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50 states, 50 police heroes: How cops made an impact in 2019

From small acts to big ones, police officers did good all over this country every day in 2019


Looking for more inspiration? Don’t miss our most recent edition of 50 states, 50 police heroes for 2020. We also publish a monthly roundup of stories about cops doing good over at The Up-Beat.

By Police1 Staff

Police heroism comes in many forms. From the small acts, like a cop taking a few moments from their duties to have a snowball fight with a group of local kids, to the big ones, like a group of LEOs saving countless lives by taking down an active shooter, police officers did good all over this country every day in 2019. Just as we did last year, we’ve rounded up one act of police heroism from each of the 50 states (plus D.C.!) – just a small sample of the great work America’s finest put in every day. Tell us your favorite moments of heroism from the year in the comments section, and remember to always share the good work that’s happening in your agency with the public; proactively telling your stories can go a long way toward combating negative narratives.


Deputies praised for driving veteran to doctor across county lines

A group of deputies from different counties worked together to make sure a disabled veteran didn’t have to walk to his doctor’s appointment. FULL STORY



Retired cop in Alaska plane crash rescues victims while injured

Retired cop Kim Castro swam into frigid waters and pulled people to safety during a tragic, deadly plane collision. FULL STORY


LEO brings child Happy Meal after mistaken 911 phone call

Officer Randolph “Scott” Valdez was sent to the home of 5-year-old Charlie Skabelund after Charlie called 911 asking for a Happy Meal. FULL STORY


Ark.’s oldest active LEO turns 90

Sometimes heroism is just simply spending a lifetime in service of others, like Leonard Charles Smith, who has worked in law enforcement for 56 years. FULL STORY


LEOs donate their own money to landscaper whose car, tools were stolen

The officers donated and raised money to help the man get back to work. FULL STORY


How an SRO is helping give a little boy the strength to walk

School Resource Officer Brad Gagon is going above and beyond to help Roman, a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy. FULL STORY


Conn. LEO honored for role in capture of suspect who fatally stabbed NYPD police explorer

Trooper First Class Jason Cassavechia apprehended the 14th suspect in the slaying of Bronx teen Lesandro Guzman-Feliz. FULL STORY


Cops carry Special Olympics torch

Officers participated in a three-day, 160-mile torch run. FULL STORY


Officers gift new bike to elderly man after his was stolen

Two officers went above and beyond for an 80-year-old man who lost his mode of transportation. FULL STORY


Cops throw birthday party for boy with cerebral palsy

Officers baked a cake, allowed children to check out police vehicles during the surprise event. FULL STORY


Cops honor ‘donut boy’ as he completes mission to deliver sweet treat to cops in all 50 states

Kauai Chief of Police Todd Raybuck presented Tyler Carach with a number of gifts in recognition of his accomplishment. Hawaii was Carach’s last stop on his mission to deliver donuts to cops in all 50 states. FULL STORY


Cop’s quick-thinking saves disabled man

“He gave him a chance to make it. He’s a hero to us.” FULL STORY


Chicago cop joins street performer for impromptu performance

Video shows a crowd gathering to hear the surprise collaboration. FULL STORY



Trooper saves choking child

State Trooper Ben Reason performed the Heimlich maneuver inside the family’s minivan. FULL STORY


Police rescue 2 people after raft overturns in downtown Des Moines

The dramatic rescue was captured on a bodycam. FULL STORY


Four hours as a hostage leads man to career as an officer

A life-or-death encounter inspired the man to start a career in law enforcement. FULL STORY



Slain Ky. marshal honored over a century later in Texas

The marshal’s death until recently had been a lost part of history. FULL STORY


Video shows cops’ intense gun battle with robbery suspects

Two men trying to steal a trove of pills from a drugstore demanded that New Orleans police blocking the exit “back up” before opening fire and striking an officer. FULL STORY


Detective killed while aiding motorist

Ben Campbell’s final act was helping someone in need. FULL STORY


Officer honored for bravery during methadone clinic shooting

Sgt. Bill Shiflett received the department’s highest honor for his bravery during the active shooter incident. FULL STORY



Officer helps couple deliver baby at home

“Normally the EMTs or Fire Department would handle a situation like this, but I just happened to be there first,” the LEO said. FULL STORY


Cop helps homeless man trying to shave in puddle

“I just went over there, threw a pair of gloves on, took my water bottle out, dumped it in his cup and tried to help him shave.” FULL STORY



LEO hands out cold weather gear to homeless during big freeze

Over a 48-hour stretch, he handed out more than 100 pairs of donated hats and gloves to people on the streets. FULL STORY


LEO helped at wreck shortly before he was shot to death

Patrolman Robert McKeithen’s final act was in service to others. FULL STORY


Officer praised for helping fix upside-down American flag at local business

The officer stepped in along with the help of some firefighters. FULL STORY


LEO makes woman who used hair dryer to slow speeding drivers honorary trooper

“The best thing I could think of was (to) give her a trooper hat and a badge to make her look a little more official.” FULL STORY


Cops rescue suicidal man

While cops were talking to the man, he set the garage he was in on fire and locked the unit. FULL STORY


Las Vegas officers honored for heroic acts were just ‘doing their job’

The seventh annual “Best of the Badge” commendation ceremony recognized 70 cops for their good work. FULL STORY

New Hampshire


PDs use ‘comfort dogs’ to build community connections

These departments are taking on dogs trained to provide comfort to crime victims and trauma survivors. FULL STORY

New Jersey

Jersey City LEO praised for rushing to assist officer shot during gun battle

Sgt. Majorie Jordan abandoned her cover to assist an officer who was shot in the shoulder. FULL STORY

New Mexico

Cops rescue ducklings from storm drain

The 11 ducklings were stuck in the drain. FULL STORY

New York

Detective who fought for 9/11 compensation funding dies

Detective Luis Alvarez fought for what was right until the very end. Thanks in part to his efforts, a bill ensuring that the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund never runs out of money was signed into law. FULL STORY

North Carolina

Police thwart mass shooting plot

The student was arrested with guns and ammunition in his dorm room. FULL STORY

North Dakota

Officer honored with Thunderbirds flight for community policing work

Matt Niemeyer works with kids to build bonds between law enforcement and the youth. FULL STORY


LEOs take down mass shooter

Officers stopped the suspect moments before he entered a bar. FULL STORY


Okla. LEO plays drums with band while responding to noise complaint

When the LEO responded to the complaint, he decided to play the drums with the band before telling them to turn down the music. FULL STORY


Officer shot multiple times applied tourniquet to herself

Dispatch audio captured the moment a shot and wounded Oregon officer administered aid to herself while waiting for paramedics to arrive. FULL STORY


Pa. cops use karaoke to build community relationships

The officers started hosting events in the neighborhood they patrol to address negative police perception. FULL STORY

Rhode Island

Quick-thinking LEOs save choking baby’s life

The baby’s mother thanked God the officers were there. FULL STORY

South Dakota

Cops raise money to help needy children have a better Christmas

The money helped 115 children. FULL STORY

South Carolina

Deputy saves infant’s life

Deputy William Kimbro took the limp baby from her mother and performed first aid to save her during a traffic stop. FULL STORY


Dispatcher takes dad’s final sign off ‘I love you daddy’

Lt. Austin Garrett retired from his PD after 25 years of service. But his service continues: he became a chief deputy at another PD shortly after. FULL STORY


Officer in viral photo praised for compassion

“He started crying. I almost cried too. I tried to keep the composure.” FULL STORY


Cop pulls man from train’s path in close-call rescue

The train collided with the man’s vehicle seconds after the trooper pulled him free. FULL STORY


Agencies across Vermont collect toys for ill children

A firefighter and trooper collectively came up with the idea to give back to the community and launched “Operation Fire Cuffs,” now in its ninth year. FULL STORY


Officer plays dolls with girls in street

The officer decided to take a moment with the girls after responding to a gas leak in their neighborhood. FULL STORY


Police get in snowball fight with kids during snowstorm

Officers grabbed a tactical shield and had fun with local kids during a winter storm. FULL STORY

West Virginia

Cops save kid’s birthday party after no one shows up

Cops saved the day for 5-year-old Cameron. FULL STORY


Terminally ill girl visited by almost 40 PDs, K-9s

A terminally ill Wisconsin girl who loves dogs was able to spend a day with K-9 officers. FULL STORY


Deputies use lasso to rescue deer from frozen pond

The LEOs lassoed the deer and brought it up to the surface. FULL STORY

Washington D.C.

Thankful mom reunited with transit cop who calmed her autistic son on train ride

Noisy train platforms can get overwhelming for anybody, but for 4-year-old Andrew, who has autism, a recent ride put him over the edge. FULL STORY