OROVILLE — Christopher Patterson, a police officer from the Oroville Police Department, was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2022, by the American Legion, Hodges Post 84.
Each year, The American Legion gives its National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement. The award, which especially takes into account heroic acts, is presented annually at the Legion’s national convention. The Department of the American Legion Law & Order committee chooses one officer out of anyone who is nominated for the award that year to receive the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
Typically, these are won by police officers who have done something brilliant or extraordinary in the line of duty.
“Officer Patterson won because of his ongoing dedication to his position throughout the year and a half of the Covid shutdown when we lost so many officers and the police chief,” said American Legion Post 84.
ALP said nominations for the award include letters from their post, Patterson’s chief and members of the community. Officer Patterson competed against seven other candidates from around the state. The committee is composed of four police chiefs, and three of whom are still active.
Last Friday, Patterson received the award during a ceremony while participating in a department convention.
“We also invited him to our regular monthly general membership meeting and awarded him our own certificate of appreciation,” said American Legion Post 84.
Chief Langford was present for the event, along with several of Patterson’s friends and co-workers.
“It’s actually a pretty big deal, because that Law and Order committee is made up of some pretty serious people.You have to do something pretty special to be the most accomplished officer in the whole state for the whole year. We’re very proud of him. He had it really rough there for a while and he stuck it out. If he hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t have a police presence in Oroville right now. He really deserved it, and it was very gratifying to have the whole Washington State Department of the American Legion agree with us,” said American Legion Post 84.
Patterson, who began working for the Oroville Police Department in 2005, said he plans to finish out his career in Oroville and has no plans to leave.
“Oroville is my home. It’s like a family. The whole community gets together and helps people that need help. Everybody helps everybody else out in Oroville,” said Patterson.
Patterson said building a community connection with law enforcement is something he is intentional about.
“Respect. If you respect them, they will respect you back,” said Patterson.
Patterson said he does have to enforce the law but at the same time he is there to help those who need help.
“A lot of it comes down to respect. If you respect the people you serve, they will respect you back.
There are so many different things I want the community to know.
“If I’m out and you’re having a hard day, come talk to me. If you see me, come talk to me because I will do what I can, ” said Patterson.
It’s more than a job for Patterson, and according to him, he didn’t take the position for any other reason but to help the people of his community.
“I want to know that I’ve done my job to make this a safer community for everybody,” said Patterson.