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Press Release

Evansville Police Officer honored by Justice Department with Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Twenty-three police officers and deputies from around the country recognized

Evansville – Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Evansville Police Officer Phillip Smith was a recipient of the Fourth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. This year 23 law enforcement officers and deputies from 12 jurisdictions across the country were recognized for their exceptional work.

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, and tribal sworn rank-and-file police officers and deputies for exceptional efforts in policing. The awarded officers and deputies have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: criminal investigations, field operations or innovations in community policing. This year, the department received 214 nominations recognizing a total of 355 individual officers, deputies, and troopers. There were 39 states represented in the nomination pool, covering state, local, campus, sheriff, and other agency types.

“There is no career nobler than that of a police officer, and the 23 officers we honor this year demonstrate that clearly,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “These individuals are distinguished in their service for field operations and criminal investigations – from investigating homicides to drug trafficking to sexual exploitation and assault – to making positive change in their communities through innovative outreach to residents. Their actions are a testament to what law enforcement officers contribute to our nation each day, keeping us safe from violent crime and building more trusting communities, and they are deserving of our collective thanks. I am pleased to honor these 23 officers for their distinguished service in policing.”

“Congratulations to Officer Phillip Smith and the entire Evansville Police Department,” said Minkler. “Officer Smith has garnered the respect of the community and now the country through the way he serves the citizen he has sworn to protect. He has set an example for all officers across Indiana and the county on how they too can make a positive impact on the communities they serve. Job well done sir."

“There isn’t an Officer out there more deserving of this award than Phil Smith,” said Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin. “Through his infectious personality, he leaves a trail of laughter and smiles wherever he goes. He is not only an asset to the Evansville Police Department but to the entire profession of law enforcement.”

The Department of Justice works closely with local law enforcement and strives to be a ready resource for them. The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing is just one more way the department can show its continued commitment to the profession and honor the men and women who so bravely serve it.


Officer Philip Smith, Evansville Police Department

Officer Philip Smith is the symbol of community policing in Evansville, Indiana, where he serves as the special project’s coordinator for the Evansville Police Department. His community outreach efforts have put a human face on the badge, and his efforts have encouraged the public to work with the police and the police to have an ally in the public. Smith runs the department’s Facebook page, which now has 45,000 subscribers – in a city of 117,000. His social media activity includes weekly videos celebrating different officers and community members, and photos of police and kids on department-sponsored trips to theme parks. He also helped create the department’s breast cancer awareness fundraiser and established a program where salons and barbershops host officers for informal chats with their patrons. All this community outreach has meant that when the department now has to explain an officer involved shooting, or asks the public for help in recognizing a criminal, there is a community now pre-disposed to understand and work with the department more than ever before.

Information on the other recipients can be found on the national release at the following link:

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at

Updated November 19, 2020

Community Outreach