DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that Sgt. M. Joseph Young of the Aurora Police Department has been awarded the Colorado Attorney General’s Excellent in Law Enforcement Award.
“Sgt. Young exemplifies the very best of Colorado’s law enforcement community,” Suthers said. “From his 34 years devoted to public safety to the quality of his service as an officer of the law, it is a distinct honor to have Joe as the award’s first recipient.”
The award recognizes exemplary service by an individual in Colorado law enforcement during that person’s career. The quality of the service performed by an individual is the determining factor. The award’s recipients will have exhibited extraordinary efforts of valor, crime prevention, investigative work, community outreach and/or other law enforcement functions.
Young has been involved in numerous situations where his leadership has resulted in the lives of his colleagues and members of the public have been saved. During a standoff with a gunman in 2003, Young’s decisions as a tactical commander of the police agency’s SWAT team resulted in two hostages emerging from the situation unharmed. Young also played a crucial role in having an AMBER Alert issued for two young girls, Brianna and Alliyah Patterson, following the murder of their mother.
“Whether he is leading us in a life-threatening crisis, like he did in the rescue of the Patterson children, or cheering detectives on to pursue justice and never give up in the Aarone Thompson case, or just serving as our everyday symbol of ‘the right thing to do,’ Joe Young is our hero,” Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said. “He is the best the Aurora Police Department has to offer, and we are so proud that the attorney general and all of Colorado have chosen to honor him today.”
A panel of law enforcement leaders — the director of Colorado’s Peace Officer Standards and Training program, the executive director of the Colorado District Attorney’s Council, the deputy attorney general for criminal justice and two members of the POST board — selected the finalists for the award. The attorney general selected the winner from the finalists.