BURLINGTON, NC - The Burlington police department recently received the 2017 'Comprehensive Officer Safety and Officer Wellness Award' from the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund and the Bureau of Justice Assistance Destination Zero Program.

The Burlington PD says between 17,000 and 18,000 police agencies are eligible to compete for four awards. Awards are given to the top agencies in the nation in each of the following four categories: General Officer Safety, Officer Traffic Safety, Officer Wellness and the final overall category of Comprehensive Safety.

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"This is symbolic of the professionalism and excellence exhibited by our officers on a daily basis," Burlington Police Chief Jeff Smythe said. "Our officers work in chaotic and dangerous times and it is our obligation to provide them the very best in training, equipment and oversight. I am confident we do that at the highest level and we will continue to be one of the premier police agencies in North Carolina."

The Burlington Police Department was recognized for:

  • Minimum staffing levels to increase safety in responses
  • Mandatory bullet-proof vest policy
  • Issuance of Level IIIA vests
  • Issuance of armor plate carriers, helmets and ballistic shields
  • Cruiser upgrades to improve visual range of the driver, reduce distractions, and limit impact of collisions
  • Implementation of permanent shifts allowing for increased blocks of time off and increased time available for officer training
  • Continuation of a first class training program
  • Other factors were implemented as well and contribute to overall officer safety

The Burlington PD was a finalist for the award last year.