2016 RISE Awards

You may not call yourself a hero. But we do.

We're now accepting nominations for the 3rd Annual RISE Awards, which recognize exceptional law enforcement agencies and officers who consistently rise to the challenge each and every day. Nominations will be accepted until August 19, 2016, and winners will be announced on September 1. Watch our video honoring the heroic work you do every day, door by door.

This year, we'll be naming winners in four separate categories:

Protect Life: This category will focus on individual acts of heroism under fire, such as helping to ensure the safety of a fellow officer or civilian in peril. Tell us how someone on your shift rose above the “routine.”

Leadership: Leadership and honesty is of the highest value in law enforcement, no matter what rank an individual holds. In this category, we’ll look at individuals who are dedicated to the training and/or education of their officers in order to create a more effective police force and a safer community.

Community Impact: You devote your lives to the communities that you serve. Tell us how an officer or an agency helped strengthen relationships within your community, encouraged service, and inspired others to do good.

Agency of the Year: Some agencies find clever approaches to address familiar problems. Has your department employed an innovative strategy or harnessed technology in a unique way? We want to hear about it.

Winners in each category will receive a $5,000 Axon Technology Grant, which can be applied toward Axon body-worn cameras and Evidence.com user licenses. They'll also receive a VIP trip to this year's IACP Conference in San Diego, California, and a 1-year individual subscription to PoliceOne Academy.

Previous Winners' Stories


Protect Life: Les Munn of the Texarkana (Ark.) Police Department has proven himself time and again as both a leader and a lifesaver. Responsible for ramping up an impressive police explorer program, Munn, who is also an EMT, treated an unconscious gunshot victim after responding to a shooting and finding several wounded people in a vehicle. At the same time, he instructed an explorer to render aid to another victim in the vehicle. Munn went on to collect evidence at the scene that would later help capture the suspected gunman responsible for the shootings. The same year, Munn was first on scene at a car accident where he carefully positioned a victim so that he could breathe and held him there until EMS arrived. It was later confirmed that his help saved the victim’s life.

Police Leadership: Sgt. Felicia Pecora of the Tampa (FL) Police Department is a 15-year police veteran responsible for saving a community once plagued with crime, and breaking children out of a cycle of poverty and illiteracy. When Pecora looked into why crime was rising in her community, she discovered high poverty and low graduation rates. She then worked with the public library and community leaders to develop a mentor program that strengthened children’s reading, science, and art skills.

Agency of the Year Award: Redlands Police Department has spent the last four years battling high crime rates and a low budget, and the results have been exemplary. Redlands Police deployed a GPS strategy that drove down residential and car burglaries, credit card fraud and other scams, and earned the trust of their community, which was more than happy to collaborate in crime prevention efforts once a tried and true approach was in place.


Protect Life Award: Agent Mike Spadafora of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (FL) won the 2014 Protect Life Award for his years-long dedication to fighting child exploitation cases. As part of the Internet Crimes Against Children’s (ICAC) Task Force and the Brevard Child Exploitation Task Force, Agent Spadafora goes undercover to identify sexual predators, bring them to justice, and save underage victims from sexual and physical abuse. His unique skillset has put perpetrators behind bars and increased the safety of children around the world.

Leadership Award: Sergeant Christopher Gavette of the University of Central Florida Police won the 2014 Leadership Award for his admirable guidance and management of his department. Gavette’s trust in his officers and family-like leadership has built a confident, proficient team of cops—a skill he proved the night he and a rookie officer responded to an active shooter at the University of Central Florida. Gavette provides his officers with the quality skills needed to become successful leaders themselves and manages to have fun doing it.

Agency of the Year Award: The Lakewood (Wash.) Police Department won the 2014 Agency of the Year Award for their remarkable policing efforts, which led to a 12-percent drop in person, property and society crimes in 2013-14. This success is the result of a much larger initiative to make the community a safer place – a goal they set out to tackle exactly 10 years ago, when the Lakewood Police first became an agency. After just 5 years as a department, four Lakewood officers were gunned down in a coffee shop—an incident that rocked the law enforcement world nationwide. Lakewood managed to not only overcome the tragedy, but push forward with their goal, which has brought them where they are today.

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