IACP Indian Country Officer of the Year
This award provides international recognition to law enforcement officers who have demonstrated exceptional valor in service to the people of Indian Country, thereby exhibiting the highest traditions of law enforcement.
The 2024 Nomination Period is now open. Click here to nominate an outstanding officer today.
The winner will be recognized at the 2024 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section Midyear meeting.
The Indian Country Officer of the Year Award provides international recognition to law enforcement officers who have demonstrated exceptional valor in service to the people of Indian Country, thereby exhibiting the highest traditions of law enforcement.
A nominee must be a sworn law enforcement officer employed within Indian Country, regardless of rank or position, who has performed an act of valor, or exceptional service during the calendar year. A posthumous award may be made in the name of a law enforcement officer to the surviving spouse, child or parent of such officer.
- Chief Executive Letter
- A complete report of the incident or act
- Copies of all official reports, statements, photographs, maps, etc.; and
- If available, related media reports such as videotapes, newspaper articles, etc.
The 2023 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section's partnership with FirstNet - Built with AT&T honors Officer Jared Buckaloo from the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department as Officer of the Year.
On the evening of July 22, 2022, Chickasaw Lighthorse K9 Officer Buckaloo identified a suspicious vehicle in the WinStar World Casino parking lot. The individual inside the vehicle noticed Officer Buckaloo in his patrol car and looked as if he was attempting to conceal or destroy an object. Upon approaching the vehicle, the subject started the vehicle and fled the scene.
There was a short pursuit through and around the parking lot until the subject left his car and the pursuit continued on foot. Officer Buckaloo followed the subject past a residence where adults and children were swimming in an outdoor pool. When the subject stopped for a brief moment, he brandished and raised a pistol while verbally threatening Officer Buckaloo's life. Officer Buckaloo tackled the subject and a brief struggle ensued. Unable to dislodge the firearm from the subject's hand, Officer Buckaloo retrieved his own service weapon and fired, halting the attacked. The suspect ultimately succumbed to his injuries.
It was later learned that the suspect had been wanted as a multistate sex offender. Had it not been for the courageous, quick-thinking actions of Officer Buckaloo, the suspect could have harmed multiple civilians and the officer.
The 2022 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section's partnership with FirstNet - Built with AT&T honors Officer Javier Bracamontes and Officer Maurisio Miranda from the Gila River Police department as Officers of the Year.
On April 15, 2021 at 02:00, Gila River Police Department Officers Maurisio Miranda and Javier Bracamontes were on duty at a casino located on the Gila River Indian Community in Central Arizona, resolving a stolen vehicle incident. Their attention was immediately diverted to shots being fired approximately 50 yards from their location in the parking garage. The officers quickly observed a subject chasing an individual across the parking garage while shooting at them. Unbeknownst to the officers at that time, the shooter had already shot and killed another individual who lay dead next to their vehicle. The suspect cornered the fleeing victim, raised their gun to the victim's head and fired. The victim instinctively raised their bag to their face as a shield. A can of pepper spray inside of the bag stopped the bullet.
Officers Miranda and Bracamontes, without concern for their own safety, immediately engaged the suspect by pursuing and exchanging fire with the suspect until the suspect's gun jammed. The suspect tossed the gun to the ground and fled on foot from the officers. Both officers continued their pursuit and were able to catch up and contain the suspect. Officers Miranda and Bracamontes effectively used an electronic control weapon to safely take the suspect into custody. Throughout the incident they adjusted their tactics and use of force in response to the changing risk factors.
Further investigation revealed that this suspect was part of a white supremacist gang in the Phoenix area. He had followed the victims to the casino and hid in the back of their truck with the intention of killing them. When the victims exited the casino later that night the suspect ambushed them both.
Officer Bracamontes and Miranda embody what it means to be a police officer by their selfless acts, committed service, and heroism putting their own lives at risk for the safety of the community.
The 2021 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section's partnership with FirstNet - Built with AT&T honors Officer Michael Cook and Officer Kasey Way from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Police Department as Officers of the Year.
The 2020 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section in partnership with FirstNet Built with AT&T honored Officer Alexis De Los Santos from the Miccosukee Police Department as Officer of the Year. Read about his story on the IACP Blog.
The 2019 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section in partnership with FirstNet Built with AT&T honored Officer Marvin Luke Big Boy Gribble from the Colville Tribal Police Department as Officer of the Year.
The 2018 IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section in partnership with FirstNet Built with AT&T honored Officer Michael Carlow and Officer Jonnie Cordell of Crow Creek Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services as Officers of the Year. Read about the officers stories on the IACP Blog.