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Officer Of The Year

Officer Of The Year

NRA's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes an exceptional act or service by a law enforcement officer and is administered by the NRA Law Enforcement Division. Nominations are accepted from anyone having knowledge of the nominee's actions. This includes, but is not limited to, the nominee's agency head, other law enforcement officials, elected officials, fellow officers, community leaders, interested citizens, and NRA members.

For eligibility information, award categories and complete information, click here for the NRA Officer of the Year Nomination Form.

Nominations can be sent at any time throughout the year, but must be received by Oct. 15. You may call 703-267-1649 or send an email to ebailiff@nrahq.org for more information.

Smith & Wessona premier supplier of police firearms, supports the NRA's Officer of the Year Program by providing an engraved pistol to the recipient of this prestigious award.

Thanks to Smith & Wesson and congratulations to our Officer of the Year!

Previous Recipients

2015: Marcus Pesquera, San Bernardino California Police Department

The National Rifle Association honors Officer Marcus Pesquera as the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for showing valor and heroism in his quick, life-saving action during a gunfight that severely wounded his field training officer, Gabriel Garcia, in August 2014.

Around 2 a.m. on August 22, Field Training Officer Gabriel Garcia of the San Bernardino California Police Department and his trainee, Officer Marcus Pesquera, were on patrol together, checking some high-crime areas. At the time, Field Training Officer Garcia was a six-year veteran of the department, and Officer Pesquera had only recently graduated from the police academy and been in training for seven weeks.

Turning down a remote unpaved road, the officers came upon a group of people standing around a vehicle with its hood up and its doors open. Due to a recent spate of stolen vehicles and other serious crimes in the area, the officers exited their vehicle and approached the subjects on foot.

One of the subjects they were about to encounter was a documented gang member with a lengthy and violent criminal past that should have kept him off the streets. The officers had no way of knowing of his violent past, or that he was wanted.

The subjects were standing apart, so the officers moved away from each other by several feet to maintain a tactical advantage, with each officer maintaining visual contact of different subjects. Officer Pesquera then heard Officer Garcia say words to the effect of "come over here" and "let me see your hands," which was answered by immediate gunfire.

Officer Pesquera did not know that Officer Garcia had been gravely wounded by the gunman's fire. Despite his limited patrol experience, Officer Pesquera reverted to his training, drew his handgun as rounds were being fired at him while dropping to the ground to get to cover, and began returning fire as dozens of rounds were exchanged.

During a slight lull, Officer Pesquera yelled to check on his partner. After getting no response, he left his position of cover to try to find him. Officer Pesquera found his partner shot in the head, not moving, and unresponsive. He then radioed the communications center that his partner was down and needed immediate medical assistance and that he was engaged in a gunfight.

Seconds later, another volley of 20 to 30 rounds was exchanged between Officer Pesquera and the gunman. The gunfight lasted for over a full minute before Officer Pesquera's rounds neutralized the shooter, ending the deadly assault and further danger to Officer Garcia, bystanders, responding officers, and medical rescue members.

Officer Pesquera's courage under fire and heroic actions allowed immediate response by medical personnel to reach Officer Garcia and begin life-saving measures. Officer Garcia was rushed to a local hospital, where he received emergency medical treatment for serious head and chest injuries. He was placed into a medically induced coma in an effort to save his life. Since then, thanks to the actions of Officer Pesquera, Officer Garcia continues to fight towards full recovery.

Officer Pesquera's heroic actions under the most stressful and dangerous circumstances are a credit to himself, his department, and the community he serves. They are in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement. The National Rifle Association recognizes Officer Marcus Pesquera of the San Bernardino California Police Department for his valorous actions by naming him the 2015 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

"The more than 5 million members of the National Rifle Association would like to honor Officer Pesquera's courage, bravery, and quick thinking as the NRA Officer of the Year," said NRA President Allan D. Cors. "His heroic actions ended a deadly assault and allowed first responders to safely and quickly reach Officer Garcia to perform vital life-saving measures."

2014: Deputy Mark Vaughan, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department

On September 25, 2014, an employee with a commercial fresh foods distributor in Moore, Oklahoma, was suspended after an investigation into violation of work rules and harassment of employees. After leaving the company’s human resources office, the employee drove to his apartment where he retrieved an 8-inch-long serrated knife, drove back to the business and crashed his car into a car parked in front of the business. He then entered the main office and attacked Colleen Hufford, the first employee he came upon, and murdered her by decapitation.

Hearing screams and the commotion of the attack, Mark Vaughan, CEO of the business and an off-duty reserve deputy with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, decided he needed to take swift and immediate action. Quickly evaluating the tactical needs of the incident, he knew he could best respond if he had his patrol rifle. He retrieved it and sought out the suspect. While Deputy Vaughan was moving into action, the perpetrator had moved on and sought another victim to attack. Finding Traci Johnson, he immediately attacked her and cut across her throat and the side of her face. Now within view of the suspect, Deputy Vaughan saw the ongoing attack and, with his rifle, shot the suspect and ended the attack.

There is no doubt that without the immediate valorous actions of Deputy Vaughan, the suspect would have claimed the lives of others. This was perhaps best summarized by Sheriff John Whetsel, who stated, "Mark put an end to the threat by shooting the suspect and saving the life of the second victim who was being actively attacked by the suspect. There is every reason to believe that the lives of untold others were saved who would have been targeted by the suspect if it had not been for Deputy Vaughan's actions."

Deputy Vaughan's heroic actions under the most stressful and confusing circumstances – and his decision to intervene and neutralize the suspect, even though it placed him in great personal danger – are a credit to himself, his department, and the community he serves, and are in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement. As such, it is with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association recognizes Deputy Vaughan of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office for his valorous actions by naming him the 2014 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

"The actions of Deputy Vaughan on September 25th were nothing short of heroic," said NRA President James W. Porter III. "Thinking quickly and clearly, he put an end to an unspeakable rampage. The National Rifle Association is honored to name Deputy Vaughan as NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year."

2013: Officer Christopher Shine, North Liberty Iowa Police Department

During the early evening of March 10, 2013, North Liberty Iowa Police Department officers were dispatched to a 911 call reporting a domestic fight between a man and his girlfriend at their residence. The caller heard yelling and the male had been jumping on the woman's car and screaming at her. This was not the first time officers had responded to this address.

The residence was a mobile home with a small elevated enclosed deck attached to the front door with a ramp leading to the front door. Officers located a woman outside who showed signs of being assaulted, was crying, and clearly under emotional duress. This woman was in the process of moving out of the trailer when attacked by her boyfriend. When she was asked about weapons in the trailer she said she thought her boyfriend had removed his pistol from the trailer earlier in the day and he was alone inside the trailer.

Officers moved up the ramp to knock on the door only to find themselves confined in a very small area with little room to maneuver and impossible for all of them to be away from the front of the door. The officers made contact with the boyfriend but he refused to open the door or come outside. Negotiations with the boyfriend to open the door were going nowhere so he was warned that officers would force entry. At this point, the boyfriend could be partially seen through a narrow window slot by the side of the door. Seeing no immediate threat from the boyfriend it was decided to attempt to force the door open by kicking it in. As soon as entry was attempted the suspect ran toward the back of the trailer and within seconds gunfire erupted and bullets began bursting through the front door, and two of the three officers, including Officer Christopher Shine had been shot. Officer Shine was hit in the abdomen and the second officer in the chest. While the rounds caused serious injuries, they did not penetrate the body armor of either officer.

Two of the officers made it down the ramp to take covering positions, with one finding a side window to try to engage the gunman from. Officer Shine remained on the deck and while he could not see the gunman, he knew he was still in line with the now open trailer door as rounds were still being fired towards the front door. Hoping the gunman would reveal himself, Officer Shine used what little concealment he had to his advantage to be ready to engage the attempted killer. There was a pause in the gunfire and the gunman moved into view. Seeing each other almost at the same time the two exchanged fire, Officer Shine prevailed, striking the gunman seven times and the gunman's rampage was over. Amazingly, the time it took from the gunman's first shot and his attempt to kill the officers until Officer Shine's last shot to end the incident was only 19 seconds.

Understanding that the danger was not necessarily over, Officer Shine moved off the deck to seek cover and only then realized he had been shot in the side and his hand injured and bleeding, apparently from shrapnel.

Officer Shine's heroic actions under the most stressful and confusing circumstances while seriously injured is a credit to himself, his department, and the community he serves and are in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement. Had the gunman been able to continue his attack and exit the trailer there is no doubt the lives of the gunman's girlfriend and Officer Shine's fellow officers would have been in jeopardy.

It is with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association recognizes Officer Christopher Shine of the North Liberty Iowa Police Department for his valorous actions by naming him the 2013 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

2012: Detective David McCarley, City of Pearl Mississippi Police Department

On May 1, 2012, a group of Pearl Mississippi Police Department detectives arrived at an apartment in order to serve search and arrest warrants for a suspect wanted for sexual battery and child molestation.  After no answer to knocks at the door, they announced themselves, entered, and began a slow and methodical search for persons inside. As they reached the master bedroom, they found the suspect hiding in the shower area separated by a wall from the main bathroom. After the suspect repeatedly ignored commands to come out and give up peacefully, Detective Mike Walter decided to attempt to use his less-lethal TASER to safely apprehend the suspect. As he leaned into the bathroom to discharge the TASER, the suspect darted out from behind the wall and began firing a handgun. The gunman's first two shots struck Detective Walter in the face and neck and he fell to the floor. The gunman then turned and fired on another officer, Detective David McCarley, with the first round striking him in the right hand as he was bringing his handgun sights to bear on the gunman.  The round almost severed his middle finger and destroyed his duty handgun.  The next round entered his leg just above the ankle and went completely through his leg. Despite being shot twice and bleeding profusely, Detective McCarley managed to move to the corner of the bedroom and pull a chest of drawers in front of him to use as cover. At the same time, other detectives returned fire while withdrawing to cover outside the bedroom. 

The apartment was now a hellish scene with bullet holes in the walls, a thick curtain of gunsmoke hung in the air and because of the noise from the volume of gunfire in the small enclosed area almost everyone was temporarily deaf. Despite being shot, the gunman forced the bedroom door closed and barricaded himself inside with the two gunshot detectives.

After a few minutes, the wounded gunman, now sitting at the foot of the bed, partially regained his senses and took aim at Detective McCarley after he saw that he was still alive in the corner of the bedroom. Even though wounded and under the threat of immediate death, Detective McCarley calmly managed to begin a dialogue with the shooter and assured him that a surrender resolution was still a possibility. The gunman's attention became distracted from Detective McCarley because he was trying to look at responding officers outside the bedroom window and by the abandoned police radios blaring on the bedroom floor. Detective McCarley saw the gunman's distraction as an opportunity to begin moving inch by inch towards his fallen comrade in order to give him aid.

The shooter, realizing that Detective McCarley had almost made it across the room, began screaming at him and threatened to kill him.  Detective McCarley managed to convince the suspect that he only wanted to check on his wounded friend. Fortunately, the gunman was distracted again by officers outside the apartment and the scream of sirens from responding emergency vehicles, so Detective McCarley decided to risk his own safety and, once again, began to move toward the wounded detective. When he reached him, there were no vital signs and Detective McCarley knew his friend's only chance to survive depended on his ability to receive immediate medical attention. He also found that Detective Walter's handgun was still in his holster. 

As time passed, the gunman became more distracted and outraged by the responding officers outside the apartment and the detectives just outside the bedroom door. Taking full advantage of the gunman's distraction, Detective McCarley moved his body in an attempt to block the shooter's view and pretended to render first aid to the fallen detective while actually easing his friend's handgun from the holster using his severely injured gun hand. Although he managed to successfully draw the handgun, he knew it would be impossible to grip and fire the gun with his normal shooting hand since it had been shot and would have to use his support hand instead. Despite the fact that the shooter continued to glance at him every few seconds, Detective McCarley was able to slowly move the pistol onto his partner's chest and rotate it enough in order to get the handgun into his support hand.

Using his last bit of energy and willpower, Detective McCarley whirled around and began to shoot at the gunman. Seeing the rapid movement in his peripheral vision the gunman turned and also fired but one of Detective McCarley's rounds struck the gunman squarely in the head and the gunman fell dead.

Detective McCarley then called out to the detectives outside the bedroom, who rushed in, secured the scene, and rendered immediate medical assistance. Although CPR started Detective Walter's heart again, he tragically passed away shortly after being airlifted to the trauma center. Detective McCarley has since returned to duty, but continues to undergo reconstructive hand surgery and physical therapy.

Detective McCarley willingly took grave risk to his own life in order to aid his fallen comrade. His ability to remain cool headed and to form a tactical plan that quickly ended the gunman's actions ensured the safety of both his fellow officers and the apartment building's residents. His heroic actions under stressful and confusing circumstances is a credit to himself, his department, and the community he serves and are in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement.  As such, it is with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association names Detective David McCarley, of the City of Pearl Mississippi Police Department, as the 2012 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. 

2011: Deputy Michael S. Zack, Cecil County Maryland Sheriff's Department

Officer Timothy A. Stringer of the Ferguson Township Pennsylvania Police Department was selected by the NRA Board of Directors as the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his valorous actions.

On Friday, July 25, 2008, a mentally deranged 53-year-old man, who had been living alone in the woods in Central Pennsylvania, entered an auto dealership with a loaded shotgun and demanded money. The suspect said that he had recently returned to Pennsylvania from Wyoming, where he had burned two buildings, he was a conspiracy victim, and that law enforcement authorities refused to take his calls so he was going to a local radio station to "get on the air." The suspect left the dealership. Ferguson Township Police were notified of the incident and the suspect's statement about going to the radio station.

Officer Timothy Stringer and two other officers, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, were able to arrive at the radio station prior to the suspect and took up positions of surveillance. Shortly thereafter, the suspect arrived in a white SUV, and entered the radio station parking lot. Officers positioned two cruisers to block the driveway and began to approach the suspect, who had now turned his vehicle around and was facing the officers.

From a position of cover to the rear of the suspect's vehicle, Officer Stringer made contact with the suspect. The suspect refused repeated commands to show his hands, and instead told Officer Stringer that he (that is, Stringer) was going to die.

With other officers providing cover, Officer Stringer approached the open driver's window and sprayed the suspect with pepper spray in an attempt to gain compliance. The suspect showed no reaction other than to roll up his window. With the suspect still refusing to comply, Officer Stringer decided to break out the window with his baton. The suspect still displayed no reaction, except to tell Officer Stringer that "you are going to die this day." Officer Stringer then saw that the suspect had a shotgun between the seats of his vehicle, and he warned the other officers.

The suspect then backed up, gunned the motor, and pulled rapidly forward, in an attempt to run Officer Stringer over as he raced out of the parking lot. As the officers began running towards their police cruisers to give chase, the suspect made a sudden U-turn and rammed the driver's door of Officer Stringer's cruiser. The suspect then left the parking lot, but returned, and again headed back toward the officers.

The suspect then pulled into an adjacent parking lot where he parked his vehicle. Covering officers saw the suspect deploy a long gun out of the driver's window, aimed in the direction of Officer Stringer. Shots were then exchanged between the gunman and Officer Stringer, and the gunman disappeared from view.

As another officer began to approach, with Officer Stringer covering him, the suspect suddenly sat up and fired a shotgun round through the windshield at the approaching officer. Officer Stringer immediately engaged the gunman with his patrol rifle, as the suspect accelerated and raced towards the cruiser the officers were using for cover. The suspect's vehicle rebounded off the cruiser, and he again attempted to turn the vehicle back to try to run the officers over. As he tried, Officer Stringer, in concert with one of the other officers, fired multiple shots striking the suspect in the head and upper body, finally stopping the suspect and bringing the incident to an end.

The valorous acts of Officer Timothy Stringer are a credit to himself, his department, and his community. Had he not acted as he had, the gunman would have without a doubt entered the radio station to menace the countless employees there.

Officer Timothy Stringer is a 21-year veteran of law enforcement, a certified NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, and a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. He also serves as the department's lead firearms instructor. The two other officers on the scene, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, who also did a commendable job, attribute the successful outcome of this incident to the lessons taught to them by Officer Stringer in his position as Firearm Instructor. Officer Stringer, in turn, has characteristically shunned credit for his actions and attributed the outcome of this incident directly to lessons and philosophies he learned while attending the NRA's Patrol Rifle School.

2010: Wildlife Officer Michael K. Neal, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

On Thursday, May 20, 2010, West Memphis Arkansas Police officers responded to an "officer down" report. Two of their own, Sergeant Brandon Paudert and Officer Bill Evans, had been brutally shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop.

Approximately 90 minutes later, the suspects' minivan was spotted in a shopping center parking lot. Crittenden County Arkansas Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Deputy Wren were first on-scene and used their patrol car to block the van from leaving the area. As the deputies began their approach the suspects opened fire on them with semi-automatic AK-47 rifles and handguns, wounding both the Sheriff and his Chief Deputy.

Arriving moments after Sheriff Busby, Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal saw the gunfight and immediately sped his agency pick-up truck towards the back of the gunman's vehicle to close the distance in order to aid the deputies and block the van. As he did so the suspects put their van in reverse and began backing up to try to flee the scene. Wildlife Officer Neal decided he needed to take immediate and decisive action to end their chance of escape by ramming their vehicle to disable it. In preparation, Wildlife Officer Neal had already placed his patrol carbine by his side for immediate use.

As soon as Wildlife Officer Neal rammed the side of the van he came under fire, with over a dozen rounds going through his windshield, dashboard, and grill. Placing his patrol rifle on the dash, he returned fire through the windshield, firing a full 30 round magazine from his rifle. His rifle now empty, Neal realized he needed to withdraw from immediate contact, so he backed his truck to a better position, bailed out and with his handgun took a firing position with other officers who had just arrived to engage the shooters.

Within minutes, over 30 officers had the criminals' van surrounded, more than 260 rounds were exchanged and the gunfight was over with both criminals dead. With the exception of the first officers shot by the gunmen, no other officers or bystanders were injured.

Without a doubt, the valorous acts of Wildlife Officer Neal helped ensure that the murderous crime spree of these criminals was brought to an end. His calmness, professionalism, and willingness to come to the aid of fellow officers without hesitation is a credit to his department, his fellow law enforcement officers, the State of Arkansas, and in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement. It is with great honor and pride that the National Rifle Association names Officer Michael Neal as the 2010 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

2009: Sergeant Dave Lawler, Linn County Oregon Sheriff's Office

On February 16, 2008, Sergeant Dave Lawler of the Linn County Oregon Sheriff's Office had just finished assisting another officer on an accident investigation when he was assigned to handle a complaint of a man screaming in the middle of the street armed with a shotgun. While responding an update placed the suspect entering a vehicle.

While additional information came in, it conflicted with the original information and the suspect was found to have moved to a gas station several blocks away where he discharged his shotgun several times. As Sergeant Lawler approached the gas station he identified the suspect and saw that he was wrestling with a young woman near a car parked by the pump island.

Sergeant Lawler moved his cruiser into a tactical position to block traffic and protect innocent persons while at the same time maintaining observation of the suspect and acquiring cover. Sergeant Lawler then saw the suspect, with shotgun in hand, dragging the young girl towards the front of the gas station convenience store while yelling and screaming unintelligibly.

From his position of cover, Sergeant Lawler challenged the suspect to drop the shotgun and comply with his orders. The suspect clearly had no intentions of complying and Sergeant Lawler's efforts at negotiations fell on a deaf ear, with the suspect continuing to ramble on with no meaning to his statements.

Seeing that the suspect was preoccupied in delivering his ramblings and demands, including calling for the media, a helicopter, the FBI, and other various governmental entities, Sergeant Lawler decided he had an opportunity to move back to the driver's door of his cruiser so he could get his AR-15 Patrol Rifle.

Evaluating his surroundings, Sergeant Lawler realized that the front doors and windows of the convenience store were directly behind the suspect. Should he be forced to fire he needed to ensure his accuracy was maximized, so he sacrificed some of his cover and took a low position between the open door and the body of his cruiser so he could support the rifle on the door frame and hood.

The suspect continued to pull and fight with the young woman while pointing the shotgun at her head. Without a clear shot and not knowing if the suspect would reflexively pull the trigger of the shotgun, Sergeant Lawler could do nothing but try to calm the suspect down and wait for an opportunity to save the hostage.

That opportunity suddenly came when the suspect pushed the young woman to the ground and raised his shotgun at Sergeant Lawler. Instantly, Sergeant Lawler acquired his sight picture and pressed off a rifle round just as the suspect fired his shotgun.

Sergeant Lawler's round hit the mark and the suspect fell, disappearing from view behind his car. Luckily, Sergeant Lawler was not hit by any of the pellets from the suspect's round.

Sergeant Lawler saw that as soon as the suspect fell the hostage escaped. Sergeant Lawler knew he had to ensure the suspect was still not a threat, so he left his cover and began his approach. As he neared the suspect's vehicle, he saw that there were two small children in the backseat, increasing the importance of making sure the suspect was no longer a threat.

As Sergeant Lawler scanned over the hood of the suspect's car, he saw the suspect on the pavement and then the shotgun being brought up to target him again. After firing three quick shots, the ordeal was over.

The valorous acts of Sergeant Lawler are a credit to himself, his office, and the community he serves. His personal actions under fire ensured that the hostage and her children survived, and no innocent persons were harmed. His calmness, professionalism and heroism are in keeping with the highest traditions of law enforcement. It is with great honor and pride that that National Rifle Association names Sergeant Dave Lawler as the 2009 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

2008: Officer Timothy A. Stringer, Ferguson Township Police Department, Ferguson Township, Pennsylvania

Officer Timothy A. Stringer of the Ferguson Township Pennsylvania Police Department was selected by the NRA Board of Directors as the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his valorous actions.

On Friday, July 25, 2008, a mentally deranged 53-year-old man, who had been living alone in the woods in Central Pennsylvania, entered an auto dealership with a loaded shotgun and demanded money. The suspect said that he had recently returned to Pennsylvania from Wyoming, where he had burned two buildings, he was a conspiracy victim, and that law enforcement authorities refused to take his calls so he was going to a local radio station to "get on the air." The suspect left the dealership. Ferguson Township Police were notified of the incident and the suspect's statement about going to the radio station.

Officer Timothy Stringer and two other officers, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, were able to arrive at the radio station prior to the suspect and took up positions of surveillance. Shortly thereafter, the suspect arrived in a white SUV, and entered the radio station parking lot. Officers positioned two cruisers to block the driveway and began to approach the suspect, who had now turned his vehicle around and was facing the officers.

From a position of cover to the rear of the suspect's vehicle, Officer Stringer made contact with the suspect. The suspect refused repeated commands to show his hands, and instead told Officer Stringer that he (that is, Stringer) was going to die.

With other officers providing cover, Officer Stringer approached the open driver's window and sprayed the suspect with pepper spray in an attempt to gain compliance. The suspect showed no reaction other than to roll up his window. With the suspect still refusing to comply, Officer Stringer decided to break out the window with his baton. The suspect still displayed no reaction, except to tell Officer Stringer that "you are going to die this day." Officer Stringer then saw that the suspect had a shotgun between the seats of his vehicle, and he warned the other officers.

The suspect then backed up, gunned the motor, and pulled rapidly forward, in an attempt to run Officer Stringer over as he raced out of the parking lot. As the officers began running toward their police cruisers to give chase, the suspect made a sudden U-turn and rammed the driver's door of Officer Stringer's cruiser. The suspect then left the parking lot, but returned, and again headed back toward the officers.

The suspect then pulled into an adjacent parking lot where he parked his vehicle. Covering officers saw the suspect deploy a long gun out of the driver's window, aimed in the direction of Officer Stringer. Shots were then exchanged between the gunman and Officer Stringer, and the gunman disappeared from view.

As another officer began to approach, with Officer Stringer covering him, the suspect suddenly sat up and fired a shotgun round through the windshield at the approaching officer. Officer Stringer immediately engaged the gunman with his patrol rifle, as the suspect accelerated and raced towards the cruiser the officers were using for cover. The suspect's vehicle rebounded off the cruiser, and he again attempted to turn the vehicle back to try to run the officers over. As he tried, Officer Stringer, in concert with one of the other officers, fired multiple shots striking the suspect in the head and upper body, finally stopping the suspect and bringing the incident to an end.

The valorous acts of Officer Timothy Stringer are a credit to himself, his department and his community. Had he not acted as he had, the gunman would have without a doubt entered the radio station to menace the countless employees there.

Officer Timothy Stringer is a 21-year veteran of law enforcement, a certified NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, and a Life member of the National Rifle Association. He also serves as the department's lead firearm instructor. The two other officers on the scene, Sgt. Mulfinger and Officer White, who also did a commendable job, attribute the successful outcome of this incident to the lessons taught to them by Officer Stringer in his position as Firearm Instructor. Officer Stringer, in turn, has characteristically shunned credit for his actions and attributed the outcome of this incident directly to lessons and philosophies he learned while attending the NRA's Patrol Rifle School.

2007: Captain Philip Hemphill, Mississippi Highway Patrol

The National Rifle Association has announced the selection of Captain Philip Hemphill of the Mississippi Highway Patrol as its 2007 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Captain Hemphill boasts an impressive record of dedication to firearm training and marksmanship as well as a legacy as a nine-time winner of the National Police Shooting Championships (NPSC).

The NPSC matches consistently draw the world's top police marksmen, and while Captain Hemphill exudes modesty, his skill is unmatched among fellow competitors. Captain Hemphill holds the distinct honor of being the first police officer to win both the NPSC and the police title at NRA's National Matches at Camp Perry in conventional pistol. His 16 years of conducting firearm training for his fellow officers have earned Captain Hemphill the reputation of being a patient and approachable mentor who is able to transfer his knowledge of life-saving firearm skills to the officers in Mississippi.

Captain Hemphill has long acted as an ambassador of the NRA to his fellow law enforcement officers, citing the credibility the NRA lends to the field. "If you go to John Doe's Shooting School and then train your people, and one of your officers is involved in a shooting, they'll subpoena the shooting records," Hemphill said. "They will have to establish your credibility. With the NRA you don't have to establish your credibility. It's been established."

Commenting on Captain Hemphill's qualifications, John C. Sigler, NRA President and a retired Delaware police captain, said, "In addition to Philip's accomplishments within the realm of police firearm training and competition, he has been a positive role model for younger officers. His service to the cause of freedom and his dedication to the preservation and defense of the rights of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms sets an example for all to follow."

Noting that competition is an extension of training which translates into life-saving skills, Sigler believes that Captain Hemphill represents a legacy not only in the world of competitive shooting, but also in the education of our nation's future law enforcement officers.

2006: Trooper Rick Smith, Texas Department of Public Safety

The National Rifle Association has announced the selection of Trooper John Richard "Rick" Smith as its 2006 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Trooper Smith was selected for this distinguished award based upon his acts of valor on Aug. 20, 2006, in Midlothian, Texas.

On that day, Trooper Smith and other members of his shift monitored a police radio transmission of "Shots Fired—Officers Down" from the Midlothian Police Department. Smith and four other Texas state troopers immediately responded to the call and quickly arrived on the scene. Smith was first to reach the incident, and found that three Midlothian police officers had been shot by a gunman when they attempted to investigate a complaint of a bullet breaking a nearby window. When the Texas troopers arrived, the gunman was barricaded in his apartment. Two of the wounded officers were pinned down and were unable to move to safety.

Smith and his fellow troopers provided cover, which allowed paramedics to remove one of the wounded officers from the scene. The other officer was trapped in an exposed position and was immobilized from five gunshot wounds. Trooper Smith left his place of cover and ran into the open area to assist the wounded officer. Exposing himself to the gunman's fire, Trooper Smith was soon joined by two other troopers and managed to pull the injured officer to safety.

Just moments later, however, while attempting to deploy into a more advantageous location, Trooper Smith again exposed himself to fire and was shot in the face by the barricaded gunman. The 9 mm bullet entered Smith's face just under his right eye, shattered his jaw, and entered his neck. Smith, temporarily paralyzed, was dragged to safety by his fellow troopers. The eight-hour standoff finally ended when the gunman took his own life.

In recognition of Trooper Smith's heroic actions, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) awarded him the Commissioner's Medal of Valor and the DPS Purple Heart. The Midlothian Police Department also recognized Trooper Smith's courageous performance by presenting him with the department's Medal of Valor and Purple Heart.

Commenting on Trooper Smith's actions, John Sigler, NRA 1st Vice President and a retired Police Captain, said, "There is no greater measure of an officer's devotion to duty than to risk his life in defense of the life of another officer. Trooper Smith's actions on that day in Midlothian, Texas, were, without a doubt, above and beyond the call of duty. Trooper Smith's selfless act of heroism stands as a shining example of what being a policeman is all about—doing what needs to be done to protect and defend the lives of others. The people of the state of Texas should be very proud of Trooper Smith and what he did that day in Midlothian."

When informed of his selection as NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Trooper Smith said, "Being chosen for this prestigious award is truly an honor. It's a humbling experience for me, and I am very grateful."

Trooper Smith has to his credit nearly 30 years of law enforcement service. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and prior to his current service as a trooper in the Texas Department of Public Safety, Smith served for 20 years with the Dover (Delaware) Police Department, and was the department's chief of police from 1992 until his retirement from the department in 1997. He and his wife Roberta (a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force) subsequently moved to Texas, and Smith became a Texas state trooper in 2001.

2005: Officer James D. Niggemeyer, Columbus Division of Police, Columbus, Ohio

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Officer James D. Niggemeyer of the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police has been chosen as the 2005 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Officer Niggemeyer was one of several officers who responded to a violent, chaotic situation on the night of Dec. 8, 2004. A little after 10:00 p.m., 911 operators began receiving multiple panic-stricken calls from a local nightclub. During a concert, a man had rushed the stage and fired shots at the band. In moments, seven people were wounded, four fatally.

Officer Niggemeyer, patrolling just blocks away, was the first officer to arrive on the scene, less than three minutes after the first 911 call was received. Niggemeyer entered the building through the rear; five more officers arrived momentarily and entered through side doors. Dead and wounded citizens lay on the floor, shots were still being fired, and several hundred people were trying to escape.

Despite the chaos, Officer Niggemeyer was able to spot the gunman quickly, near the rear of the stage. Retreating from the other officers, the suspect had grabbed a hostage, immobilized him in a headlock, and was holding a gun against the man's temple. Positioning himself about 20 feet from the suspect, Niggemeyer, armed with a 12-gauge Remington 870, was able to get off one well-placed shot, killing the gunman instantly and ending the carnage. The gunman still had 35 rounds of ammunition when Niggemeyer shot him.

Commenting on Officer Niggemeyer, NRA First Vice President John C. Sigler, a retired police captain and now an attorney practicing in Maryland and Delaware, said, "It isn't every day that an officer is faced with a decision like this. NRA's Officer of the Year made the right decision under the most adverse conditions and relied on his training and experience to save the life of an innocent civilian victim. No one can doubt his dedication to duty or his willingness to take responsibility for his actions. In today's society, law enforcement officers of this caliber must be recognized and commended. NRA commends this officer for a tough job well done."

Adding to his accolades was Niggemeyer's immediate supervisor, Columbus P.D. Sergeant Jeff Leesburg, who said, "There is no greater example of police service than placing oneself between the threat and the innocent."

2004: Officer Rodney Chambers, Amtrak Police Department, Washington, D.C.

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Officer Rodney Chambers of the Amtrak Police Department has been chosen as the 2004 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

On the evening of June 9, 2003, Officer Chambers was on patrol at Union Station -- the Washington, D.C. area's largest train station -- when he was dispatched by Amtrak Police Department's National Communications Center to investigate a report of a man with a grenade on the West Porch.

The suspect had just tried to rob a store inside Union Station by threatening to detonate the device if the clerk did not give him money. The attempt was abandoned when a group of customers entered the store.

Officer Chambers located the suspect walking away from Union Station, heading toward North Capitol Street N.E. When Officer Chambers stopped the suspect, he turned around, dropped a cloth from his hands to display part of the grenade, and pulled the pin. As the suspect started to drop the grenade, Officer Chambers made a heroic, split-second decision. He quickly grabbed the suspect's hand and squeezed it around the grenade, which prevented the device from activating.

Disregarding his own safety, Officer Chambers wrestled the grenade from the suspect's control as another officer arriving at the scene moved in and placed the suspect in custody. Chambers then moved as far away from bystanders as he could, placing him at risk but hoping to minimize casualties if the grenade he was holding exploded. He held onto the grenade for about 20 minutes while waiting for bomb disposal officers to arrive. During this time he noticed that the grenade was leaking a detergent-based substance, which led the officer to believe the device was homemade, and more unpredictable than standard military-issue grenades.

The bomb disposal officers arrived and carefully took possession of the grenade; the next morning technicians were able to determine that it was inoperable. The suspect had taken a grenade body and tried to turn it into an explosive device by packing a substance inside the grenade.

At the time of the incident, Officer Chambers had no way of knowing the condition of the grenade and without hesitation risked his own life to protect others. Because Officer Chambers was able to make the right decision under tremendously stressful conditions, there were no injuries to citizens, other safety personnel or the suspect.

As Amtrak's Chief of Patrol John O'Connor said during a press interview, "Officer Chambers ran to the danger and not away from the danger. This represents the finest in law enforcement."

Ron Kirkland, NRA's Director of the Law Enforcement Activities Division, added that, "Officer Chambers' courage, decisive action and split-second judgment exemplify the best qualities of an officer. He is a credit to his department and to the law enforcement profession. NRA is proud to honor him."

2003: Sergeant Marcus Young, Ukiah Police Department, Ukiah, California

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Sergeant Marcus Young of the Ukiah Police Department in Ukiah, Calif., has been selected as the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2003. Sgt. Young also received a citation for valor from his department recognizing his heroic actions on the evening of March 7, 2003.

Responding to a shoplifting call, Sgt. Young placed one suspect under arrest when a second suspect, Neal Beckman, an ex-con and member of a violent white supremacist prison group, approached him with his hands in his pockets. Sgt. Young ordered Beckman to take his hands out of his pockets. Beckman admitted he had a knife in his left pocket and as Sgt. Young was disarming him, Beckman drew a .38-caliber revolver from his right pocket and fired at point blank range, striking Young in the head, side, back and right arm, shattering the bone. Sgt. Young's left hand was also seriously injured.

Just as Beckman prepared to fire again, a store security guard tackled him, and succeeded in wresting the now-empty gun from his hand. Beckman then stabbed the security guard, nearly killing him, and began to search the patrol car, where Young kept his duty-issue rifle and shotgun. Unable to draw his sidearm, Young called for Julian Covella, a 17-year-old police cadet who had been riding with him, to place the weapon in Young's left hand. Firing from a kneeling position, Sgt. Young fired four shots using his weak hand, scoring four hits, killing Beckman before he could harm anyone else. In fact, a later search of Beckman's vehicle uncovered a cache of five pipe bombs.

Sgt. Young and security officer Brett Schott underwent emergency surgery for their life-threatening injuries and survived, both returning to work months later. "I survived because of many years of ongoing training, the actions of two brave men, and because God was by my side," said Young. In his 17 years as a police officer Sgt. Young has faced danger before, but as he said on the "John Walsh Show," "I'm a police officer. This is what I do."

"Sgt. Young's heroism in the line of duty, and his use of his police training to save countless lives has earned him this distinction as NRA's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2003. We are proud to have him as a member of the NRA and on the streets protecting our families. He exemplifies the best in law enforcement," said Ron Kirkland, Director of NRA's Law Enforcement Activities Division.

2002: Patrolman Gary "Kevin" Helms, Shelby County, Tennessee Sheriff's Office

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Patrolman Gary "Kevin" Helms of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office in Arlington, Tenn., has been selected as the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2002.

Patrolman Helms, a 6-year veteran of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, has played many roles within the department. Patrolman Helms has worked in the civil, community police, street crimes, and fugitive units, and his current assignment, uniform patrol. Some of Patrolman Helms' achievements include over 300 arrests and 2,000 radio calls. His diligent work has resulted in the seizure of over 28 lbs. of marijuana, 29 ounces of crack and powder cocaine, 13 vehicles, 50 weapons confiscated, and over $25,000 in cash.

The recommendation to honor Patrolman Helms cites his actions on Jan. 6, 2002. While en route to a vandalism call, Patrolman Helms noticed a vehicle causing a hazard. He stopped to check on the vehicle and asked the driver if he needed assistance.

The driver produced a handgun and shot Patrolman Helms in the chest. The bullet was stopped by his body armor and left only a superficial wound.

Using his police training and competitive shooting experience, Patrolman Helms managed to elude the suspect and take cover by his vehicle. Patrolman Helms then returned fire, striking the suspect several times. The suspect again shot at Patrolman Helms, striking the police radio clipped to his uniform. The blockage of the bullet by the radio most likely saved his life. At this point, Patrolman Helms was able to radio for assistance.

Among his other activities, Patrolman Helms has also attended gang identification school and street survival school. He was accepted to the Sheriff's Office Pistol Team in September 2000, and since then has won numerous shooting awards and trophies.

In August 2002, Patrolman Helms received two purple star merit awards and a medal of valor. He was also presented with a survivor club award from the DuPont Company, and has been added to the Second Chance Body Armor's Survivor Saves Club. Officer Helms is the 857th officer to escape death or serious injury due to wearing Second Chance Body Armor.

Kevin's dedication to his job and his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty prove that he is a valuable asset to both the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Shelby County.

2001: Agent Clay B. Tippit, U.S. Border Patrol, Marfa, Texas

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Agent Clay B. Tippit of the U.S. Border Patrol, stationed in Marfa, Texas, has been selected the NRA 2001 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Agent Tippit, a 16-year veteran of the Border Patrol lies fixed wing aircraft and helicopters patrolling the Rio Grande River between Sierra Blanca and Sanderson, Texas. In addition, he is the 2001 NRA National Police Shooting Champion and the current championship record holder (with a score of 2995 points out of a possible 3000).

Agent Tippit's selection was based on his frequent actions taken to aid persons in need, for his contributions to his community, and for his influence on training and individual proficiency with firearms among his fellow Border Patrol members.

In particular, the recommendation to honor Agent Tippit cites his actions on Jan. 22, 2001, when he directed operations to rescue a rancher who had suffered serious injury in falling from his horse. The area in which the rancher, 85-year-old Ted Harper, had fallen was Northeast of Presidio, Texas, a rugged and isolated area, generally inaccessible except by horseback or helicopter. Agent Tippit flew his aircraft to the area, spotted Harper, then at considerable personal risk due to the terrain, landed and provided first aid. Finally, lacking a suitable means to transport the victim, Agent Tippit directed a second aircraft, equipped to undertake a medical evacuation, to the site and to a safe landing. Harper was flown to a nearby airstrip where he was transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken to the Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, Texas. Due largely to Agent Tippit's prompt and highly professional response, Harper was treated and released after only a few day's hospitalization.

Agent Tippit's contributions to Border Patrol marksmanship need little introduction. In a law enforcement agency with a tradition of individual firearm expertise, Agent Tippit is a standout. He is a two-time (1997 & 2001) NRA National Police Shooting Champion. He has won, at various times, the Stock Semi-Auto Championship, the Service Pistol Aggregate, the Semi-Auto Distinguished Match, and the President's Match. In 2001, he won his fourth consecutive victory in the NRA Special Aggregate, for the Bill Jordan Commemorative National border Patrol Trophy.

In his off-duty hours, Agent Tippit consistently demonstrates the public spirit that is a Border Patrol earmark. He works closely with the youth in the Fort Davis, Texas, area, teaching respect for firearms, firearm safety and marksmanship. He serves, too, as the area leader for the shooting sports for the Fort Davis 4-H. He is currently a certified Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor and a Texas Hunter Education Instructor.

Agent Tippit's personal initiative, persistence, and sense of purpose are truly demonstrated in his pursuit of excellence in his duty, in his continuing efforts to mold the lives of young people in his area, and for projection of a positive image for the shooting sports. As a role model for local youth and for other competitive shooters, he has had a significant impact on the shooting sports and the image of America's law enforcement community. Agent Tippit is a proud representative of all the best traditions of his profession.

2000: Sergeant Harry A Baumann, Clarkstown, New York Police Department

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce that Sergeant Harry A. Baumann of the Clarkstown New York Police Department is the NRA 2000 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. With over 30 years of military and law enforcement service, Sergeant Baumann's dedication to public service exemplifies the qualities that the NRA looks for when bestowing this award.

Sergeant Baumann's military career spans over three decades—he first served in the United States Army, with three tours of duty in Vietnam and a Purple Heart to his credit. He has also served in the U.S. Army Reserves, and retired from the New York State Army National Guard in 1996 after 34 years of service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. In addition to a Purple Heart, Sergeant Baumann has numerous medals and honors to his credit, including one for meritorious police duty.

His law enforcement career began in 1966 as the chief clerk and security officer for Sloan House YMCA in New York City, and Sergeant Baumann has held several law enforcement positions since then, including security officer for the United Nations, and police officer with the New York City Police Department. He has been with the Clarkstown New York Police Department since 1972, when he started as a police officer with the patrol division. In 1992, Sergeant Baumann received a promotion to his current rank of sergeant, and he is now responsible for a squad of 16 patrol officers, the department's efforts to stop DWIs, and he also oversees the division's budget.

Sergeant Baumann's dedication to the shooting sports includes extensive involvement in NRA's Police Pistol Combat (PPC), which is designed to provide additional firearm training for the nation's law enforcement officers; he served as president of New York's PPC Association for six years, sponsored numerous PPC matches, and was instrumental in creating the New York State Regional Police Pistol Combat Match. Additionally, he is a firearm instructor for both his police department and the Rockland County Police Academy.

Sergeant Baumann has always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and considers voting for pro-gun candidates to be his duty to ensure that our right to keep and bear arms is not taken from us. Sergeant Baumann has been an NRA member for the majority of the last 35 years; he became a Life member in 1988. He is also very active in competitive shooting, and has been competing in the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, since 1996, representing the New York Army National Guard and the New York State Pistol teams.

"It is with great honor that I accept this recognition as NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year," Sergeant Baumann said. "As a police officer and NRA firearm instructor, I would like to thank the NRA for their untiring efforts in supporting one of our most treasured documents—the Second Amendment."

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service and dedication to the principles of our constitutional heritage.

1999: Sergeant Stephen Melaragno, Providence, Rhode Island Police Department

Sergeant Steven Melaragno of the Providence, R.I., Police Department, is NRA's 1999 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, not just for his accomplishments over the last 12 months, but for a 22-year career of tireless and effective activism in the preservation of our Second Amendment rights.

Like many police officers, Sergeant Melaragno came from a family where responsible gun ownership was a priority. His father, Pasquale Melaragno, is a retired Providence police officer, former coach of the M.I.T. pistol team, and a winner of NRA's Distinguished College Coach of the Year Award.

Following in his father's footsteps, Steven was appointed to the Providence Police Department in August 1978, and later became the department's firearm instructor and armorer. In Providence, it is the police armorer's duty to review firearm purchase applications for compliance with the waiting period and background checks. Sergeant Melaragno has been praised for "going the extra mile" to ensure that approvals and rejections are made according to the letter of the law, and that no one is denied the right to purchase a firearm without a valid, legal reason.

He has also been instrumental in defeating many anti-gun bills introduced in Rhode Island, going so far as to testify before the Senate and House in numerous public hearings—the only active police officer to do so in many cases.

In 1993, Melaragno was appointed to a committee formed by the mayor of Providence, to propose legislation to combat gun violence in the city. Judges, lawyers, city officials and the police chief were also on the committee. While various gun bans and gun restrictions were discussed, Melaragno was able to convince the committee that the illegal use of guns was the real problem. Working closely with the Rhode Island State Rifle and Revolver Association, Melaragno submitted a proposal calling for tough enforcement, no plea bargaining, and short court dates for offenders. At Melaragno's urging, NRA's offer to provide input on the final bill was accepted by the mayor and the bill passed.

Sergeant Melaragno's long record of service, his commitment to public safety and his personal commitment to protecting the Second Amendment exemplify the finest qualities of American police officers. NRA takes great pride in naming him our Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the Principles of our Constitutional Heritage.

1998: Corporal James E. Hosfelt, Jr., City of Dover, Delaware Police Department

Cpl. James E. Hosfelt, Jr. is a 10-year veteran of the City of Dover (Del.) Police Department. As a result of his exemplary service with the Dover Police Department, Cpl. Hosfelt has received two Class A Commendations, three Distinguished Unit Citations, numerous meritorious citations, and his department's Distinguished Service Award.

Cpl. Hosfelt earned his second Class A Commendation and his third Distinguished Unit Citations for his actions on the morning of Aug. 20, 1998. While on patrol, he and his partner confronted five armed suspects preparing to hold up a local restaurant, forcing them to flee, first on foot and then in a pick-up truck.

Pursuing them on foot and then by car, Cpl. Hosfelt and his partner apprehended two of the suspects as the other three abandoned their vehicle and fled on foot, two of who climbed a fence and entered the grounds of a nearby NASCAR speedway. With the help of fellow officers, under his command, he organized and conducted a search of the speedway that brought two more of the suspects into police custody and which led to the capture of the other suspect at his home nearby.

During the chase and search, Cpl. Hosfelt continually demonstrated extraordinary personal courage, always putting the safety of officers under his command above his own. He unselfishly took the personal risks needed to ensure that all five suspects were apprehended and charged.

Cpl. Hosfelt is an active member of the National Rifle Association, a competitive pistol shooter, has served as captain of the Dover Police Pistol Team, and is a member for the Delaware Governor's 20. He is an NRA-certified Police Firearms Instructor, Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 15, and serves as Treasurer of the Delaware Law Enforcement Marksmanship Association.

Cpl. Hosfelt's devotion to duty, courage, leadership, and dedication to the principles of selfless service to his community are all in keeping with the finest traditions of the law enforcement profession. The National Rifle Association is proud to recognize him as its Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 1998.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the principles of our constitutional heritage.

1997: Officer Diana Dunigan, Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

Diana Dunigan is a 10-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, an NRA Life member and an NRA certified police firearm instructor. She serves in the department's Mounted Patrol Division, riding Apache, a 7-year-old thoroughbred.

On July 14, 1997, Officer Dunigan was on mounted patrol with another female officer when she observed a man breaking into a vehicle. She dismounted and approached to investigate. Seeing the officer, the man fled to an accomplice's car, which the pair used to run Officer Dunigan down. Striking her, the suspect pinned Officer Dunigan's left leg under the vehicle and dragged her several feet before she could get clear.

The suspects then made a second attempt to strike her. Ignoring her injuries, Officer Dunigan responded by reaching into the vehicle to subdue her assailants and, with the aid of her partner, placed them under arrest. Only then did Officer Dunigan allow herself to be rushed to a hospital for emergency medical treatment. In the months since, she has undergone several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation to restore full use of her leg.

Officer Dunigan is a skilled NRA Police Pistol Combat shooter with several state, regional, and national titles and a number of national Police Pistol Combat records.

She is a firm believer in firearm safety and education, and has devoted an enormous amount of time instructing women in the Philadelphia area about gun safety, shooting proficiency, personal protection, home safety and self-assertiveness. As a liaison between local businesses and the Philadelphia Police Department, she conducts community-based meetings on drug problems, home safety evaluations and town watch programs.

Officer Dunigan's unswerving devotion to duty, her outstanding record of service to her department and to the community, her commitment to the NRA and its goals and her extraordinary heroism in the face of extreme personal danger are traits worthy of great praise and emulation by her fellow officers and NRA members.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the principles of our constitutional heritage.

1996: Sheriff Kevin Beary, Orange County Sheriff's Office, Florida

The National Rifle Association is proud to announce the selection of Sheriff Kevin Beary as the 1996 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. This award was presented at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Seattle, Wash., on May 2, 1997, recognizing Beary's exemplary service to his community.

"Sheriff Beary has compiled an outstanding record of public service and the NRA is proud to award him our highest honor for law enforcement officers serving our country," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

An NRA Life member, Sheriff Beary was elected to office in 1992 and commands one of the largest sheriff's departments in the nation. His career has been characterized by close cooperation with local community leaders to develop innovative programs aimed at preventing crime including: a Felony Squad to target career criminals; a Children's Safety Village to help children learn about safety in a wide variety of situations; a Gang Enforcement Unit to punish and prevent gang violence; a Domestic Violence Squad to protect women and families; the Gang Resistance Education and Training program (GREAT) to educate teens about gang violence; and a cost-recovery program that holds criminals responsible for the cost of investigating their crime.

Sheriff Beary has also revitalized and expanded "Neighborhood Watch" programs, implemented a Tourist Oriented Policing Division and placed more than 100 new deputies on the streets of Orange County. Under his direction, several of the units in the Orange County Sheriff's Office have been recognized for excellence at both the state and national levels. A strong believer in the rights of citizens to protect their homes and families, Sheriff Beary is a leading supporter of "shall issue" concealed carry permits for civilians. During his tenure, the sheriff's department has launched a comprehensive firearm training program for citizens interested in owning a firearm, and he has opened the department range facilities to civilian groups.

"Sheriff Beary demands the highest standards of professionalism from his employees, has zero tolerance of criminals and is a leader in the field of citizen involvement in crime control," said NRA President Marion P. Hammer. "He serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when the NRA, law enforcement, the business community, and ordinary citizens all work together."

Sheriff Beary is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and the FBI National Executive Institute, and he is an honor graduate of the FBI National Academy. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army, the Children's Safety Village, CrimeLine, Seminole Community College, Central Florida National Safety Council and the Tangelo Park Project. His dedication to the community has been recognized by the Citrus Sports Foundation, the Military Order of World Wars, and the Central Florida Boy Scouts of America.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the Principles of our Constitutional Heritage.

1995: Chief Michael Dorn, Bibb County Public Schools Campus Police Department, Georgia

Chief Michael Dorn of the Bibb County, Ga., Public Schools Campus Police Department is the recipient of the 1995 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. This award recognizes exceptional valor or service performed by a law enforcement officer.

In 1989, Dorn was appointed Chief of the Bibb County Public Schools Police Department. Under his direction, over 15,000 children have been introduced to the NRA Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program.

Chief Dorn, a 16-year law enforcement veteran, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the child gun safety and accident prevention arena. Because of his statewide efforts, Dorn has become the #1 program promoter throughout the state of Georgia as well as to various law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The efforts of Chief Dorn have led to a heightened awareness and grassroots support for a national child gun safety program that helps save lives and prevent injuries.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the principles of our constitutional heritage.

1994: Sheriff Richard Mack, Graham County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

Sheriff Richard Mack of the Graham County (Arizona) Sheriff's Office is the recipient of the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. This award recognizes exceptional valor or service performed by a law enforcement officer.

A 17-year law enforcement veteran, Sheriff Mack has worked to protect the citizens of Graham County as well as the constitutional rights of all Americans. In federal court, Mack successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Brady Bill (5th and 10th Amendments). A motion by the federal government to have the judge's ruling apply only to Sheriff Mack was denied.

Richard Mack, co-author of the book From My Cold Dead Fingers, is currently lecturing across the nation and has appeared on "Good Morning America," the "Donahue Show," CNN and over 75 radio talk shows. He is also organizing the Graham County Militia under the Arizona State Constitution.

A student of the Constitution as it applies to law enforcement, Mack has written in regards to the Second Amendment:

"It was the intention of our Founding Fathers that the people be the masters of government and that the government be the servant of the people. It was never intended that the master fear the servant and that we be forced into humble submission through governmental intimidation."

In addition, Richard Mack finds time to be a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructor as well as a devoted husband and father of five children.

The NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service or dedication to the principles of our constitutional heritage.

1993: Officer Tina Dillard, DeKalb County, Georgia Police Department

Officer Tina Dillard, DeKalb County, Georgia Police Department

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