Sadly, campus public safety officers, like municipal police officers, are killed in the line of duty far too often. In fact, since 1923, 53 campus safety officers have paid the ultimate sacrifice while carrying out their duties. The names of these heroes are inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial (pictured above) in Washington, DC. IACLEA remembers them here.
Click here to read President Patrick Ogden's message at the start of National Police Week 2022.
Officer Memorial Award 2022
This year’s awards presentation at the Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas concluded with the Officer Memorial Award for Valor. This award is presented posthumously to honor a campus public safety officer killed in the line of duty. In the past year, two officers have died in the line of duty. We honor the loyalty, devotion, and dedication of each officer to campus public safety in making the ultimate sacrifice while serving their respective institutions.
On Feb. 1, 2022, Police Officer John Painter and Safety Officer Vashon "J.J." Jefferson tragically lost their lives protecting their campus community, Bridgewater College. These men were murdered during an encounter with a former student on the campus that forever changed thousands of lives.
Officer Jefferson, 48, joined Bridgewater College in August 2018. His law enforcement career began in 1997 as a patrol officer with the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office before serving as a National Reconnaissance Officer in Chantilly, Va., from 1999-2011. Prior to joining BC, Officer Jefferson served as a sergeant with Shenandoah University Department of Public Safety. During his time at SU, his personable and proactive security initiatives led to him receiving the James B. Wilkins Award in 2017.
Officer Painter, 55, joined the Bridgewater College Police Department in May 2019. His law enforcement career began in 1989 as a deputy sheriff in King George. Prior to joining BC, Officer Painter retired as chief of the Grottoes Police Department in 2018 after 18 years. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1985-1988 and as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1999-2000.
Officer Painter and Officer Jefferson died heroes. They went to work that February day just like it was any other day. They did not know what they would soon be called upon to do. Countless lives were saved by their actions, and we must never forget the sacrifice they made.
Richardson acknowledged all the committee members for their dedication and work on this committee, including Chief Ed Book, Chief Jocelyn Johnson, Chief Javier Campos, Commander Joseph Przybyla. Richardson thanked all those that have taken the time to submit thoughtful nominations for our well-deserving officers and staff. Without those nominations and the support of IACLEA, these individuals might not have been recognized for their achievements.
Note: IACLEA honors fallen campus public safety officers each year with the Officer Memorial Award, given to a representative of the fallen officer’s department during the Awards Ceremony at the Annual Conference & Exposition. See past honorees, below.
The Officer Memorial Award honors the memory of a campus officer or employee of a campus public safety, police, or security department who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his/her college/university/campus. Learn more about nominating an officer here.