National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Presents 2024 Board Award Winners

May 30, 2024
The Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) presented the winners of their annual awards in the categories of Distinguished Service, Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in Media, and its new award: Lifetime Excellence in Media Award.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 23, 2024) – The Board of Directors of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), whose mission is to honor the fallen, tell the story of American law enforcement, and make it safer for those who serve, presented the winners of their annual awards in the categories of Distinguished Service, Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in Media, and its new award: Lifetime Excellence in Media Award.

The awards were formally presented to the winners at a special reception on the National Mall in advance of the NLEOMF 36th Annual Candlelight Vigil, which honored the 24,067 officers killed in the line of duty whose names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial at 444 E St. NW in Washington, DC.

During the vigil, which was attended by more than 25,000 members of the law enforcement community, survivors of the fallen, and the general public, the 282 officers whose names were most recently engraved on the Memorial in 2024 were specifically recognized as their names were read aloud by national law enforcement and federal leaders.

The NLEOMF Board Awards program recognizes exceptional achievements in the law enforcement profession as well as brings awareness to both law enforcement professionals and the general public about extraordinary law enforcement achievements.

“The 2024 Board Award Winners represent the heroes of our country who are dedicated to honoring those who protect and serve the nation,” said Bill Alexander, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The 2024 winners are:

  • John Ashcroft Distinguished Service Award: The Honorable Valdez Demings, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Harry Phillips, Executive Director, Police Unity Tour
  • Excellence in Media Award: Sean Larkin, Fox Nation
  • Lifetime Excellence in Media: John Miller, CNN Chief Law Enforcement Analyst

More on each winner:

Val Demings

Congresswoman Val Demings, who represented Florida's 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a lifelong public servant who broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department and her election to Congress. She worked on the House Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Committees. In 2020, she broke another glass ceiling and continued her career as a guardian of the law when she became one of the first women and one of the first Black Americans to prosecute a presidential impeachment before the U.S. Senate.

Demings received a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and a Master’s in Public Administration. She began her career in Jacksonville as a social worker, working to protect foster children. Then, in the early 1980s, Val was inspired to move to Orlando to join the police force. Despite institutional resistance to the idea of women in law enforcement, she determinedly pushed forward, graduating from the police academy as class president, receiving the Board of Trustees’ Award for Overall Excellence, and earning the reputation of a smart, tenacious, no-nonsense cop.

During her distinguished 27-year career with the Orlando Police Department (OPD), she served in virtually every department, including serving as Commander of the Special Operations. In this role, she was responsible for some of Orlando’s highest profile tasks, including special events and dignitary protection.

In 2007, Val Demings made history when she was appointed to serve as Orlando’s first female Chief of Police. When Chief Demings took office, she launched into a relentless campaign to reduce violent crime and build new connections with the community. Through the work of Chief Demings and her dedicated officers, OPD reduced violent crime by more than 40 percent.

By making the Orlando community a partner of the department, Chief Demings made the concept of “protect and serve” a tangible presence in Orlando’s most dangerous neighborhoods. She launched innovative programs like Operation Positive Direction, a mentoring program that empowers at-risk students through tutoring, community service, and positive incentives. She also launched Operation Free Palms, a project focusing on rejuvenating Orlando's most crime-ridden housing complex, the Palms Apartments. By focusing on unorthodox strategies like access to childcare, building playgrounds, a GED program, and job skills training, OPD created an alternative to crime and improved the quality of life in Orlando’s most distressed community.

Harry Phillips

Harry Philips, Executive Director of the Police Unity Tour, joined the West Orange Police Department in 1977 after being honorably discharged from the Army serving in Vietnam. In 1997, he participated in the inaugural Police Unity Tour (PUT) ride, when 18 New Jersey police officers, led by founder Pat Montoure, pedaled their bicycles from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Memorial and presented the Executive Director with a check for $18,000. Philips continued riding for the PUT and eventually accepted a leadership role in expanding the tour and creating the now infamous PUT motto “We Ride For Those Who Died.”

Just four years later, PUT had expanded to 100 members and had raised $350,000 for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). Philips then retired from the West Orange Police Department at the rank of Sergeant and became the Executive Director of the Police Unity Tour. Under Philips’ leadership, the Police Unity Tour expanded to almost all 50 states, developing into more than 10 chapters representing New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, Southern California, and Northern California. In addition, PUT went international with representation of law enforcement officers from Australia, Italy, England, Canada, India, and Israel. Police Unity Tours have been created in England and Israel with their own annual rides. Philip’s guidance has led to a membership increase to 2,600 members annually.

The growth of the Police Unity tour has brought annual contributions to the National Law Enforcement Memorial to the millions, with a peak of $2.81 million in 2019. Under Philips’ leadership and

commitment over 27 years, the Police Unity Tour has raised more than $37 million for NLEOMF.

Sean Larkin

Sean "Sticks" Larkin spent over 24 years as a police officer on the streets in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During that time, he worked in various assignments including patrol, narcotics, gangs and retired as the supervisor of the Crime Gun Unit. Sean is the host of Fox Nation's dramatic new show, CrimeCam 24/7.

Sean has also been a co-host/analyst on the hit TV shows Live PD and On Patrol Live and also hosted the gritty television show PD Cam. When not working on media related projects, he spends time hanging out with his wife and two adult children, collecting bourbon and trying to hit a little white ball into a hole. 

John Miller

John J. Miller is the Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst for CNN. Miller joined the network in 2022 and is based in the network’s New York bureau. He is a veteran award-winning journalist and experienced law enforcement and intelligence executive.

Prior to joining CNN, Miller served as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism of the New York Police Department (NYPD). In that role, Commissioner Miller oversaw the Intelligence Bureau, the Counterterrorism Bureau, and the NYPD’s partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Commissioner Miller is the former Deputy Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Analysis overseeing programs to improve analysis across the US government’s 16 intelligence agencies as well as the team that produced the President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing (PDB). Before that, he was an Assistant Director of the FBI, where he oversaw public affairs, community outreach and served as the bureau’s national spokesman.

Along with his law enforcement career, Miller has worked in journalism as a senior correspondent for WNBC-TV in New York, ABC News as a correspondent and anchor, CBS News reporting for CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, and 60 Minutes. Miller is best known for conducting a May 1998 interview with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Miller is a winner of the DuPont Silver Baton (“DuPont Award), two Peabody Awards and eleven Emmys. Miller was named the 2019 recipient of the prestigious FBI-NEIA Penrith Award for excellence in law enforcement leadership.  He is also the co-author of the New York Times bestseller “The Cell: Inside the 9/11 plot” (Hyperion, 2002).

He is a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Miller has been an instructor at the FBI’s National Executive Institute, as well as the Leadership in Counterterrorism (LinCT) course, and has received specialized training in management and organizational change from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Columbia University.

About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the fallen, telling the story of American law enforcement, and making it safer for those who serve. The first pillar of this mission, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the names of all of the 24,067 officers who have died in the line of duty to date throughout U.S. history. Additionally, NLEOMF maintains and publishes comprehensive details on the circumstances surrounding official line-of-duty deaths. The Officer Safety and Wellness pillar uses that data, coupled with best-practice program models, to produce programming directed at solutions to improve survivability and enhance wellness. NLEOMF’s third pillar, the National Law Enforcement Museum ( is committed to preserving the history of American law enforcement and sharing the experiences of service and sacrifice for generations to come.

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