I hardly need to tell you that law enforcement in 2014 is dealing with with an increasingly polarized climate, where we’re faced with a critical mainstream media on one front and legions of “activists” empowered by the anonymity of social media on the other.
I also don’t need to tell you that what’s portrayed in the press doesn’t remotely match the reality of law enforcement in North America, where for every story of heroism that is captured by the media there are many, many others that will never rise to the level of ‘news,’ yet speak to the bravery, sincerity and innovation that courses through our profession.
The RISE Awards, proudly presented by TASER and PoliceOne, are an answer to the criticism that the law enforcement community doesn’t do enough to recognize and promote the countless positive achievements throughout its ranks. They aim to honor the extraordinary effort of a select group of individuals whose contributions to the police community exemplify the heroism and leadership we see in our law enforcement brothers and sisters every single day in the United States.
The RISE Award Categories
Beginning today and extending over the course of four months, we’ll be asking you to nominate exceptional individuals and departments in any of three categories:
- Protecting 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.”
- Police Leadership: Not every hero is one with war story. Leadership and honesty is of the highest value in law enforcement, no matter what rank an individual holds in the agency. In this category, we’ll look at individuals whose personal dedication to the training and/or education of their officers — in order to create a more-effective police force and a safer community — so tell us about the leader who makes you proud to be on your department.
- Agency Achievement: We face similar issues, but some organizations find clever ways to address familiar problems. Has your department employed an innovative strategy, harnessed technology in a unique way, or connected with the local community in a positive manner? We want to hear about it.
Each award recipient will be provided with three TASER AXON Flex on-officer cameras and one year of access to the Evidence.com digital evidence management system. Award recipients will also get a yearlong subscription to the PoliceOne Academy. Furthermore, each award recipient will be given a free trip to the IACP 2014 conference in Orlando with VIP access to all TASER events including the party co-sponsored by PoliceOne and Blauer.
Who is a RISE Award candidate?
Examples abound in each category. Look no further than some of the headlines on PoliceOne to find stories of officers who continually rise above whatever the circumstance may be on a given tour of duty.
Just recently, there was the Oklahoma cop who saved a two-year-old girl from an assailant who held her at knifepoint outside a Wal-Mart store. Or the officers who stormed an underground bunker in Alabama where a five-year-old boy had been held hostage for nearly a week, rescuing the child and leaving the boy's abductor dead.
In the leadership category, we can point to the chief in California who stood up to critics and explained the many advantages of armored vehicles for officer and community safety or the Ohio chief who has been widely applauded for firing back at Kanye West after that ill-informed entertainer said, “I’m putting my life at risk ... This is like being a police officer or something.”
When we think about agency-wide achievement, we cannot help but remember the Hillsboro (Ore.) Police Department’s elaborate recruit video in search of a new leader. The video went viral, and shines as an example of everyone on the PD coming together for a common cause. We also could point to the officers from 10 different agencies around Massachusetts who gathered to celebrate a soon-to-be 12-year-old’s first real birthday party.
Why We’re Doing It
The creation of the RISE Awards is a natural extension of the shared vision of TASER and PoliceOne — that law enforcement officers should both be equipped with the best tools and information available as well as completely and continually supported by the companies providing that equipment and knowledge.
Both TASER and PoliceOne have long histories of supporting the law enforcement profession in creative and meaningful ways. TASER constantly innovates on technology solutions designed to protect life and preserve truth. PoliceOne has helped transformed the way in which — and the speed with which — life-saving information is shared among police professionals.
And to a very real extent, the RISE Award is a way to more-publicly celebrate what both companies have seen so vividly and for so long. Because our two companies have such close relationships with law enforcement, we’ve had a unique opportunity to witness the greatness and heroism of police officers the typical citizen almost never sees in their local newspapers.
TASER CEO Rick Smith summed it up on behalf of his company.
“At TASER, we’re inspired every day by the men and women of law enforcement who rise to the challenges of their job. This award is about paying tribute to these individuals and recognizing them for their contributions to their agency and their community.”
Submit Your Nominations
Think about your agency. Think about all the times you’ve observed your colleagues doing something selfless, or special, or spectacular. Then submit a nomination for us to consider.
We look forward to reading and sharing your stories, which will highlight the very best of our profession.
You nominate these heroes, and we will reward them.