Andrew Aninsman of the Bensalem Township Police Department in Bucks County, Pa., received The American Legion’s 2014 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award on Aug. 27 at the organization's 96th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The detective sergeant has served more than 25 years in law enforcement with three police departments in Pennsylvania. Currently, he is a hostage negotiator and supervises the department’s Special Victims Unit.
American Legion Knowles—Doyle Post 317 in Bensalem nominated Aninsman for the award. The post adjutant, Robert Craven, wrote in his nominating letter that Aninsman has shown “continued interest in mental-health awareness and training, specifically regarding the veteran community. (He) began in earnest, concentrating on the plight of veterans who come into contact with law enforcement officials for any number of reasons on a professional basis.”
Since 2009, Aninsman has helped lead the development and implementation of Bucks County crisis intervention training and has been invited to speak at several conferences across the state about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated crisis intervention training (CIT) involving veterans.
“On multiple occasions last year,” Craven wrote in his letter, “the Bensalem CIT was called upon to ‘talk down’ armed individuals who were intent upon committing suicide…. The Team, under Sgt. Aninsman’s leadership, has been completely successful in these high-intensity cases.”
Aninsman is also co-chair of the Bucks County (CIT) and oversees the handling of all mental-health calls to the police department (more than 500 such calls in 2013). “Many of those calls involved responding to the needs and fears of persons dealing with a veteran suffering with some form of PTSD,” Craven wrote.
The police department’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and its anonymous “Tip Line” have all been developed by Aninsman. He has assisted with fundraisers for children in need and for families of fallen heroes.
Aninsman visits local schools and organizations and provides instruction concerning cyber-bullying and social media. He also implemented the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in the Bristol Borough School District.