Do National Law Enforcement Officer and Firefighter of the Year winners have to be Legionnaires?

No. And they don’t need to be veterans. But the two National Security Commission awards do specify that those nominated by departments be full-time, sworn and, in the case of law enforcement officers, have authority and arrest powers.

The national law enforcement award was first given in 1997 as a way to honor those who have helped "to maintain Law and Order," as emphasized in the Legion’s Preamble. The national firefighter award was first given in 2010 after surveys indicated that at least 40 departments already had or were planning to institute such awards themselves. Resolution No. 44, passed in 2009 to institute the national award, stated that "fire fighting, as well as law enforcement, contributes to America’s internal security." Individual acts of heroism are also taken into consideration.

Department submissions for the 2014 awards – to be presented at the national convention in Charlotte in August – are due by Feb. 1. Visit the National Security page for more information.