Annual Awards

Displayed here are the officers, civilian employees and citizens who have done outstanding work during the year. Read below the detailed accounts of these individuals and awards.

Award Descriptions

Life Saving Award
May be given in cases where an employee’s actions directly result in a life being saved.
Medal of Valor
May be awarded to the employees who distinguish by performing courageous acts above-and-beyond the call of duty, and involving risk or imminent danger to their lives. Such acts must have been performed for the purpose of saving or protecting human life. Employees must perform acts so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes their courage from other forms of recognized bravery. There must be no margin of doubt or possibility or error in awarding this honor.
Ultimate Service Award
May be given in cases where an employee dies while on duty or while rendering direct service to the citizens of Salt Lake City under conditions that do not meet the guidelines set forth in the Medal of Valor Award.
Police Purple Heart Award
May be awarded to any sworn member who in the necessary performance of law enforcement functions, on or off duty, receives serious bodily injury, or posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed or die of wounds received in the line of duty. This award does not include injury in motor vehicle accidents unless special circumstances are determined to exist by the awards committee. The injury must not be the result of the employee's own negligence.
Police Medal
May be awarded to the employees who in the line of police duty, distinguished themselves by performing courageous acts involving rick of imminent serious personal injury for the purpose of saving or protecting human life; or, in the course of an extended investigation, demanding continuous exposure to grave personal hazard, and willingly accept such risk in the service of the Department; or, for extraordinarily credible and unusual police accomplishments.
Police Star
May be awarded to employees who, in the line of police duty, distinguish themselves by performing courageous acts involving personal hazard in protecting or saving human life; or similar acts necessary to effect an arrest to prevent the escape of a person who committed an act which seriously exposed any person to death or serious personal injury. Furthermore, the Police Star may be awarded to employees of the Department for performing highly credible and unusual police accomplishments.
Police Distinguished Service Medal
This medal is the Department's highest award for service and may be awarded to employees who distinguish themselves by performing exceptional service in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement.
Police Meritorious Service Medal
May be awarded to employees who perform meritorious service similar to, but to a lesser degree than, that required for the Police Distinguished Service Medal.
Gold Star
Awarded to a Sergeant or above when they have received a multiple of the same award - may be worn over the pin
Nickel Star
Awarded to an Officer when they have received a multiple of the same award - may be worn over the pin
Legacy Award
Police Distinguished Unit Citation
This citation is the Department's highest unit award and may be awarded to an organizational unit of the Department for bravery or outstanding service by its employees functioning as a team.
Police Meritorious Unit Citation
May be awarded to an organizational unit of the Department for bravery or outstanding to, but a lesser degree than, that required for the Police Department Unit Citation.
Public Service Medal of Valor
May be awarded to citizens who give their lives in service to the community or distinguish themselves by performing courageous acts beyond the call of civic duty and involving risk or imminent danger to their lives. Furthermore, such acts must have been performed for the purpose of saving or protecting human life. Citizens must perform acts so outstanding that it clearly distinguished their courage from other forms of recognized bravery. There must be no margin of doubt or possibility of error in awarding this honor.
Public Service Star
May be awarded to citizens who distinguish themselves by performing courageous acts involving personal hazard in protecting or saving human life, or similar acts necessary to effect the arrest or prevent the escape of a person who committed an act which seriously exposed any person to death or serious injury.
Partner in Public Safety
May be awarded to an employee of the community who aided Police Department members or rendered meritorious service to community law enforcement efforts
Police Tactical De-Escalation Medal
May be awarded to employees who, in the line of police duty, utilize exceptional tactical skills, verbal approaches and/or techniques to de-escalate a situation that could have resulted in the use of deadly force or used to sustain human life. This award will be presented monthly to employees that meet the above criteria and will be recognized at the annual Awards Gala.
Civilian Humanitarian Service Award
This medal is awarded for direct "hands-on" participation in an act or operation of a humanitarian nature directed toward an individual or group of individuals while at work or outside of work.
Civilian Service Award
This medal is the Department's highest award for service and may be awarded to employees who distinguish themselves by performing exceptional service in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement.
Civilian Unit Award
This citation is the Department's highest unit award and may be awarded to an organizational unit of the Department for bravery or outstanding service by its employees functioning as a team.
Chief Awards
The Chief awards the Civilian of the Year, Officer of the Year, Unit of the Year and Chief's Special Recognition.
Outstanding Tactics Award
May be awarded to employees who, in the line of police duty, utilize exceptional tactical skills, verbal approaches and/or techniques to de-escalate a situation that could have resulted in the use of deadly force, or to sustain human life.

2019/2020 Awardees

Police Medal of Valor: former SLCPD Officer Kristopher Smith, former SLCPD Officer Brandon Johnson, former SLCPD Officer Doug Dunbar, Detective Christopher Nielsen, Detective Nicholas Telles, Officer Wyatt Sackett, Officer Randi Thomas, Officer Michael Melycher, Officer Miles Knapp, Officer Darren Nichols, and Officer Aaron Hargrove.

On August 8, 2020, a vehicle with five passengers, four of them juveniles, lost control and crashed into the overflow canal of the Jordan River. The driver and two passengers escaped, but one 14-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl were trapped in the vehicle, which was overturned and sinking.

Officers Nichols, Knapp, Nielsen, Johnson and Smith jumped into the water and dove under the surface, attempting to locate the trapped juveniles inside the car. Officer Smith located the 14-year-old and helped get him to shore where Officer Melycher pulled him out of the water. Officer Smith assisted with CPR until relieved by paramedics.

Officers Dunbar, Thomas, Melycher, Hargrove, Sackett, and Telles also jumped into the water as they arrived and attempted to find the wto-year-old and then hold the car back as it continued to slide farther into the water. They helped tie a rope onto the vehicle that was then secured to shore. Paramedics with scuba gear were ultimately able to locate the two-year-old. Each of these officers entered the water at great personal risk, in the dark, to try to rescue the two passengers. They struggled against the weight of the vehicle and lack of traction on the muddy floor of the river without protective gear. When paramedics arrived, they remained in the water to assist in the recovery effort. The 14-year-old and two-year-old both later died. This, however, does not diminish the effort made and risks taken by the officers in the rescue effort.

For their actions on August 8, 2020, former Officer Kristopher Smith, former Officer Brandon Johnson, former Officer Doug Dunbar, Detective Christopher Nielsen, Detective Nicholas Telles, Officer Wyatt Sackett, Officer Randi Thomas, Officer Michael Melycher, Officer Miles Knapp, Officer Darren Nichols, and Officer Aaron Hargrove are hereby awarded the Police Medal of Valor.

Lifesaving Award: Officer Jeremy Gaskins, Officer Zachary Nold, Officer Brendyn Scott

On May 30, 2019, Officers Gaskins, Nold and Scott responded to a location near Sherwood Park after receiving information that a Marine veteran was inside a garage attempting to kill himself by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. When the three officers arrived, they could detect the odor of vehicle exhaust coming from inside the locked garage. Through a window, Officer Nold observed a male inside a running vehicle and communicated this to Officers Gaskin and Officer Scott. Understanding the need to take decisive and immediate action to prevent death, Officer Scott kicked open the locked door. The three officers used outstanding skills to safely pull the semi-conscious person from the vehicle and outside of the garage. Paramedics transported the subject to the hospital where he received necessary life-saving medical treatment. The actions of Officers Scott, Gaskins and Nold demonstrated their character, courage, commitment to our community, and compassion and reflect the superior caliber of officers of this department.

For their dedication and compassion which resulted in the saving of another’s life, Officer Jeremy Gaskins, Officer Zachary Nold, Officer Brendyn Scott are hereby award the Police Lifesaving Award.

Lifesaving Award: Officer Miles Knapp and former SLCPD Officer Colby Bentley

On April 20, 2019, Officer Knapp and former SLCPD Officer Bentley received information about an individual in crisis who accessed a high-rise apartment balcony in downtown near the County Government Center. A witness reported the subject jumping from balcony to balcony. The two officers arrived and found the subject on a fifth-floor balcony, standing on the railing looking out and holding the ledge above. A resident of the apartment complex allowed former Officer Bentley and Officer Knapp access inside her apartment so they could safely contact the subject. When the subject saw former Officer Bentley, he let go of the ledge. Officer Bentley’s quick action likely kept the man from falling. With the help of Officer Knapp, the person was then taken safely into custody despite significant physical resistance. He was then transported to UMED for an evaluation.

For their actions on April 20, 2019, Officer Knapp and former SLCPD Officer Bentley are hereby awarded the Police Lifesaving Award.

Lifesaving Award: Officer Nicholas Telles

On May 12, 2019, Detective Telles responded to a location near Riverside Park to help with a home invasion robbery. Upon arrival, Detective Telles located the victim with a severe gunshot wound to the arm. Detective Telles was the first responding officer and calmly began assessing the injuries and applied a tourniquet to the victim’s arm while also attempting to obtain critical information concerning the suspects. The bleeding was controlled by the application of the tourniquet and medical personnel credited the application of the tourniquet to saving the victim’s life.

For his actions on May 12, 2019, Detective Telles is hereby awarded the Police Lifesaving Award.

//]]>