50 states, 50 police heroes: How cops made an impact in 2020

Law enforcement stepped up through acts of heroism – big and small – to create some good in a year that desperately needed it


By Police1 Staff

We all needed a hero in 2020. As the year brought a seemingly endless onslaught of unprecedented challenges, law enforcement stepped up through acts of heroism – big and small – to create some good in a year that desperately needed it.

From providing aid to the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic to throwing birthday parades for kids stuck at home, we’ve rounded up one act of police heroism from each of the 50 states – just a small sample of the excellent work LEOs do every day across the country.

Looking for more uplifting stories like these? Follow The Up-Beat – a bi-weekly series we launched earlier this year that aims to bring greater attention to police acts of heroism and kindness. Email your police hero stories to editor@police1.com

Alabama

 
Back by Popular Demand

Back by popular demand! The “Amazing” Deputy Sellers shows us another one of his talents, and he has a challenge for you. Watch the full video to see what tricks he has up his sleeves. P.S. We think the parents will like this one.

Posted by Shelby County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, March 19, 2020

SRO creates interactive reading, singing, magic videos for homebound children

Deputy James Sellers was one of many cops who took to the internet to help keep kids stuck at home during the pandemic learning and engaged – and help lighten their parents' load, as well! FULL STORY

Alaska

 

💙 FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Officer Raygor is one of our mid shift (overnight) patrol officers, and now a self-proclaimed “paw...

Posted by Anchorage Police Department on Friday, November 6, 2020

Anchorage cop helps pup find new home

A police officer in Anchorage helped a dog find a new home after spotting the animal running in the middle of traffic. 

Arizona

Cop adopts girl he comforted while working child abuse case

Officer Brian Zach stepped up when child services couldn’t find any family for the 4-year-old. FULL STORY

Arkansas

 

Often you don’t see an officer on school grounds at the flag pole praying for our children! I know this amazing Man of...

Posted by De'Andria Warren on Saturday, February 29, 2020

SRO goes viral for daily prayer outside school

Officer DeAndra Warren prays each day for the students, administrators and staff he works alongside. FULL STORY

California

Cop saves man in wheelchair from oncoming train

Officer Erika Urrea only had seconds to save a man stuck on the tracks. FULL STORY

Colorado

LEOs deliver pie for woman's 102nd birthday

Many Americans had to skip birthday celebrations this year because of the pandemic. Cops in Arvada made sure Susie Montoya, who was celebrating her 102nd birthday, had a special one despite the circumstances. 

Connecticut

 

Good work by our #heroic Bridgeport police officers! Watch as they roll the vehicle upright and then pull a woman out of a burning car and bring her to safety-- on Chopsey Hill Rd. #Bridgeport #policerescue #BridgeportPolice #savelives #bridgeportsfinest

Posted by Bridgeport Police Department on Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Officers flip burning car, pull driver to safety

Officers pushed the burning vehicle back onto its wheels to rescue the woman inside. FULL STORY

Delaware

LEO saves hawk trapped in train station

The hawk had been trapped for several days. 

Florida

Miami cop befriends teen who attacked him at BLM protest

Officer Raymon Washington turned a negative into a positive when his attacker asked to meet with him. FULL STORY

Georgia

Atlanta cop gifts own car to mother of 5

Officer Veronica Campbell went above and beyond for a struggling mother who had recently fled a domestic abuser. 

“I’m always trying to find different ways I can give and help people,” said Officer Campbell. FULL STORY

Hawaii

Honolulu officer buys work boots for man in need

The man couldn't start his new job because he didn't have steel-toed boots. 

“Random acts of kindness by police go unnoticed every day in our department,” said Officer Tiyani Mead. “I just did what any other officer would have done.”

Idaho

 
Tickets for Turkeys 2018

Once again we were able to participate in the annual Tickets for Turkeys, thanks to the kindness of Doug Dvorak and all of those who make it happen. We are grateful for sharing this with everyone over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Enjoy... p.s. turn on the volume and go ahead, put it on full screen....

Posted by Valley County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sheriff's office gives out 'tickets for turkeys'

The agency has given away over 500 turkeys in the annual program. FULL STORY

Illinois

 

Official Media Release September 23, 2020 Structure Fire / 2700 block Wayfaring Lane - On Tuesday, September 22, at...

Posted by Lisle Police Department on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

LEO rescues 14-year-old from house fire

Officer Bill Wise was initially overcome by flames and smoke but managed to get the boy out. FULL STORY

Indiana

Cop helps boy run lemonade stand, makes donation

The officer said he wants to show young kids that police are there to support them. FULL STORY

Iowa

Davenport Police Officer Peme Canas shows some of the gear collected for the six-person Savoonga Police Department in Alaska. (Photo/TNS)

Iowa LEO collects equipment to outfit Alaska police department

After reading a news story about the challenges of rural policing in Alaska, Officer Peme Canas began collecting equipment and donations for one small town. FULL STORY

Kansas

Cop saves owl tangled in soccer net

The Great Horned Owl was checked for injuries before being released. 

Kentucky

While on a date, married off-duty LEOs stop masked robber

Det. Chase McKeown and Officer Nichole McKeown were at the right place at the right time. FULL STORY

Louisiana

 

On May 1, the NOPD graduated Recruit Class #188 from the Training Academy. Among that class was Recruit Mark Hall Jr.,...

Posted by New Orleans Police Department on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

New Orleans officer who lost father to COVID-19 now wears his badge

Officer Mark Hall Sr. died one day before his son was to graduate from the training academy. FULL STORY

Maine

Cop helps raise thousands for Special Olympics

Lt. Matt Buttrick and other officers bought 18 gift cards from local restaurants and raffled them off, which not only raised money for the Special Olympics but also helped local eateries struggling during the pandemic. 

Maryland

Erica Dantzler via AP

Kids surprise cop with ice pop on hot summer day; he returns the favor

After a couple of kids provided an ice pop to help an officer cool off on a hot day, he was more than happy to surprise them with his own show of appreciation. FULL STORY

Massachusetts

 

This makes it all worthwhile. 👮🏻‍♂️👮‍♀️👨‍🚒🧑🏻‍🚒

Posted by Natick Police Department on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Police share letter from a woman they saved after an overdose

The woman said the OD was a wake-up call that helped her break the cycle of addiction. FULL STORY

Michigan

Luna Pier Police Reserve Officers Keith Blosser and Kenneth Mentel deliver Rosanne Metcalf her prescription medicine and light bulbs. (Photo/TNS)

Police deliver essential items to elderly residents during the pandemic

"There's elderly and shut-ins around here who are alone. Some don't have anything. If we can help, we're going to do that." FULL STORY

Minnesota

 
Introducing the brand new Bike Cops for Kids Truck

Today's a big day for us! Thanks to the Otto Bremer Trust, we have a new tool to help us engage with you in authentic and meaningful ways. (And is there anything more meaningful than ice cream treats?) Saint Paul, feast your eyes on our new Bike Cops for Kids Truck! It's 23 feet long, custom painted and fully loaded. It's got a large screen TV for gaming, a basketball hoop, a bike mechanic's station, water bottles for kids who are thirsty, bike helmets for kids who don't have one (thank you, Children's Minnesota) and a freezer full of ice cream treats. Your bike cops are going to use to engage with young people, provide bike safety tools and information, and get to know the people they serve. It's just one more way we're working hard to engage with our community in authentic and meaningful ways. We'll see you soon, Saint Paul!

Posted by Saint Paul Police Department on Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PD debuts kids' police truck filled with ice cream, video games, bike helmets

Cops handed out the free treats as a way to connect with the community. FULL STORY

Mississippi

Cop saves driver passed out in moving car

Officer Matthew Barnes found a woman passed out from a medical emergency after getting reports of a driver swerving erratically. 

Missouri

Single, broke mom donates lottery prize to a cop who was shot; he returns the favor

Police set up a GoFundMe for the woman after her kind gesture, which raised over $100K. FULL STORY

Montana

 

STICKEY SITUATION! MPO Lynch reports this cute porcupine was found in a yard on the lower south side then "driven out...

Posted by Great Falls MT Police Department on Monday, September 21, 2020

Police rescue trapped porcupine

The critter was stuck in a yard but was released back out into the wild thanks to the work of officers. 

Nebraska

Officer, shopper take down shooter in Omaha grocery store

Deputy Chief Scott Gray was off duty and armed when a man entered the store with a gun. FULL STORY

Nevada

Police provide turkey dinners to families in need

Officers handed out free turkey meals to over 200 families for the holidays. 

New Hampshire

Off-duty cop helps save pilot after plane crashes into lake

Officer Joe Ponzo says he was vacationing at the right place at the right time. FULL STORY

New Jersey

 

Today our officers were called for a k9 in distress. Akela, a gray boxer/mastiff had gotten loose and found herself stuck neck deep in some mucky water in a local pond. Officer John Kuligowski found a nearby kayak and with the help of Chief Thomas Cicerelle and Officer Dallas Overko, they were able to rescue Akela and bring her safely to shore. Akela was in high spirits after her ordeal and even posed for a few quick pictures before being turned over to Animal Control Solutions. Akela’s owners have still not been located. She was rescued in the area of Brass Castle Rd and Jonestown Rd. If anyone knows who Akela belongs to please have them contact Animal Control Solutions @ 908-722-1271 or Washington Township Police.

Posted by Washington Township Police Department on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cop in kayak rescues dog trapped in pond

The boxer-mastiff mix, named Akela, was in high spirits after the rescue. FULL STORY

New Mexico

LEO saves young girl from standoff

The LEO negotiated for over two hours to get the girl out of the home. 

New York

Police, bystanders pull elderly couple from sinking car

The car had careened into a canal. FULL STORY

North Carolina

 

Cassie was out on her lunch break and observed Goldsboro’s Finest enjoying lunch with a homeless person. Law enforcement...

Posted by Chris Barnes on Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cop takes lunch break to share pizza with homeless woman

"I come to work and my method is, 'Who can I bless today? Who can I make smile?'" Officer Michael Rivers said. FULL STORY

North Dakota

 

The department’s Community Engagement Team (CET) held an internal winter clothing drive. Yesterday, these items were donated to the Gladys Ray Shelter by members of the CET. #FargosFinest #FarMore

Posted by Fargo Police Department on Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Fargo police donate clothing to the needy

The department held an internal drive to provide winter clothing to a local shelter. 

Ohio

 

Talk about perfect timing! This afternoon, Karen and Edward stopped Toledo Police Sergeant Lamb and asked him where to...

Posted by Toledo Police Department on Thursday, July 30, 2020

Cop steps in to marry couple after no minister available at courthouse

What initially appeared to be bad luck turned into a moment of serendipity for a couple in love, thanks to a local cop. FULL STORY

Oklahoma

Cop called to house fire at own home, saves his family

Corporal Anthony Louie ran through a front porch that was engulfed in flames to save his family. FULL STORY

Oregon

 

A few nights ago, one of our deputies overheard an Oregon State Trooper giving a courtesy ride to a hitchhiker (Marvin)...

Posted by Gilliam County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, October 24, 2020

Deputies team up to give hitchhiker 'relay-race' ride home

Four officers across four counties coordinated a carpool to make sure one man was able to get home safely from a court appearance. FULL STORY

Pennsylvania

 

Yesterday our department was dispatched to Penn Hills Elementary school for a 911 open line. Turns out, there was no...

Posted by Jason Lee on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Officer responds to false alarm at school, ends up reading to class instead

K-9 Officer Jason Bonace took time out of his day to read Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" to a classroom of second graders. FULL STORY

Rhode Island

 

Last night a call came in from West Bay Community action that an 87 year old had called in because she had no food in...

Posted by Warwick Police Department on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Cop buys groceries for elderly woman who had no food

After responding to a welfare check, the officer asked the elderly woman for a grocery list and went to the store to buy her food. 

South Carolina

Sheriff and world-champion martial artist team up to stop bullying

The partnership, which started with a children's book, has evolved into a department-wide initiative where deputies will read to students online. FULL STORY

South Dakota

SROs help feed the hungry 

School resource officers in Sioux Falls volunteered with Feeding South Dakota to help repack 29 pallets worth of food for those in need. 

Tennessee

 

Shoutout to JPD today ✊🏾 giving water and looking out for the demonstrators 🖤

Posted by Yvonne Akins on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Officer provides water for protesters

The officer's act was just one of many moments of police across the nation working to bridge the divide and begin the healing process by showing support to activists during the George Floyd protests this year

Texas

Cops buy bedding, food for mother of 6 who fled abusive spouse

When officers showed up, the apartment was completely devoid of furniture. FULL STORY

Utah

Mom in need of formula calls 911, police come to the rescue

“Most of us, we got on this job to help people, and this was an example of helping out a mother that was in need,” said officer Dave Ventrano. FULL STORY

Vermont

 

Recently Trooper Zink of the Rutland Barracks was made aware that medical staff at the Bennington Health and Rehab...

Posted by Vermont State Police on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Trooper uses 3D printer to make face shields for hospital staff

The country has been dealing with a severe PPE shortage all year during the coronavirus pandemic. A trooper in Vermont did what he could to try to alleviate the situation for local medical staff. 

Virginia

 

Virginia beach police department throwing down 🤘 "To protect and serve up buttery 360 flips" Also 1312 🎥creds Sergey Whitney

Posted by Seneca Ramen Allen on Monday, April 27, 2020

Officer's on-duty skateboard skills go viral

Officer Ryan Borman hopes to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the skate community. FULL STORY

Washington

(Photo/TNS)
(Photo/TNS)

Officer aids vulnerable citizens as pandemic makes resources hard to access

“My wife likes to pack me extra socks, gloves, stuff like that, hand sanitizer, Kleenex,” Officer Richie Plunkett said. “So I got certain guys that I try to look out for on the streets, and I like to make sure they’re getting these things. They’re not feeling left out from society at this point in time.” FULL STORY

West Virginia

Cops stage fake traffic stop for military homecoming surprise

Officers in West Virginia helped a soldier surprise his parents with a homecoming to remember. 

Wisconsin

 
West Allis police surprise 6-year-old boy for his birthday

Well played, West Allis Police Department, well played. http://via.fox6now.com/kuKZY

Posted by FOX6 News Milwaukee on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Cops give boy birthday surprise during quarantine

Like many children this year, 6-year-old Caleb was feeling down because of the quarantine – unable to attend school or have a birthday party with his friends. Officers in West Allis are just one of the many examples of cops who stepped up all over the U.S. to give kids something to cherish on their pandemic birthdays this year. FULL STORY

Wyoming

 
Deer on a Cold Tin Roof

On February 15, 2020, at a little past midnight, Officer Gerlach responded to a deer that had somehow made it onto the metal awning of the parking structure and could find its way down. He tried to get it to climb back out the way it had come, but the tin roof was too slick with frost. When that didn't work, he tried to rope it. It worked...kind of. The deer made it to the ground without injury, but not in the way you'd expect. Officer Gerlach gets an "A" for effort though and we're glad the deer is okay.

Posted by Jackson Police Department on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cop climbs onto roof to help stranded deer

The deer was stranded on an awning in a parking garage. 

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