Each year, CATO is proud to accept nominations for the CATO Awards, honoring law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the previous year.

Several prestigious awards are formally presented to recipients at the annual CATO Training Conference.

The 2023 CATO Awards are for incidents occurring between June 1, 2022, and June 1, 2023.

Nominations for each award must comply with the following criteria:

  • Nominees must be active members of CATO.
  • Nominations must include the nominee’s name, organization, and reasons for nomination.
  • The nomination must include accurate information on jurisdiction, agencies, and the dates on which the officer performed the actions that are deserving of the particular award.

Nomination Instructions:

  1. Click on the award title to submit a nomination for that category
  2. Read the award criteria
  3. Complete the award nomination form
  4. Submit the application

The deadline to submit a nomination for the 2023 awards is October 30th, 2023. 

Awards will be presented at the CATO Training Conference in San Diego.

For more information, contact Adam Sharki at

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CATO Awards Form

Submitting Person Information

Nominee Information

CATO Available Awards

  • CATO Award of Valor

    The CATO Award of Valor is awarded to tactical officers who distinguish themselves by remarkable bravery or acts displaying extreme courage during a tactical incident.

  • CATO Executive of the Year

    CATO Chief of the Year is awarded to an outstanding Chief or Sheriff who demonstrates a fierce commitment to supporting the training, equipping and deploying of their tactical team.

  • CATO Special Weapons Team of the Year

    CATO Special Weapons Team of the Year is awarded to an outstanding California SWAT team based on a particular operation and an ongoing commitment by a team to do the best possible job, through a dedication to real-world training operations and teamwork.

  • CATO SWAT Officer of the Year

    CATO will bestow its SWAT Officer of the Year Award to the SWAT officer who embodies the values, commitment and standards that set the tactical community apart. The recipient has demonstrated their contributions during operations as well as ongoing support for the betterment of the team.

  • Sid Heal Award of Excellence

    Named for the legendary tactical innovator, philosopher and prolific author, Sid Heal, this award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated an extreme commitment to service and has proven their dedication to enhancing the profession and the tactical community. A selection committee bases its decision on an evaluation of his or her performance, dedication, and leadership. The award recognizes the recipient for:

    • An unselfish dedication to the education and enhancement of the
      profession and tactical unit capabilities.
    • A steadfast commitment to education, information sharing and
    • innovation through training and mutual exchange of information.

    • Epitomizing the highest standards of professionalism and honor
      in all aspects of law enforcement
  • Tim Anderson Leadership Award

    Named for the exemplary leader, Marine and LAPD Sergeant, Colonel Tim Anderson. This award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated a consistent commitment to servant leadership and has shown a unique ability to guide, develop and inspire others. A selection committee bases its decision on an evaluation of his or her performance, dedication, and leadership.

    The award recognizes the recipient for:

      • Showing a consistent commitment to developing others
      • Creating a culture of respect that fosters an atmosphere of
        dedication to service, teamwork, and respect for others
      • Mentoring and cultivating subordinates and peers while leading up
        the chain of command
      • Demonstrating humility and benevolence
      • Practicing and accepting the responsibility of properly placing
        personnel in positions where they belong, rather than to check the box
        by placing square pegs in square holes.


    Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award presented by the California Association of Tactical Officers.  It is an occasional award, meaning that it is not given on any set schedule but rather only when an individual deserves to be recognized for achievements that encompass a lifetime of service and accomplishment.  This award is the only one not reviewed or approved by the CATO Awards Committee.  Recipients of this award must win unanimous approval of the CATO Board of Directors.  Likewise, the qualifications for this award cannot be attributed to a single act or incident and instead span a career, and often long after retirement.  The achievements of the individual must reflect the highest level of personal commitment, leadership and dedicated service to the California law enforcement tactical community.

    To date, only nine individuals have been recognized with this award.
    2022 – Richard Odenthal
    2018 – Tim Anderson
    2017 – RK Miller
    2016 – Bill Lewis
    2011 – Mike Hillmann
    2010 – Ron McCarthy
    2009 – John Pokorny
    2008 – Charles “Sid” Heal
    2007 – Bob Smitson
    2006 – John Kolman
    2005 – Ken Hubbs
    2004 – Daryl Gates