Awards

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This directive is for internal use only and does not enlarge an employee’s civil liability in any way. The directive should not be construed as creating a higher duty of care, in an evidentiary sense, with respect to third party civil claims against employees. Violations of this directive, if proven, can only form the basis of a complaint by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for non-judicial administrative action in accordance with the rules and laws governing employee discipline.
DIRECTIVE TYPE: POLICY SUBJECT: Awards NUMBER: PERS-501.01
APPROVED BY: Sheriff Ken Christesen EFFECTIVE DATE: 7/12/2015
NMLEA STANDARDS: Not Applicable LAST MODIFIED: 6/29/2017 LAST REVIEW: 6/27/2017


PURPOSE:


The purpose of this policy is to establish written guidelines to promote excellence in law enforcement and recognize outstanding performance by members of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office as well as volunteers and citizens who significantly support and assist the mission of the Sheriff’s Office.


POLICY:


Members of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office often find themselves in situations dictated by circumstances beyond their control and which they have no way to prepare for or prevent from happening. Within this hectic environment there are times when these members perform at a superior level that is above and beyond the call of duty.


Additionally, citizens typically rely upon law enforcement to deal with situations for which they are ill-equipped or untrained to handle. However, circumstances may arise where they find themselves in a unique position to provide invaluable service to law enforcement and/or the community. When these situations do occur and the citizen displays a high level of courage or humanity, the Sheriff’s Office believes that the proper recognition is highly warranted.


This policy outlines specific standards that will be used to measure outstanding achievement or conduct and how that achievement will be recognized.


DEFINITIONS:


The following definitions will apply for the purposes of this policy:


  • Awards Coordinator – An appointed Sheriff’s Office member that coordinates all conferred awards. The Awards Coordinator is responsible for the procurement of award plaques, medals, and certificates and supervises the Annual Awards Ceremony or other presentation venue for awards conferred upon Sheriff’s Office members.


  • Citizen – Any resident of San Juan County, the State of New Mexico, or the United States of America.


  • Deputy – All sworn Sheriff’s Office personnel regardless of rank as well as reserve deputies.


  • Letter of Recognition – A memo submitted by supervisory personnel formally recognizing exemplary performance of a Sheriff’s Office member(s).


  • Member - All compensated personnel of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.


  • Volunteer – All official members of the SJCSO Volunteers in Partnership (V.I.P.) or the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Foundation.


PROCEDURE:


DEPUTY AWARDS (Eligibility: sworn law enforcement personnel)


  • Medal of Valor - This award is presented to deputies who perform their duty to the highest standards despite the immediate threat of great bodily harm or death to themselves or others. This award is recognized as the highest award within the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.


  • Medal of Commendation – This award is presented to deputies who perform their duty to the highest standards and in a manner that demonstrates their dedication to achieving the mission of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. This award may be given for actions in the field requiring immediate action or which required an extended period of time to achieve.


  • Exceptional Service Medal – This award is presented to deputies who, during the course of their official duties, provide a service that is carried out in a superior manner. This award may be given for duties including, but not limited to; enforcement activity, departmental service, community service, etc.


  • Purple Heart Medal – This award is presented to deputies who have sustained a significant injury in the line of duty. A significant injury would consist of an injury that had the potential to be life threatening. The Purple Heart Medal may be awarded in addition to another medal if warranted.


  • Deputy of the Year – This award is presented to a deputy who has been selected by his or her peers and has consistently exhibited a dedication to duty, compassion, and a strong work ethic. Supervisors (sergeant and above), reserve deputies, and special deputies are ineligible to receive this award.


  • DWI Deputy of the Year – This award is presented to the deputy who has made arresting DWI offenders a major priority in addition to his or her normal duties. This deputy will be selected based on obtaining the highest total number of DWI arrests for the year.


  • Expert Firearms Award – This award is presented to deputies who display expert marksmanship skills during the annual firearms qualifications. Expert marksmanship is defined as obtaining a 96% or better for all firearms issued and/or approved for use by the deputy.


MEMBER AWARDS (Eligibility: all compensated members unless otherwise noted)


  • Life Saving Medal – This award is presented to members due to their quick actions and selfless response which saved the life of another.


  • Certificate of Merit – This recognition is presented to a member who displays unusual gallantry, extraordinary fidelity, and praiseworthy, admirable, or courageous behavior but does not meet the criteria for the Medal of Valor.


  • Exceptional Service Award – This award is presented to members who, during the course of their official duties, provide a service that is carried out in a superior manner. This award may be given for duties including, but not limited to; departmental service, community service, etc. (This award is reserved for non-sworn members of SJCSO.)


  • Military Service Award – This is award is presented to members who serve, or have served, in the United States Military or National Guard (active or reserve). Members who have served in ROTC or JROTC only are ineligible to receive this award.


  • Certificate of Exceptional Service– This recognition is presented to any member who consistently performs their assigned duties in an exemplary manner but does not meet the criteria for one of the above awards.


VOLUNTEER AWARDS (Eligibility: any volunteer)


  • Volunteer Exceptional Service Award – This award is presented to volunteers who, during the course of their volunteer duties, provide a service that is carried out in a superior manner. This award may be given for duties including, but not limited to; enforcement activity, departmental service, and community service.


  • Volunteer Certificate of Exceptional Service – This recognition is presented to any volunteer who consistently performs their assigned duties in an exemplary manner but does not meet the criteria for the Volunteer Exceptional Service Award.


  • Reserve Deputy of the Year – This award is presented to a reserve deputy who has been selected by his or her peers and/or certified deputies and has exhibited a dedication to duty, compassion, and a strong work ethic. (Reserve command staff and special deputies are ineligible for this award)


CITIZEN AWARDS (Eligibility: any citizen)


  • Life Saving Medal – This award is presented to citizens when their quick actions and selfless response assisted in saving the life of another.


  • Outstanding Citizen Award – This award is presented to citizens who significantly assist or support the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office to achieve its mission.


NOMINATION


With the exception of Letters of Recognition, Military Service Awards, and Expert Firearms Awards, the following procedure will be utilized to nominate a Sheriff’s Office member, volunteer, or citizen for an award.


Any Sheriff’s Office member who has firsthand information of conduct for which they wish to nominate a member, volunteer, or citizen may submit a written nomination to the chain of command utilizing the appropriate Award Nomination form.


Upon receiving a nomination, each member of the chain of command will review it and may choose to agree with, disagree with, or recommend a different level award than the one indicated on the nomination form.


After the chain of command review, the nomination will be forwarded to the Sheriff for final review. The Sheriff, while considering the input from the chain of command review, will approve, deny, or approve a different level of award than the one indicated on the nomination form.


Upon approval, the nomination will be forwarded to the Awards Coordinator to be conferred.


Rejected nominations will be returned to the nominating member with a recommendation of either resubmitting the award with additional information or recognizing the nominated member with a letter of recognition.


LETTERS OF RECOGNITION


All Sheriff’s Office supervisors are encouraged to recognize the exemplary performance of their subordinates by submitting a “Letter of Recognition” form to the Sheriff through the chain of command. This form will be placed in the employee’s Administrative File and a copy should also be placed in the Division File to be referenced during the next performance evaluation.


EXPERT FIREARMS AWARD


At the completion of the annual firearms qualification, the training sergeant will compile a list of all personnel who have scored a 96% or better for all firearms issued and/or approved for use by the deputy. Those who have scores of a 96% or better on their first qualification attempt with these firearms during the same annual qualification will be awarded the Expert Firearms Award. Members are not required to maintain 96% or better on subsequent qualifications to “keep” the award. The Expert Firearms award will be conferred once the requirements have been achieved. This award will only be given once during a member’s career.


MILITARY SERVICE AWARD


Members who are currently serving or have ever served in the United States Military or National Guard will be awarded the Military Service Award. Members will be required to show proof of service with a DD214, retirement certificate, or valid military ID card. This award will only be given once during a member’s career.


CONFERRING AN AWARD


To confer any award the Sheriff has the overall approval.


Once the Sheriff has approved an award, the Awards Coordinator will notify the person who will receive the award of the decision.


Members who earn the Medal of Valor, Medal of Commendation, Exceptional Service Medal, and the Life Saving Medal will be presented with a plaque, medal, and a uniform bar that may be worn on the uniform. Members earning all other awards will be presented with a plaque or certificate. All conferred awards will be documented in the member’s personnel file.


Members who earn the Certificate of Merit, the Expert Firearms Award, or the Military Service Award will be awarded a certificate and a uniform bar that may be worn on the uniform.


Members who earn Deputy of the Year, Reserve Deputy of the Year, or DWI Deputy of the Year will be awarded a plaque and a uniform bar that may be worn on the uniform.


All awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Ceremony except for letters of recognition. Letters of recognition are presented by the employee’s immediate supervisor or the issuing supervisor and shall be made during a briefing, staff meeting, supervisor meeting, or other informal gathering.


In the event the presentation of an award cannot be done at the Annual Awards Ceremony the presentation of an award to a member will be done at a place and time of the Awards Coordinator’s choosing, with approval from the Sheriff.


Civilian award presentations may be done at the Annual Awards Ceremony, a special press conference, or a company/employer meeting. Civilian award presentations will be made with approval from the Sheriff and coordinated by the Awards Coordinator.


Members choosing to display an awarded uniform bar on their duty uniform will do so in accordance with the Sheriff’s Office Uniform & Appearance Policy.


CROSS REFERENCES:


  1. SJCSO Policy PERS-510.00 “Uniform & Appearance”