

  • The "Applicant Information" section contains the identifying information for the public safety officer whose act of valor is submitted as a Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor candidate for consideration by the Board.
  • The nominator/recommending official should include the nominee's home mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number within the “Application Information” section.
  • The "Nominator Information" section contains information on the appointing authority and agency under which the applicant serves as a sworn public safety officer. Examples of eligible public safety agencies include federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement, fire, corrections and emergency medical services agencies.
  • Each application must be submitted at the direction of the agency head for the nominating public safety agency. The National Medal of Valor Office cannot accept applications from individuals or other personnel who are not acting with the expressed authority of the chief executive/agency head for the nominating public safety agency.

Question: How detailed should the incident summary be?

Answer: Though supplemental information may be separately submitted for the consideration of the MOV Review Board, each application’s "Summary of Valorous Conduct" is viewed as critical in describing the act(s) of valor that the Board is asked to consider when making its recommendations. All summaries should provide a clear understanding of the individual act(s) of valor performed. For summaries that detail an incident that involves multiple nominees, it is critical to describe the separate actions of each nominee.

Question: How are incidents involving individual verses group nominees considered?

Answer: The Review Board will consider the individual actions or each nominee, regardless as to whether or not the nominee is part of a group. The Review Board is allowed to recommend a limited number   of recipients each year to receive the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor (MOV). It is within the Board’s discretion when considering group nominations, to recommend some, all or none of the nominees to receive the MOV.

Question: Will the Board accept posthumous nominations?

Answer: Yes, the Board will accept posthumous nominations and may award a medal posthumously. Recommending officials should make it clear within the application that the nomination is for a posthumous award, and describe whether the public safety officer's death occurred in connection with his or her act of valor.

Question: How can interested parties keep informed about the nomination process and the award ceremony?

Answer: The National Medal of Valor Office will update its website, as information becomes available or, you may e-mail us at medalofvalor@usdoj.gov.

Question: Where are definitions for terms such as "public safety officer" and "act of valor" found?

Answer: See the Medal of Valor web site

Question: Where is information about past awardees found?

Answer: Please check the awardees page.

Question: How can additional information on the nominee and/or incident be provided?

Answer: For submission of supplemental documents, please mail to National Medal of Valor Office 810 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20531, Attention: Gregory Joy. Supplemental documents are not required, but if received in a timely manner, will be made available to the Review Board. At its discretion, the Review Board may also call for witness testimony. Note: acceptable formats for documents, graphics, and video files include: Word, WordPerfect, PDF, jpeg, gif, png, mpg, and wmv.

Question: Can applications be submitted for an act of valor that is outside the currently published nomination period?

Answer: Each year, the National Medal of Valor Office will open its online application system to accept applications for acts of valor that have taken place between June 1st of the prior year through May 31st of the current year. Applications cannot be considered for acts of valor that take place outside the current nomination period.