Justice Department Honors Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Justice Department last Thursday announced the recipients of the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. This year’s awards recognize the exceptional work of 18 law enforcement officers and deputies from 12 jurisdictions across the country, including two from the Eastern District of Virginia.

This year’s awardees included Norfolk Police Department Detective Jonathan Smith and the late Detective Victor Powell, who was awarded posthumously.

Attorney General Garland announced the award recipients in Atlanta, Georgia. Later, he attended a ceremony for three award recipients from the DeKalb County Police Department. 

“The work of law enforcement has always been difficult—but perhaps no more so than in the recent past, as officers have faced a host of significant challenges. The officers and deputies receiving this year’s awards demonstrate how so many go above and beyond, even in the midst of trying circumstances,” he said. “Every day, thousands of people who work in law enforcement forge and maintain strong community ties that are essential for ensuring public safety. The recipients of this award represent quintessential examples of such critical efforts. It is an honor to recognize them.”

“Detectives Jonathan Smith and Victor Powell showed exemplary passion and dedication to the people of EDVA for their work to identify the perpetrator of an unsolved murder from 1980,” said Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Thanks to their efforts, this killer was brought to justice and the victims’ family found some measure of peace. It is an honor to work alongside the Norfolk Police Department, and all of our police department partners.”

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, Tribal, and territorial police officers, deputies, and troopers for exceptional efforts in community policing. The awarded officers and deputies have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: innovations in community policing, criminal investigations, or field operations. This year, the Department received 185 nominations from 145 agencies, recognizing a total of 347 individual officers, deputies, and troopers. There were 39 states represented in the nomination pool, covering state, local, campus, sheriff, and other agency types.

The work being honored this year reflects numerous examples of law enforcement officers working closely with the community to build trust, solve problems, reduce crime, and improve public safety.

The Department of Justice works closely with national law enforcement stakeholder groups during the award review period, taking advantage of their expertise and experience to determine the recipients in a competitive nomination process. The Department also works closely with its components, utilizing the breadth of knowledge within the Department to ensure a successful program that honors the exceptional service of our nation’s law enforcement officers and deputies.

Complete information on the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.