BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge held its third annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Awards Luncheon to recognize outstanding law enforcement officers and organizations.
WAFB anchor Matt Williams served as emcee of the event. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry served as this year's guest speaker.
Awards of Excellence
Ascension Parish Sheriff's Detective Danny Vara received an Award of Excellence for his work in a 2015 kidnapping and aggravated battery case. He was dispatched to Alligator Bayou Road on December 13, 2015, where a man was found badly beaten and left for dead.
Vara learned determined that the victim was attacked by his supervisor and secured an arrest warrant for the suspect. "Over the course of two years Detective Vara worked diligently to apprehend the accused by relentlessly following up on possible leads to her whereabouts," according to a statement from the Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers received a tip on February 22 that the suspect was in California. Detective Vara worked with the U.S. Marshals to locate her and arrest her. "Through due diligence, Detective Vara brought closure to this case."
The Armed Robbery and Burglary Unit of the Livingston Parish Office was awarded the Award of Excellence for its work in 2017 that led to 1179 arrests. The unit often used Crime Stoppers tips to gain intelligence and follow-up on cases. LPSO's Armed Robbery and Burglary unit worked with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office to stop the "Simon City Royals Gang" who were committing crimes in Livingston Parish and Baton Rouge.
LPSO Robbery and Burglary members Sgt. Steven Erdey, Detectives Jamie Lipscomb, Trevor Sterling, Jeromy Jett, Joey Smith, Tim Ard, Troy Adams, and Jason Cook were honored for their service.
The Louisiana State Police Fugitive Task Force was honored with the Award of Excellence for their work over the last year. The task force made up of State Troopers, officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department, and deputies with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office was launched in June 2017.
The task force was responsible for 60 homicide cases in 2017 and made 83 felony arrests in less than a year.
Members Joel Pattison-BRPD, Brian Watson-BRPD, Bobby Moore-EBRSO, James Green-EBRSO, Kirk Soileau-LSP, Brandon McCall-LSP, Bart Morris-DPS, and Lt. Draper Crain-LSP were honored for their service.
Ken Uffman Award
Crime Stoppers board member Jack Harris was recognized with the Ken Uffman Award for raising over $100,000 for the organization.
The Advocate newspaper was awarded the Crime Stoppers Media Award for featuring three wanted fugitives in every Thursday edition.
Top Law Enforcement Officer Award
Officer Ricky Faust was honored with the Crime Stoppers Top Law Enforcement Officer Award for protecting and serving the citizens of Baton Rouge.
On March 21, 2017, Faust was responding to a crime scene when he swerved to avoid a car that changed lanes in front of him on the roadway and hit a concrete barrier.
Faust sustained major spinal injuries and broken ribs. He was confined to ICU for an extended period of time and has undergone several spinal surgeries. Since the incident, Faust's wife Jodi has taken leave from her job to care for him and their two children.
The Fallen Officer In Memory Of Josie Wells Award
Lt. Shawn Anderson was killed in the line of duty on March 18, 2017, while investigating a rape case. Anderson began his career with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office on May 19, 1999. He served in the parish prison before moving on to the department's narcotics, emergency services unit, maritime response team, canine division, uniform patrol, and the SWAT team.
In 2010, Anderson was presented with a Live Saving Award for saving the life of a woman on the Old Mississippi River Bridge.
In 2016, he was recognized for delivering a baby on the side of the road.
Anderson leaves behind his wife Becky Davis Anderson and their two children, Delaney Grace Anderson, 15, and Breland Thomas Anderson, 12, and his mother Carol Anderson. Crime Stoppers honored Lt. Anderson for making the ultimate sacrifice to make our community a safer place for everyone.
RELATED STORIES: Remembering Lt. Shawn Anderson
Zachary Police Officer Christopher Michael Lawton was killed while working undercover with another officer attempting to serve a felony drug-related warrant on March 12, 2018. He had served as a reserve officer with the Zachary Police Department for almost 10 years. Lawton served as a firearm instructor and undercover narcotics agent for the department.
Lawton served full-time as the Deputy Fire Chief of the Zachary Fire Department. He was with the fire department for 20 years.
"Chris was a devoted husband to his wife Shannon and the father of two children, Marshall and Claire Lawton."
Lawton became the first officer killed in the line of duty in the history of the Zachary Police Department.
Crime Stoppers honored Lawton's family with the Fallen Officer Award.
Top Law Enforcement Executive
Crime Stoppers honored East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore with the Top Law Enforcement Executive Award.
Moore, a New Orleans native, is a 1989 graduate of Southern Law School.
He was recognized for "his leadership role in helping make our community a safer place for every business and every person through initiatives such as BRAVE, GUN STOP, and TRUCE."
Moore was also recognized for encouraging citizens to do their part in helping law enforcement solves crimes.
The Citizen Award In Recognition Of Outstanding Service
Crime Stoppers honored former Baton Rouge Police Chief Pat Englade for creating the Captial Area Law Enforcement Foundation.
The foundation was created following the ambush shooting on Baton Rouge law enforcement on July 17, 2016.
The mission of the CALEF is to raise money to buy much-needed equipment for officers and assist families of officers in times of crisis and distress. Over the last 18 months, CALEF has raised nearly $800,000 towards their mission.
CALEF has assisted over 30 law enforcement agencies, including BRPD, EBRSO, Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office, Denham Springs Police Department, Baker Police Department, Central Police Department, Southern University Police Department, LSU Police Department, Walker Police Department, St. Helena Police Department, Plaquemine Police Department, Cotton Port Police Department, St. Helena Police Department, and the Jackson Police Department.