Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer Wes Bowen, a member of the canine unit, was named JSO's "Police Officer of the Year" on Thursday for his work with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Task Force and the assistance he provided in taking down several violent felons wanted for murder.
"I enjoy going out there and arresting the worst that we have to offer, and I like doing that and keep people safe, and I'm willing to do that," said Bowen, who's been with the Sheriff's Office for 16 years.
Sheriff John Rutherford, who handing out the awards at a ceremony Thursday morning, talked about the importance of recognizing officers.
"People don't realize the depth and the breadth of what it takes to be a successful law enforcement agency," Rutherford said.
Other members of JSO were honored as well.
Sgt. Shawn Coarsey was named "Police Supervisor of the Year" for his detective skills and leadership during a February kidnapping case that resulted in the safe recovery of a woman and her three young children.
"To serve our community, I mean, it's a good feeling," said Coarsey, who works in the homicide unit. "You truly, truly make a difference to the community when you do this job. Sometimes it's thankless, but in times like this you get to feel appreciated."
With more than 100 homicides committed in 2012, Jacksonville remains the murder capitol of Florida. At the same time, violent crime is at its lowest in 40 years.
The ceremony was all about reinforcing the hard work officers do to keep local families safe.