WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III named Nogales Police Department (NPD) one of the 15 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, in recognition of the organization’s exemplary support for its National Guard and Reserve employees.
“I am proud to salute the outstanding employers who have earned the distinction of being named Freedom Award recipients as we mark the 25th year of this highly coveted recognition,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. “The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve make significant contributions to our communities and our national security through their civilian and military careers. We owe a debt of gratitude to these exemplary employers, who by valuing and supporting their employees’ military service, enhance the strength, readiness, and diversity of our National Guard and Reserve forces.”
Nogales Police Department along with 14 other recipients were selected from 3,382 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists highlighting how their civilian employers went far beyond what the federal law requires to support them. Celebrating its 25th year, the Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 310 honorees to date.
Nogales Police Department has shown outstanding support to its Reserve component employees while on military duty or on the job protecting Arizona’s southern international border. The department offers service members unlimited time, if needed, to decompress before returning to duty following activation. It also assists National Guard members deployed to the U.S. southern border by providing local information on hotels, restaurants, and service facilities. On occasion, its officers have even jumpstarted cars and located lost keys for deployed members of the Guard.
“The confidence and support received from the NPD to carry out multiple state activations during these tough times of civil unrest has contributed directly to the success of the 860th Military Police Company and Arizona National Guard,” said Army National Guard Sgt. Christian Perez. “As police officers we have the saying "I've got your six" and this meaning is defined by the NPD and their support while I lead my soldiers into multiple missions both stateside and out of state.”
“The NPD takes great honor in backing its service members and prides itself in ensuring the well-being of all their employees and not just their service members. It is with the NPD’s unwavering support that I am able to serve my community and Nation,” said Perez.
“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Department of Defense,” said Police Chief Roy Bermudez. “The Nogales Police Department fully supports our officers that are part of the Guard and Reserve Program. Their dedication to our community and our Nation is commendable in so many levels, and we fully support their desire and commitment to continue and assist in keeping our Nation safe and free.”
The award will be presented to Nogales Police Department by Dan Irving, Chair of the Arizona ESGR State Committee in a local ceremony.
For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s Freedom Award recipients, visit www.FreedomAward.mil. To learn more about ESGR, visit www.ESGR.mil.
ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.