UCF Police Department Sgt. Christopher Gavette is one of three winners nationwide to receive a prestigious law enforcement leadership award.

The RISE Awards were presented for the first time this year by TASER and PoliceOne to law enforcement members who have made extraordinary contributions to the police community, as well as the public.

"Being a police officer is not about riding around in a car," Gavette said. "It's about getting out there, shaking hands and making this a better community to be a part of."

Officers from across the country received nominations in three categories; Gavette was chosen for the police leadership category for his training and education efforts, as well as his desire to create a better police department and community.

Officer Frank Imparato, who worked as a patrol officer under Gavette, nominated the sergeant.

"I saw the awards online, and when I got to the leadership category, it said something to the effect of a leader is someone who embodies training, family and dedication to the department. When I read the description, I thought, 'That's Chris,'" Imparato said.

Gavette and Imparato were two of the first officers to respond to the Tower I incident in March.

"It wasn't 'You go in first' or 'I'll wait out here, let me know how it goes,'" Imparato said. "It was 'Let's go in and do this together.' A supervisor says 'Go.' A leader says 'Let's go.'"

And UCF Police Chief Richard Beary couldn't be prouder.

"It's an honor for the agency as a whole and for Chris individually to be selected for the leadership award," Beary said. "What's telling about this is being nominated by one of his personnel. A lot of times as a supervisor, the people who work for you don't always like the decisions that you make, so it means a lot for an individual officer to take the time to commend a supervisor."

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