WASHINGTON – For the sixth consecutive year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and BJA’s VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Initiative, collaborated on the Destination Zero Program to highlight agency-level achievements in the areas of officer safety and wellness. The primary objective of the program is to drive down causal factors that kill and injure law enforcement officers, and help officers live safer, happier, and healthier lives. The National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards are traditionally presented during Police Week but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the awards will be formally presented to winners at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, DC, later this year.
The Destination Zero Program began in late 2014, with a goal to identify agencies conducting unique and innovative programs aimed to reduce risk factors and to share the design and outcomes of these programs with the entire law enforcement community. Agencies with successful programs were asked to submit details of their initiatives and be considered for a National Officer Safety and Wellness Award. Any agency could also have applied through a national open call for applications though an online application process.
Awards are presented in the following four categories:
- General Officer Safety: This category features programs that directly affect officers’ physical safety while performing their jobs.
- Officer Traffic Safety: These initiatives are designed to reduce automobile crashes and limit the risk factors of operating a motor vehicle or managing traffic. Programs that increased seatbelt use, limited distractions or reduced driving speeds are also included in this category.
- Officer Wellness: Fitness programs, mental health programs and initiatives, such as peer support groups and nutrition, are included in this category.
- Comprehensive Safety: This category includes programs that demonstrate the most comprehensive approach and implementation of well-rounded safety and wellness efforts.
Following months of review and evaluation of the submitted programs, the award process selected 11 semi-finalist agencies whose respective programs fell into one of the four officer safety and wellness award categories. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund convened a distinguished seven-member selection committee, representing federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to carefully consider each finalist program and ultimately select the award recipients for each of the four categories.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Bureau of Justice Assistance are proud to announce the following 2020 National Officer Safety and Wellness Award winners:
- General Officer Safety: Vacaville (CA) Police Department
- Officer Traffic Safety: Memphis (TN) Police Department
- Officer Wellness: Reno (NV) Police Department
- Comprehensive Safety: Linn County (IA) Sheriff’s Office
In addition to the four winning agencies, the following finalists are also acknowledged:
- General Officer Safety: Troy (NY) Police Department and Avon (CO) Police Department
- Officer Traffic Safety: None
- Officer Wellness: Appleton (WI) Police Department; Baltimore (MD) Police Department; and Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department
- Comprehensive Safety: Memphis (TN) Police Department
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Bureau of Justice Assistance are grateful to all participating agencies and extend congratulations to the four winning agencies and finalists for 2020. The National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards are presented annually, and agencies are encouraged to submit details about their successful safety and wellness programs to the Memorial Fund’s Officer Safety & Wellness Initiative, at DestinationZero.org.
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About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, which honors the 22,217 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, including 307 names added this year. These 307 officers include 135 officers who were killed during 2019, plus 172 officers who died in previous years, but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now. The campus includes the National Law Enforcement Museum, which tells the story of American law enforcement through interactive exhibits and experiences, as well as special programs throughout the year. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum, visit LawMemorial.org.