Gov. Eric Greitens, Oct. 28, presented the Missouri Medal of Valor and four new Department of Public Safety awards to a total of 16 Missouri public safety responders from across the state and two civilians who assisted law enforcement officers in emergency situations during 2016. Among those honored was Christian County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jeff Lofton, who received the Director’s Leadership Medal.

The Director’s Leadership Medal is awarded at the command or staff level to someone whose demonstrated actions in the areas of community-oriented engagement and collaborative community-based activities have promoted an environment of greater safety, security and cooperation for community members.

Lofton is patrol division commander of the CCCSO, but is focused on far more than schedules, response times and offense reports.

“Lofton recognizes community-involvement and engagement are essential to public safety,” according to a release from the governor’s office. “Capt. Lofton’s duties include efforts to educate the public on community law enforcement issues, training citizens on how to better protect themselves and promoting a safer community. Through his leadership of community efforts like the Citizen’s Academy, the Youth Academy, the Women’s Self-Defense Program and the Active-Shooter Response Program, Capt. Lofton has excelled at breaking down barriers to communication, developed greater trust between citizens and law enforcement and raise the level of public safety.”

Family members and the officers’ colleagues were on hand for the presentation of the awards during a Jefferson City ceremony, which was followed by a reception at the Governor’s Mansion for the award recipients, their families and fellow public safety professionals.

Greitens also proclaimed Oct. 28 as Missouri Public Safety Officers Recognition Day in further recognition of the extraordinary acts of bravery and public service performed by Missouri public safety professionals, and the risks they take to protect the public each day.

“Missourians are extraordinarily grateful for the risks our public safety responders are willing to assume each and every day to make our state safe,” Greitens said. “Today, it was my honor to stand with and recognize some the finest citizens our state has. Their life-saving and compassionate actions prevented deaths, strengthened communities and gave new hope to people facing adversity. I also believe it’s extremely important to recognize the civilians, who partnered with public safety officers in emergency situations and protected the public. Thank you to all who bravely acted to make a difference in their communities.”

Nominations are now open for heroic acts performed during 2017 and exceptional service that advances public safety in Missouri. Nominations must be received by March 31, 2018. Nominating forms are available on the Missouri Department of Public Safety website at https://dps.mo.gov/medal/.