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Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Created in 2001 by Congress, the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor recognizes extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery on the part of our nation's public safety officers.

Now Accepting Nominations

The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor nomination submission period is open from May 31, 2024, until  5 p.m. ET on July 31, 2024.


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 of the United States 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 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.

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 U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) administers the Medal of Valor Program.

When the nomination period is open, nominations must be submitted through the online Medal of Valor Nomination System.

More Information

Date Modified: August 8, 2023
Date Created: September 2, 2020