2016 RISE Awards

You may not call yourself a hero. But we do.

Two years ago, we launched the RISE Awards to recognize law enforcement officials and agencies that rise above to serve their communities. We're pleased to announce this year's set of winners:

Agency of the Year: Chippewa Falls Police Department, WI

Chippewa Falls may only have 23 sworn officers, but they've reached nearly a million people on Facebook. Their #WANTEDWEDNESDAY program, which boasts around a 90% success rate, spotlights individuals with outstanding warrants. It has even led to wanted individuals turning themselves in. The department's innovative use of social media has improved relations with the local media and community members.

Protect Life: Karl Griffiths - Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, CA

When Deputy Karl Griffiths arrived at the scene of a shooting, he kept a clear head as he armed his fellow officers and entered into the line of fire to help save an injured woman who had suffered multiple bullet wounds. He offered medical attention and found transportation to take her to the hospital, keeping pressure on her wounds before the ambulance arrived. His quick work saved her life.

Community Impact: Thomas Griffiths - Boston Police Department, MA

Without initial financial backing, Officer Thomas Griffiths set out to renovate a teen center in Boston. Volunteering his personal time, he enlisted the aid of construction workers and businesses to revamp the center with new furniture, equipment, and even a kitchen that has helped train young people for new opportunities in the food industry. The center re-opened in July after Officer Griffiths rallied behind the communities he serves.

Leadership: Anthony Wolfe - Peoria Police Department, AZ

Lieutenant Anthony Wolfe has spent the past 12 years at Peoria Police Department as a champion of innovative uses of technology. This past year, he spearheaded several technology-focused programs at the agency, navigating privacy and policy concerns to make bicycle and security camera registration simple. He drove forward with these initiatives while still taking care of his everyday responsibilities as the department's Professional Standards Manager.

Winners in each category will receive a $5,000 Axon Technology Grant, which can be applied toward Axon body-worn cameras and Evidence.com user licenses. They'll also receive a VIP trip to this year's IACP Conference in San Diego, California, and a 1-year individual subscription to PoliceOne Academy.

Previous Winners' Stories


Protect Life: Les Munn of the Texarkana (Ark.) Police Department has proven himself time and again as both a leader and a lifesaver. Responsible for ramping up an impressive police explorer program, Munn, who is also an EMT, treated an unconscious gunshot victim after responding to a shooting and finding several wounded people in a vehicle. At the same time, he instructed an explorer to render aid to another victim in the vehicle. Munn went on to collect evidence at the scene that would later help capture the suspected gunman responsible for the shootings. The same year, Munn was first on scene at a car accident where he carefully positioned a victim so that he could breathe and held him there until EMS arrived. It was later confirmed that his help saved the victim’s life.

Police Leadership: Sgt. Felicia Pecora of the Tampa (FL) Police Department is a 15-year police veteran responsible for saving a community once plagued with crime, and breaking children out of a cycle of poverty and illiteracy. When Pecora looked into why crime was rising in her community, she discovered high poverty and low graduation rates. She then worked with the public library and community leaders to develop a mentor program that strengthened children’s reading, science, and art skills.

Agency of the Year Award: Redlands Police Department has spent the last four years battling high crime rates and a low budget, and the results have been exemplary. Redlands Police deployed a GPS strategy that drove down residential and car burglaries, credit card fraud and other scams, and earned the trust of their community, which was more than happy to collaborate in crime prevention efforts once a tried and true approach was in place.


Protect Life Award: Agent Mike Spadafora of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (FL) won the 2014 Protect Life Award for his years-long dedication to fighting child exploitation cases. As part of the Internet Crimes Against Children’s (ICAC) Task Force and the Brevard Child Exploitation Task Force, Agent Spadafora goes undercover to identify sexual predators, bring them to justice, and save underage victims from sexual and physical abuse. His unique skillset has put perpetrators behind bars and increased the safety of children around the world.

Leadership Award: Sergeant Christopher Gavette of the University of Central Florida Police won the 2014 Leadership Award for his admirable guidance and management of his department. Gavette’s trust in his officers and family-like leadership has built a confident, proficient team of cops—a skill he proved the night he and a rookie officer responded to an active shooter at the University of Central Florida. Gavette provides his officers with the quality skills needed to become successful leaders themselves and manages to have fun doing it.

Agency of the Year Award: The Lakewood (Wash.) Police Department won the 2014 Agency of the Year Award for their remarkable policing efforts, which led to a 12-percent drop in person, property and society crimes in 2013-14. This success is the result of a much larger initiative to make the community a safer place – a goal they set out to tackle exactly 10 years ago, when the Lakewood Police first became an agency. After just 5 years as a department, four Lakewood officers were gunned down in a coffee shop—an incident that rocked the law enforcement world nationwide. Lakewood managed to not only overcome the tragedy, but push forward with their goal, which has brought them where they are today.