Avon, MN, Police Department Officer Jason F. Falconer has been named the National Rifle Association’s 2016 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for his quick, life-saving action during an attack at the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud/Waite Park, MN, in September 2016.
“I am humbled to join the 5 million members of the National Rifle Association in honoring Officer Falconer as the 2016 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for bravery, quick-thinking and heroism,” said NRA President Allan D. Cors. “Officer Falconer is the ultimate example of a law enforcement professional and responsibly armed citizen defending himself and protecting those around him from harm.”
On the evening of Sept. 17, 2016, Officer Falconer was off duty in plain clothes at the Crossroads Mall, co-located in the cities of St. Cloud Waite Park, MN. While shopping, an individual dressed in a security uniform walked up to him and asked if he was Muslim. Officer Falconer answered “No” and as the individual turned, Officer Falconer could see that he had a large knife in each hand. Without hesitation or regard for his personal safety, Officer Falconer immediately drew his concealed handgun, announced he was a police officer and ordered the suspect to drop the knives.
Rather than complying, the assailant turned and ran through the mall and into a crowded major department store with Officer Falconer in pursuit. There the criminal abruptly turned and laid down as instructed by the officer, but he then jumped up and charged Officer Falconer with the knives. Falconer fired his pistol, the suspect fell, but retained a grip on the knives.
The assailant started moving between clothing racks, circling as the officer continued to order him to drop the knives and get down. The suspect then charged again and Officer Falconer fired additional rounds. Before the attack was stopped, the suspect stabbed 10 shoppers and assaulted many others by punching them in the head, back, neck and face.
Officer Falconer, who owns Tactical Advantage, a training facility and shooting range, has modestly avoided the limelight during and after the investigation. When the Minneapolis Star Tribune reached him—one of the few media outlets to get through by phone—he explained, “I’ve been trying to stay away from it all, for the time being.”
The NRA presented the 2016 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to Officer Falconer at the NRA Board of Directors Meeting during the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.