The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has partnered with Target to present the 2020 IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year Award. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding achievement in law enforcement and honors these heroes who work tirelessly every day to make communities around the world safer.
There were many submissions detailing the courageous, dedicated acts of officers from agencies around the world. Learn more about the 2020 award finalists below.
Trooper Ryan Mousaw
New York State Police
On December 10th, 2019, New York State Trooper, Ryan A. Mousaw, was dispatched to a call where a mentally ill man was actively threatening his neighbors with a hatchet. Upon arrival, Ryan encountered the subject and tried to de-escalate the situation by persuading the man to come to the hospital for evaluation. The subject was resistant and ran into his home to escape Trooper Mousaw. Trooper Mousaw followed him into the house where a struggle broke out. During the struggle, the suspect struck Trooper Mousaw in the head with the hatchet. Sustaining a deep laceration to his scalp but not incapacitated, Trooper Mousaw pulled his firearm and ordered the subject to drop the hatchet. The suspect refused and attacked once more, forcing Trooper Mousaw to discharge his firearm at the suspect. The suspect was struck, ending the attack. Trooper Mousaw then ran to his vehicle, called for assistance and EMS, and began life-saving measures on the subject that were ultimately unsuccessful.
Despite his wounds, Trooper Mousaw’s actions to attempt de-escalation and save the subject's life displayed professionalism and dedication to duty.
Investigator Jassim Haykal Al Balushi
Fujairah Police General Headquarters, United Arab Emirates
On June 24, 2019, Fujairah Police Investigator Jassim Al Bablushi was off duty and headed to a picnic with his wife and child. While in a shop located within the greater commercial zone where they would spend time that night, he heard noises coming from outside the store. He stepped out and saw panic flow through the crowds as two injured persons were lying on the ground beside a man holding a cleaver. The man then began his attempts to attack a third victim. Investigator Al Balushi rushed in to help, kicking out the perpetrator’s leg and pouncing on him. The perpetrator showed strong resistance and attempted to stab Investigator Al Balushi. Despite the struggle, Investigator Al Balushi was able disarm and restrain the perpetrator until security patrols reached their location.
Investigator Al Balushi instinct to act, despite being off duty and unarmed, saved the lives of the injured and many more as it was later revealed the perpetrator intended to kill as many in the crowd as possible.
Trooper Jeffery Graham
Illinois State Police
On February 12th, 2019, a 33-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter were kidnapped in Missouri. A chase broke out, and the pursuit eventually crossed state lines where Illinois State Police assumed responsibility. Illinois State Police then slowed the offending vehicle with spike strips allowing the hostages to escape. The suspect continued to flee and attempted to switch vehicles by carjacking another victim. Although unsuccessful in acquiring a new vehicle the suspect fatally shot the car owner in the process. Illinois State Police Trooper Jeffrey Graham caught up to the pursuit while it was in action. Eventually ending up at a dead-end in a residential neighborhood, Trooper Graham pursued on foot. Although confronted with gunfire from the kidnapper, Trooper Graham was able to draw on his tactical skills to neutralize the threat.
Trooper Graham’s bravery and ability to react quickly in high-pressure situations, in not one but two large scale events within six months, reaffirms his commitment to service and helping save the lives of those around him.
School Resource Officer Michael Wissink
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Police Department
On December 3, 2019, School Resource Officer Michael Wissink was on duty at Oshkosh West High School. At the beginning of 2nd hour, Officer Wissink was having discussions with the high school’s assistant principal as a 16-year-old male was passing back and forth by Wissink’s office on several distinct occasions peering inside his window. Officer Wissink returned to his office and noticed the teenager, encouraging him to get back to class. The teenager was supposed to be in the self-contained emotional, behavioral disabilities group room but had been temporarily excused. The student then entered the office and closed the door behind him. The student then asked Officer Wissink about an open delinquency case he had. Officer Wissink turned his attention to the computer as the student pulled out a large barbecue fork and began stabbing Officer Wissink in the neck and head. Officer Wissink attempted to ward off the student as the student continued to attack. Officer Wissink was unable to reach his Taser and pulled his pistol, discharging it in self-defense. The student was non-fatally wounded in the chest while Officer Wissink sustained unintentional gunshot wounds to his arm and wrist during the active struggle. The student attempted to escape while Officer Wissink, despite his wounds, eventually gained control of the student and held him until back-up officers arrived. The student later admitted his intent to take Officers Wissink’s pistol after stabbing him.
Officer Wissink’s instinctive actions displayed courage and bravery despite his wounds, which helped save unknown lives from the student’s further actions that day.
The IACP and Target look forward to honoring the finalists at the IACP 2020 Virtual Training Event and Expo. To learn more about the IACP 2020, visit the conference website.