The Medal of Honor is awarded by the Chief of Police to an individual for an act of outstanding bravery or heroism by which the individual has demonstrated in great degree the characteristics of selflessness, personal courage, and devotion to duty at the risk of his/her own life. The individual’s actions substantially contributed to the saving of, or attempted saving of a human life.
This is the highest and most prestigious department award and there must be no margin of doubt or possibility of error in awarding this honor. To justify the decoration, the actions must clearly render the individual conspicuous by an act so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes heroism beyond the call of duty from lesser forms of bravery. It must be the type of deed that, if not done, would not subject the individual to any justified criticism.
A posthumous award may be made to an individual who has lost his/her life under conditions where the officer endangered themselves in circumstances consistent with good police practices.
The Medal of Valor is awarded by the Chief of Police to an individual for an act, in the face of great danger, wherein valor, courage, and bravery are demonstrated over and above that normally demanded and expected.
This is the second highest department award and to warrant this distinctive decoration, the act must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and by its nature involved the saving of a human life, or attempted saving of a human life, the prevention of a serious crime, or the apprehension of a person who committed a serious crime. The action must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous.
The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded by the Chief of Police to an individual who performs an act of heroism involving an unusual situation or sudden occurrence of a serious and urgent nature that demands immediate action, the utilization of exceptional tactics, demonstrates good judgement, zeal, or ingenuity over and above what is normally demanded and expected, and preventing the incident from escalating to a deadly force situation. For purposes of this award, a critical incident will refer to any rapidly unfolding and dynamic incident where the suspect is armed and the ability or intent to use lethal force is present. Exceptional tactics will include utilization of proper tactics and appropriate force, including the use of less lethal options, or ingenuity, preventing the incident from escalating to a deadly force situation.
The Purple Heart is awarded by the Chief of Police to an individual who is seriously or critically injured while performing a heroic and/or police action. This award is limited to those cases resulting from attack by an assailant, personal combat, or the performance of an act of valor.
The Lifesaving Award is awarded by the Chief of Police to an individual who, through exceptional knowledge and behavior, performs a physical act which saves the life of another person, and there is no danger to the individual's life.
Excellence in Crime Prevention is awarded to an individual who, through personal initiative and ingenuity, develops a program or plan which contributes significantly to the department's mission; or through innovative crime prevention strategies, combats issues affecting the community.
The Community Service Award is awarded to an individual who, by virtue of sacrifice and expense of his or her time, fosters or contributes to a valuable and successful program in the area of community service or affairs, or who acts to substantially improve police/community relations through contribution of time and effort when not involved in an official capacity.
An Official Commendation is awarded to an individual who by exemplary condut and demeanor, performs at a superior level of duty, exhibiting perserverance with actions resulting in a significant contribution to the department and/or improvement to the quality of life in the community, or an individual who supervised or managed a tactical situation of an active, evolving incident as the on-scene commander.
The Officer of the Year Award is presented annually to an officer who has represented the department in all facets of law enforcement with a commitment to excellence, in support of the mission and values of the organization. The officer has consistently persevered in the prevention of crime and demonstrated initiative, leadership and dedication to the law enforcement profession.
This award may be presented annually to an individual officer, technician, corporal, detective, sergeant, or command officer, or as determined by the Chief of Police.
The Career Service Employee of the Year Award is presented annually to a CS employee who has represented the department in all facets of service with a commitment to excellence, in support of the values of the organization, and a desire to represent the department in the manner in which they were hired.
The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to a volunteer in the program with a distinguished commitment to excellence, in support of the values of the organization.
Denver police officers who received the Citizens Appreciate Police Award were honored at a ceremony on April 13, 2016. For a complete list of all Citizens Appreciate Police Award recipients, view the award recipient roster.
Formed in 1978 by Mayor Bill McNichols and District Attorney Dale Tooley, CAP is a non-profit organization that recognizes Denver police officers that serve the public above and beyond the regular call of duty. Since inception, more than 200 officers have received the CAP Award.
Nominations for the CAP Award come primarily from letters to the Chief of Police from private citizens commending an officer for their actions while either on or off duty. To submit a nomination directly, letters may be sent to: Citizens Appreciate Police, 1331 Cherokee Street, Room 402, Denver, CO 80204.