ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Every year, the St. Paul Police Department gets together to honor their own. The officer of the year awards recognize not only the men and women in blue, but the civilians who make a difference in the department.
This year, the civilian award went to Evette Scarver for her dedication to the police body camera program. The second award goes to the detective of the year. Sergeant James Gray was recognized for his investigative work on stolen copper from rooftop air conditioners. Then there was the officer of the year.
Officer John Sherwood started in 1986. Since then, he’s developed strong relationships within the department and within the community.
“It comes with life experience, it comes with work experience and clearly being from St. Paul I think that’s helped, it makes it special anyway,” Sherwood said.
Officer Joseph Sauer was the runner-up for the big award. It was Officer Sauer’s quick thinking and coordinated approach that led him to a missing 7-year-old girl.
“It was truly a relief that she was alive and well,” Sauer said.
The little girl went missing in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood in May 2016. After finding the apartment she was taken to, Officer Sauer removed the door from its hinges.
“I saw the little girl in the bed, I pulled him aside, handcuffed him and escorted out and we were able to save the little girl,” he said.
Officer Sherwood says since he started on the force he’s seen more gun violence, opioid addiction, and people in mental health crises. He says it’s the compassionate response of his co-workers that makes a difference.