Office of Justice Programs
Medal of ValorBJAMedal of Valor

Medal of Valor Review Board

On January 14, 2002, the Charter for the Medal of Valor Review Board was signed by the Attorney General. As required by the legislation, the eleven-member board was appointed by the President, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. Senate, and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The board, which comprises representatives of the public safety community and the general public, reviews the nominations and recommends individuals for recognition.

Medal of Valor Board Members

Board Members Professional Profiles

Captain Abbey Johnston
Medal of Valor Review Board Vice-Chair
Lynchburg Fire Department

Abbey Johnston has been a Firefighter/Paramedic for the Lynchburg Fire Department in Lynchburg, Virginia since 2004. She earned the rank of Captain in 2014 and is currently assigned to the Training Division as the EMS Training Captain. She served as President of the Lynchburg Firefighters Association, Local 1146, a subsidiary of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) for 3 years. In 2009, Captain Johnston attended the State of the Union Address as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama as a result of her work on behalf of the IAFF at the local and state level. Captain Johnston earned an Associate’s Degree when she became a Paramedic in 2007 and later earned a B.S. in Public Administration from Liberty University, graduating summa cum laude.

Jeri L. Williams
Police Chief
Phoenix Police Department
Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri L. Williams is a 28-year law enforcement veteran. She currently leads the largest police agency in the State of Arizona, which is responsible for providing law enforcement services to the sixth largest city in the United States. She oversees a staff of nearly 4,000 employees and manages an annual operating budget in excess of $600 million. Chief Williams is a native Phoenician, who began her law enforcement career with the Phoenix Police Department. During her 22-year tenure, she worked in nearly all divisions of the department and rose quickly through the ranks. She retired as an Assistant Chief in 2011, after being selected to serve as the Police Chief for the city of Oxnard, California. During her five-year tenure in California, Chief Williams successfully advanced police-community relations through her strong leadership skills and her commitment to community policing principles. Chief Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) and the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police (AACOP).

Mr. Trevor S. Whipple
Medal of Valor Review Board Chairman
Retired Chief – South Burlington Police Department, (VT)

Mr. Whipple retired from the South Burlington Police Department, and currently serves as a law enforcement consultant. He has spent his entire working life devoted to public service, and in particular as an emergency responder. Early in his career, he was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and worked on a part-time basis in New Hampshire for almost five years. He also served with the East Barre Fire Department; held the positions of dispatcher, patrol officer, juvenile officer, and investigator; and served as the Chief of Police in two Vermont police agencies. He currently serves as Chief of Police for South Burlington—the third largest municipal police department in Vermont. Chief Whipple attended Northeastern University, obtained an Associate's degree from Castleton State College, a Bachelor's degree from Johnson State College, and received his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Vermont. He also teaches criminal justice, paralegal, and pre-law courses at the Community College of Vermont and Woodbury College.

Brandon Clabes
Police Chief
Midwest City Police Department, OK 

Chief Brandon Clabes began his career with the Midwest City, Oklahoma police department as a police officer in 1979 and worked his way through the ranks becoming police chief in August of 1999. Midwest City is home to Tinker Air Force Base and Clabes is responsible for 127 employees, an annual budget of over 13 million dollars and utilizes best practices to deliver a community based policing philosophy. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a longtime board member for the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police. Clabes also has served as a commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and is currently a Board of Regent for Rose State College. All these appointments have been made by Governor Mary Fallin. He has been married to his wife Sandy for 26 years and they have three children.

Mr. Brian Murphy

Mr. Brian Murphy (Retired Lieutenant, Oak Creek Police Department, WI), began his career in the United States Marine Corp in 1980. He served on embassy duty in Kabul, Afghanistan and Bangkok, Thailand. Upon returning to U.S. soil, he worked 5 years at the United Nations Security Service before moving to Wisconsin. He worked as a jailer for 1 year at the Jefferson County Sheriff Department and was subsequently hired at Oak Creek Police Department in 1991. Lt. Murphy steadily received promotions on the force and performed additional capacities as an Emergency Response Unit operator, explosive breacher and team leader. He was involved in the Evidence Unit for over 10 years, eventually serving as the Officer in Charge of the unit. Lt. Murphy participated in law enforcement education, holding the position of an adjunct instructor at Louisiana State University, Texas A&M and New Mexico Tech. He has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Marian University. On August 5th, 2012, Lt. Murphy was the first officer on the scene of the Sikh Temple shooting that left 6 dead and 3 injured. He sustained 15 gun shots during the gunfight. He has received numerous awards, including the Congressional Badge of Bravery and the Public Safety Medal of Valor. Today he administers the Saves Program for Armor Express, teaches in the federal Valor Program, and conducts presentations across the country on officer survival and resiliency.

Joanne Hayes-White
Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department
San Francisco, CA 

Joanne Hayes-White was sworn in as the 25th Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department on January 16, 2004. Chief Hayes-White oversees a Department of approximately 1,500 members and an operating budget of $300 million. She is responsible for providing fire, emergency medical services, special operations, and public education to 775,000 residents of the City and County of San Francisco. As Chief, she has enhanced community-based programs through the Department’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), San Francisco Firefighters in Safety Education (SFFISE), and Senior Home Safety and Asthma Outreach programs. She was hired as a Firefighter in April 1990, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1993, and to the rank of Captain in January 1996. In May 1996 she was made acting Battalion Chief with oversight of the department’s dispatch and communications systems. Promoted to Assistant Deputy Chief in 1998, she was responsible for the Division of Support Services, the Bureau of Communications, the Bureau of Equipment, the Bureau of Engineering and Water Supply, Management Information Systems, and all facility repairs, maintenance, and renovations.

Chief Hayes-White graduated from the University of Santa Clara with a degree in business. She is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and served on the Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee. In June 2007, she was selected to serve on the National Advisory Council to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In April 2010, Chief Hayes-White was selected as one of six Senior Fire Officials by the U.S. Fire Administration, Fire Protection Publications/International Fire Service Training Association, International Fire Chiefs Association, and the National Fire Protection Association for a fellowship to attend the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program.

Brian B. Fengel, Chief
Bartonville Police Department, IL

Chief Fengel has been in the law enforcement field for 28 years. He has been with the Bartonville Police Department for 23 years and has been the Chief of Police since 1998. Chief Fengel is a 2001 graduate of the FBI National Academy and a graduate of the Northwestern Illinois University Executive Management Program. He currently teaches Criminal Investigation at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, Illinois. In June 2014 he was elected 4th Vice President for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Directors. He is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Fengel worked at the Utah Olympics Public Safety Command in February 2002 as a police officer assigned with the Secret Service at the Olympic Village. He currently serves on various Boards including a position on the Illinois State Auto Theft Prevention Council, Active Member of the Central Illinois Adult Fatality Review Team, Active Member of the Illinois Police Chief's Association since 1998, and past member of the Executive Board, Past President of the Peoria County Chief's Association. He has served two terms on the Multi County Narcotics Enforcement Group Task Force. He is Past President and current Board member of the Central Illinois Mobile Training Unit #7 and Board Member of The Child Advocacy Center. Chief Fengel has also served as a member of the Illinois State Law Enforcement Medal of Honors Committee. Chief Fengel was awarded the State of Illinois Elderly Service Officer of the Year, 2012 sponsored and presented by the Illinois Attorney General's Office, in October 2012.