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50 states, 50 police heroes: How cops across the US made an impact in 2018

From small acts of kindness to incredible moments of life-saving heroism, these 50 stories are just a small sample of the great work America’s finest put in every day


For more from our expert columnists on the year in policing, check out our full “2018 in Review” special coverage here.

By Police1 Staff

Whether it’s braving a house engulfed in flames to save a life or simply buying lunch for a hungry person in need, police officers all over this country are making a difference – big and small – in the lives of countless Americans. In honor of all the great work cops have done this year (and every year), we’ve gathered our favorite moment of police heroism in 2018 from each state – just a small sample of the great work America’s finest put in every day. Share your favorite moments in the comments section.


Student who walked 20 miles to work helped by officers, gets new car

A college student who walked 20 miles to work after his car broke down was gifted a new vehicle, and it all started after he was helped by a group of cops. FULL STORY



Anchorage police scale side of mountain to rescue child

Incredibly, the child didn’t incur any major injuries after being in a vehicle that had gone around 120 to 150 feet down the side of a cliff. FULL STORY


Deputy goes above and beyond to help panhandler

A stranded, struggling mother who was panhandling with her 2-year-old child was able to eat and head home thanks to a deputy. FULL STORY


LEO gifts new bike to girl who had hers stolen

“I can’t believe he cared about me and my bike when he’s so busy keeping everyone else safe from the bad guys,” the young girl said. FULL STORY


Woman invites officer who arrested her to college graduation

Here’s one you don’t see every day: Lt. Jim Foster was credited by Tiffany Hall for helping her turn her life around after he arrested her on drug charges. FULL STORY


Wounded Colo. cop protects bystanders after fatal OIS

A Denver officer raced after an armed robbery suspect on foot and took a bullet to the leg while protecting bystanders. FULL STORY


Conn. cops hand out turkeys instead of tickets

“That’s what community policing is really all about — public servants serving the public,” Police Chief Armando Perez said. FULL STORY


Off-duty Del. officer helps stop rape at park

The officer heard a woman screaming nearby and ran to assist her. FULL STORY


Fla. LEO saves girl trapped for 12 hours in hot car

The girl was “barely clinging to life.” FULL STORY


Officers save 3-year-old boy found unresponsive in pool

“I don’t consider myself a hero. I just consider myself at the right time and place,” Officer David Yates said. FULL STORY


Hawaii officer named National SRO of the Year

Officer Marvin Tevaga was honored by the National Association of School Resource Officers for saving the life of a student who suffered cardiac arrest and for other actions that go beyond the expectations of the normal duties of an SRO. FULL STORY


Idaho chief praises police, community response to mass stabbing of 9 people, including 6 kids

Chief Bill Bones said he was heartened by how his department managed the chaotic crime scene of the “evil” attack that left the largest number of victims in an incident in department history. FULL STORY


SRO stops a would-be mass shooter

School Resource Officer Mark Dallas put a stop to a gunman’s attack on his school before anyone was hurt, but he doesn’t consider himself a hero. FULL STORY


LEOs help feed couple so desperate for food that they’d been eating dog food

When the officers arrived at the elderly couple’s home and saw their nearly empty fridge, they knew they had to help. FULL STORY


Iowa police officer awarded for saving man suffering heart attack

Officer Nikki Hotz wasn’t supposed to be working the day she responded to a call about an unresponsive man. FULL STORY


Kan. officer finishes lawn mowing job for woman

A Kansas police officer mowed a woman’s lawn in full uniform on Memorial Day after the person she hired didn’t finish the job. FULL STORY


Officer goes above and beyond for stranded disabled woman

“My life is so much richer tonight. It’s not because I got a new scooter,” the woman said. “I have a young man in my life who truly … he saved my life.” FULL STORY


Deputies, good Samaritan rescue stranded boater and his dogs

Two deputies and a neighbor came to the rescue when a stranded boater made a series of desperate 911 calls after his boat struck a tree and sank. FULL STORY


Police throw birthday party for 8-year-old girl after no one shows up

The girl received a birthday card signed by the entire police department, as well as several gift cards. FULL STORY


Officer immediately runs toward sound of gunfire, apprehends gunman

Baltimore Police spokesperson TJ Smith said the officer was “commended for his quick and decisive action that also can be categorized as life-saving.” FULL STORY


Officer helped others as his home burned after gas blasts

Ivan Soto’s home was engulfed by flames, but the police officer was too busy helping other residents evacuate after a series of natural gas explosions to worry about his own loss – even after his bosses told him to stop working. FULL STORY


Mich. deputy pulls driver from fiery car crash

The deputy was in pursuit of a speeding driver when the suspect lost control of the car and it burst into flames. FULL STORY


Officers help out 9-year-old boy’s lemonade stand after his money was stolen

A young boy whose money was stolen had his day turned around thanks to several Minnesota officers. FULL STORY


Officers go above and beyond to help elderly woman in flooded house

When officers responded to a call about a busted water pipe at a home, they not only braved a spewing kitchen water pipe to turn it off, but they also stayed to clean up. FULL STORY


Police, donor surprise kids whose mother was fatally shot in front of them

Three children going through the unthinkable were comforted by a group of heroes in blue. FULL STORY


Officers save infant buried in woods for 9 hours

About six hours into the search, a deputy heard a faint cry and found the infant. FULL STORY


Neb. officer receives $75K on ‘Ellen’ to finish her college degree

Heroes come in many forms. Officer Chassidy Jackson-Goodwin raised her daughter as a single parent and took out $17,000 in loans so her daughter could attend college. The officer never got to complete her own bachelor’s degree in criminal justice – until her daughter shared her story of heroism with The Ellen Show. FULL STORY


Off-duty Nev. troopers go ‘above and beyond the call’ to rescue residents in fire

Two off-duty Nevada Highway Patrol troopers helped rescue residents as a blaze ravaged through apartments. FULL STORY

New Hampshire

2 officers come to aid of dog impaled on metal fence

The dog’s owner was attempting to free him without success. FULL STORY

New Jersey

Trooper pulls over retired LEO who helped deliver him 27 years ago

After a retired LEO told a trooper a story of how he helped deliver a baby in 1991, the trooper extended his hand and said: “My name is Michael Patterson, sir. Thank you for delivering me.” FULL STORY

New Mexico

Cop helps homeless man with a new wheelchair

“The look on his face was certainly something I won’t forget,” the officer said. FULL STORY

New York

Cop jumps off overpass to save boy’s life

Officer Jessie Ferreira was driving to work when she witnessed a 12-year-old boy jump over a guardrail and fall several feet onto concrete. FULL STORY

North Carolina

Officer buys food for hungry kids after mother’s medical emergency

When the children told the officer they hadn’t eaten for a day, he immediately took action. FULL STORY

North Dakota

LEO pays for gas to help stranded family

A North Dakota officer went above and beyond for a family stranded in the middle of town in freezing temperatures. FULL STORY


Ohio officer’s charitable work highlighted in ‘Dirty Jobs’ star’s new show

Officer Lamar Sharpe, who runs a nonprofit that provides role models to the inner city youth of Canton, Ohio, showed off his work on Mike Rowe’s new show. FULL STORY


Okla. police thwart attempted kidnapping of woman at Walmart

Investigators found gas cans, ropes and zip ties inside the suspect’s car. FULL STORY


Ore. officer rescues baby deer stuck in fence

The terrified fawn was stuck in a backyard fence. FULL STORY


Officer takes elderly man to hospital to visit sick wife

When 84-year-old Roger Baker didn’t have a ride to get to the hospital, Deputy Chief Jason Bentley knew what he had to do. FULL STORY

Rhode Island

Police replace boy’s stuffed cheetah lost on interstate

Four-year-old Will Ketcher was riding in a car when his stuffed cheetah, Roger, fell out the window onto Interstate 95. Heartbroken, his dad suggested they write to the state police after the family returned home to Brooklyn. FULL STORY

South Carolina

SC SWAT officers dress up as superheroes to surprise kids at hospital, school

Superman, Batman and more heroes scaled walls to the cheers of children. FULL STORY

South Dakota

Trooper does push-ups in blizzard to honor fallen LEOs

The trooper braved the blizzard to do one push-up for each LEO killed in the line of duty in 2018. FULL STORY


Officer pushes stranded woman in wheelchair all the way home

The officer pushed the woman up a hill, across railroad tracks and eventually to her home. FULL STORY


Officer dances with young girl in wheelchair at party

The officer said he was inspired and impressed with the young girl’s dance moves. FULL STORY


Police, firefighters act as fill-in fathers at daddy-daughter dance

The first responders danced with girls who did not have a father at the South Salt Lake Valentine’s Day daddy-daughter dance. FULL STORY


Vt. chief stunned by opioid victim’s viral obit calls for better treatment for addicts

The police chief used his platform to call for change. FULL STORY


Va. officer donates kidney to firefighter’s son

Following an eight-month search, Officer Josie Hall turned out to be a perfect match. FULL STORY


Officer delivers special gifts to family after burglary

“It’s kind of cool that somebody would care that much and do something like that for people he doesn’t even know.” FULL STORY

West Virginia

W.Va. officer buys diapers with own money for mother in need

After learning that a mother’s live-in boyfriend had taken money from her, Cpl. Jamie Wilson said he acted like any officer and father would. FULL STORY


Wis. officer earns state recognition for good deed

“Law enforcement officers swear a duty to serve and protect, and they do this in big and small ways every day,” Attorney General Brad Schimel said. “Officer Chapin’s actions were small, but mattered to a local citizen. Whether it’s saving someone’s life or making someone’s day a little easier, Officer Chapin and Wisconsin’s law enforcement officers make me proud.” FULL STORY


Officer saves partner critically wounded in shootout

Officer Randi Garrett was credited for providing critical first aid to Officer Jacob Carlson during a shootout with a suspect that left Carlson with multiple gunshot wounds. During all of this, Garrett also managed to comfort children who were on the scene of the shooting. Carlson has since returned to work in limited duty and is expected to return to full duty in a year. FULL STORY