IACP Leadership in Public Information Management Award

IACP Leadership in Public Information Management Award

The IACP Leadership in Public Information Management Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual public information officer and his or her ability to effectively disseminate information to the public

Applications are now closed

The 2024 award nomination period is now closed. Complete the 2025 Awards Interest Form to receive information as it becomes available.

Special consideration will be given to nominees who demonstrate innovative use of social media and successful informative management during a critical incident. All sworn and civilian public information officers are eligible for this award.

For further information, contact awards@theIACP.org.

2023 Winner

Paul Walker
Media Relations Officer
Abbotsford Police Department, Canada

Media Relations Officer Paul Walker, Abbotsford Police Department, Canada

In November 2021, British Columbia, including the City of Abbotsford, experienced catastrophic flooding. “States of Emergency” were declared in response to the significant flooding, land destabilization, and road closures. The evacuation of over 3,000 citizens was required due to the impact on the local infrastructure. The Abbotsford Police Department’s crisis communication media response to this incident, guided by Sergeant Paul Walker, strategically used a variety of media platforms to provide timely information to citizens, facilitate evacuations, direct displaced persons to reception centers, and maintain community confidence. As a result of the work of emergency responders and the innovation and leadership demonstrated by Sergeant Walker, no human lives were lost in the disaster.

2022 Winner

Michael Shaw
First Lieutenant
Michigan State Police 

Michael Shaw_Michigan State Police

First Lieutenant Michael Shaw is the first Michigan State Police full time enlisted public information officer and has served in that position since 2013. Prior to the 1st Lt. Shaw, his agency only used uniformed members during large scale events. 1st Lt. Shaw is responsible for media and public relations in the metro Detroit region. 1st Lt. has worked hard to build a strong working relationship with the various media outlets in his area. In addition to building relationships, he also established a daily incident log that highlighted examples of good police work and information on high profile cases. 1st Lt. Shaw shared this log that highlighted examples of good police work and information on high profile cases. 

2021 Winner

Amanda McNew
Media Manager
Grapevine Police Department 

Grapevine Police Department's Media Manager, Amanda McNew, was hired during the transition from a sworn position of Public Information Officer (PIO) to a civilian PIO. Mrs. McNew quickly identified areas of improvement, including changes to social media posts, a new delivery style for news releases, the development of a crisis communications plan, and the creation of a network of neighboring PIOs to call for aid during a critical incident. With the canceling of in-person events due to COVID-19, Mrs. McNew developed ways to maintain a strong relationship with the community. She created a music video featuring a police officer singing "What a Wonderful World" over images of the city, she arranged another video with officers saying "thank you" to medical personnel and first responders, and she helped plan and execute an alternative National Night Out To-Go, featuring a drive-thru parade. Media Manager Amanda McNew is always looking at ways to improve communication in the future, including the expansion of alternative text on social media photos and proactively seeking to post critical information in both English and Spanish. Her belief that everyone deserves access to information has enhanced the department's reputation as trustworthy and forthcoming. 

2020 Winner

Cody Thomas
Public Relations Director
Nebraska State Patrol

Cody Thomas

Since 2017, Public Relations Director Cody Thomas has single-handedly revamped the Nebraska State Patrol’s (NSP) communications with the media and the community through several innovative efforts. His proactive strategy involves tracking sentiment scores for media stories and social media, increasing media releases, increasing photo/video opportunities, and highlighting NSP involvement in community activities. However, Director Thomas’ most impressive initiative comes from his work on social media. Through a vast team of social media contributors, Director Thomas  has generated creative posts that work to highlight NSP’s personality, community connection, diverse workforce, and provide an outlet for serious public safety information as well as light-hearted posts. One example includes the efforts that showed NS troopers working to save lives and property throughout the March 2019 blizzards and flooding; another example showed a humorous clip of troopers making a traffic stop of a vehicle made entirely of snow. Hailed by the department for his ability to humanize the troopers and effectively handle critical incidences such as line of duty deaths and critical incidences, Director Thomas has made a significant impact on the NSP.

2019 Winner

Carissa Katekaru 
Media Relations Coordinator & Public Information Officer
North Richland Hills, Texas, Police Department

Carissa Katekaru

In 2017, the North Richland Hills Police Department selected Carissa Katekaru to fill the newly formed media coordinator position. She has since addressed the agency’s communication challenges and formulated a new and innovative approach to communication by blending both traditional and social media strategies. Ms. Katekaru took several strategic steps to build important traditional and social media networks, showing all aspects of local law enforcement. Fundamental to this change was presenting information quickly, accurately, and in a unbiased way. Aside from up-to-the-minute reports on community incidents and interest pieces, Ms. Katekaru artfully crafted several media stories showing police officers as real people. One video in particular, “The Sound of Silence,” achieved over two million views on YouTube and was featured by national media.

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