The Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association

    The purpose of the BSSA's Awards Program is to recognize actions performed by members of the Sheriff's command in the State of Ohio.  The Awards and Public Relations Committee of the BSSA receives recommendations from the Sheriff of an Ohio County.  The committee then decides to award various medals of recognition based on an evaluation of the merits of each particular case.

    Decisions on awards are made on incidents occurring during the current award year, October 1st through September 30th.  The recommendation must cite specific circumstances surrounding the actions which led to that particular recommendation.  A copy of the case report should be included except in cases which are confidential or for other good reasons that are subject to review.  No vote by the committee is made public, no explanation or rational will be publicly provided.   The committee recommended the following awards, which were adopted unanimously by the committee.  Statewide awards will be presented at the Annual (BSSA)   Conference.  Local awards are to be presented at an appropriate occasion or ceremony within that community.

medal of honor.jpg (1473 bytes)                               MEDAL OF HONOR

    The Medal of Honor is to be awarded to an officer who voluntarily distinguishes himself/herself by extraordinary heroism.  The officer must have been fully aware of the imminent threat to his/her personal safety and have acted above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of his/her own life.

sheriff_star.jpg (1386 bytes)                                    SHERIFF'S STAR

    The Sheriff's Star is to be awarded posthumously to an officer who has lost his/her life in the performance of his/her duty under honorable circumstances.  The Sheriff's Star may be awarded in addition to other awards an officer may receive for his/her actions which led to his/her death.

distinguished_service.jpg (1675 bytes)  DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL

    The Distinguished Service Medal is to be awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct involving exemplary courage, great risk and danger to the officer's personal safety, but less than that required for the Medal Of Honor.   The Distinguished Service Medal may also be awarded for meritorious service in the performance of an assignment of great responsibility, the excellence of such performance distinguishing both the officer and his/her office.


    The Citizens' Award of Valor is to be awarded to private citizens who voluntarily come to the aid of a law enforcement officer or another citizen at great personal risk of their own lives in situations arising out of an activity wherein the citizens involved has no personal motive or stake in the outcome.


    The Sheriff's Professional Service Award is to be awarded to Sheriff's who retire or die following a career of honorable service and who were acting, voting members of the BSSA less than ten years - CERTIFICATE AWARD
or were acting voting members of the BSSA for more than five years and served on committees for at least two years - PLAQUE AWARD.


    The Spock Award is to be awarded posthumously to an animal who lost their life in performance of their duty under honorable circumstances in the aid of law enforcement.  A plaque is presented in recognition that the recipient gave their life in the service of the community it served.


This program is provided to each Ohio County Sheriff, provided that he or she adopts the program at their option.

office_citation.jpg (1689 bytes)                       OFFICE CITATION

The Office Citation is to be awarded to a Sheriff's Office employee for:

  • Outstanding performance of a difficult task involving personal risk to the  officer's safety when, because of the officer's actions, a serious crime is prevented or the perpetrator is apprehended.
  • Outstanding contributions to law enforcement through the success of difficult law enforcement programs, projects or situations, such contributions being made, a high degree of professional excellence.
  • Other outstanding actions of a nature which bring unusual credit to the office and it's members.

certificate_of_merit.jpg (1507 bytes)           CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

The Certificate of Merit is to be awarded to a Sheriff's Office employee for:

  • Outstanding performance of duty under unusual or difficult conditions.   The action need not involve exposure to physical danger, but must involve the protection of life, or property, and involve unusual thoroughness, conscientiousness, determination and initiative.
  • Meritorious action of a nature which would not be eligible for a higher award.
  • To an officer of another law enforcement agency if earned while aiding, assisting or working in conjunction with an officer of the awarding office.

     The Certificate of Merit should not be awarded in conjunction with any other award for the same service or deed.

Award_of_Valor.jpg (1383 bytes)                    AWARD OF VALOR

    The Award of Valor may be awarded to commissioned officers or other uniformed employees who sustain serious injury in the line of duty.
    The commissioned officer or uniformed employee must have been actively engaged in a police activity at the time of injury and it must be of sufficient gravity to require professional medical treatment.
    The Award of Valor is primarily intended to recognize officers who are injured as a result of felonious assaults, but the Sheriff's Office may also consider other injuries resulting from fires, explosions, etc., as valid justifications.
    The Sheriff's Office should not consider injuries sustained from falls on ice, motor vehicle accidents, etc.
    The Sheriff's Office must not consider any injuries sustained as a result of or concurrent with any conduct by the injured officer which is less than fully acceptable by all standards.

Lifesaving.jpg (1193 bytes)                LIFESAVING AWARD

The Lifesaving Award is to be awarded to an officer for saving a human life.
    Intended for all officers directly responsible for the saving of a human life.
    Documentation and other supportive evidence such as statements from physicians, witnesses and/or supervisory officers should be included with the original recommendation.
    If an officer's actions led to the prolonging of life to the extent that the viction was released to the care of medical authorities, he/she is eligible to receive this award even though the victim may expire at a later time.

Commendation.jpg (1127 bytes)      COMMENDATION AWARD

INDIVIDUAL COMMENDATION: May be presented to law enforcement officers or civilian personnel who have performed efficient and valuable service to the office, either in carrying out a specific task or in the performance of general duties over an extended period of time.
SHERIFF'S OFFICE COMMENDATION: May be awarded in recognition of outstanding law enforcement services performed by an office unit; may be presented in addition to an individual award growing out of the same action.

Safe_Driving.jpg (1135 bytes)            SAFE DRIVING AWARD

    The Safe Driving Award is to be awarded to those officers whose driving practices have exhibited sufficient ability to avoid chargeable accidents.
ELIGIBILITY: All members of the office, whose primary job function requires them to operate motor vehicles on a relatively regular basis.
CRITERIA: This award is based upon five year increments; the years within each increment must be consecutive.  To receive an award, an officer must have five consecutive years without a chargeable accident other than those of a very minor nature, in the opinion of the awarding office.
    Awards will be given for each five year increment; 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30.  While the years within each increment must be consecutive, the increments need not be consecutive.  For example, an officer with a 10 year award who has an accident in his/her twelfth year does not lose the entire 12 years, instead, he/she begins a new increment the following day and works towards his 15 year award, for which he/she will be eligible in an additional five years.

Deputy_of_the_Year.jpg (1148 bytes)                                     DEPUTY OF THE YEAR

    The Deputy of the Year award is to be awarded by the Sheriff of each county based on the office's own criteria of a certified Peace Officer.
- In Stark County, Sheriff Swanson has chosen to let supervisors submit nominations for recipient of this award.

corrections_officer.jpg (1175 bytes)     CORRECTIONS OFFICER OF THE YEAR

   The Corrections Officer of the Year is to be awarded by the Sheriff of each county based on the office's own criteria of a person assigned to corrections.
- In Stark County, Sheriff Swanson has chosen to let supervisors submit nominations for recipient of this award.

Other Awards from the Local Sheriff



The Civilian Citation may be awarded to civilians whose actions result in:
    The prevention or solution of a serious crime.
    The apprehension of a dangerous criminal.
    Other meritorious action such as life saving or assistance to an officer with disregard for the recipient's personal safety.
To be awarded by the Sheriff of each county based on the office's own criteria of a certified Peace Officer.
- In Stark County, Sheriff Swanson has chosen to let supervisors submit nominations for recipient of this award.


    Upon recommendation of any command officer, the Sheriff may issue a Certificate of Appreciation to any deserving individual for a deed which is worthy of recognition but which does not fall within other award guidelines.


display.jpg (17717 bytes)

Awards are worn on uniform, above right breast pocket and centered.   Order of display from top to bottom and left to right.  All stars (indicates additional awards) point up.  Awards may be worn at the discretion of the deputy during routine assignment while in uniform.  Awards should be worn at official inspection and other official ceremonies where a deputy is in uniform as a representative of the Sheriff.

For More Information Contact:

Stark County Sheriff's Office
4500 Atlantic Blvd., N.E., Canton, Ohio 44705
Tel: (330) 430-3800
FAX: (330) 430-3844