The Purple Shield Medal, fashioned after the military Purple Heart, was created in 1995 in
response to recommendations from rank and file police officers. The medal is awarded
annually at Medal Day to those members of the service who have suffered extremely serious
physical injury, or death, or permanent disfigurement, protracted or permanent impairment of
health as determined by the Honor Board.
The design of the Purple Shield consists of several distinct parts. The medal is in the shape of a
shield symbolizing the Department itself, and it bears the motto of the Department "Fidelis Ad
Mortem" (Faithful Unto Death). The phrase "Fidelis Ad Mortem" was coined in recognition of
the gallantry and bravery of police officers who gave their lives or were injured in defense of
their fellow citizens. The medal bears a raised bust of Theodore Roosevelt, who was President
of the Police Commission from 1895 to 1897, representing the start of the modern age of
policing in New York. The gold star represents the extreme sacrifice of the member awarded the
medal and the three purple fields separated by white lacing represent the wound or injury,
extraordinary fidelity, and meritorious service.
The first awarding of the Purple Shield Medal was at the 1995 Annual New York City Police
Department Medal Day ceremonies to the families of Police Officer Nicholas Demutils and
Police Officer Jose Perez, both of whom had suffered fatal injuries in car accidents.
|Purple Shield Medal
|Beyond the Line of Duty