Photo Gallery of The Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy Award for Leading Change in Policing


About the Award

Nominations are now CLOSED for this prestigious award.

The National Policing Institute is pleased to announce the creation of the Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy Award for Leading Change in Policing.

This national award from the Institute recognizes a policing executive or other sworn or unsworn law enforcement leader who has taken bold steps to improve, reform or advance policing from within the profession. This individual may have risked unpopularity by boldly challenging the status quo and advanced the profession by implementing innovative approaches while leveraging or relying on science and research evidence.

Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy (ret.) served as the top police executive in multiple jurisdictions, including New York City, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; and Syracuse, New York, and served within the U.S. Department of Justice. He subsequently led the Police Foundation (predecessor of the National Policing Institute) as its second President from 1973-1985.

Commissioner Murphy addressed systemic corruption and led major reforms that foreshadowed an era of community and neighborhood policing. Based on these actions, he earned a reputation as a bold reformer who encouraged and used research to challenge the status quo from within the profession. He has been described as “perhaps the most influential police leader over the past half-century” and remembered for controversial but significant changes that proved to be ahead of their time. Examples of advancements included ordering officers not to shoot at looters during the civil unrest of the late 1960s in Washington, D.C., effectively challenging permissive use of force policies decades prior to Tennessee v. Garner (1985). He also used his national prominence to push for greater education and training of police officers.

In praise of Commissioner Murphy, former NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “In a profession that has very few giants, it is safe to say [Murphy] was a giant in policing.” Commissioner Murphy, in his book Commissioner and elsewhere, reflected on leading change and the resentment often faced as a result by noting that reformers do not seek these changes because they dislike policing or police officers but rather because of their love for the profession.

Nominations must have been received by October 5, 2022, for consideration.