At least one military veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took umbrage when he noticed at a funeral and other ceremonies West Valley City Police officers wearing armed forces ribbons, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, Army Distinguished Service Medal and others without having earned them.
Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Nick Lopez became further frustrated when he took his concerns to WVCPD Deputy Chief Mike Powell several months ago, then never heard back from the city, despite calls, letters and emails to city officials. All this after he read a story in the Military Times about the Sanford, Fla., police department's decision to cease using military awards to honor its officers. A veteran had complained after he saw on television a Sanford police officer wearing a military ribbon while testifying in the high-profile George Zimmerman trial.
The military takes seriously the unauthorized and unearned wearing of official military ribbons and medals awarded to soldiers for valor. Such unauthorized use is often called "stolen valor."