(WTXL) — The Florida Sheriffs Association has named a heroic father and son team from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year.
According to FSA, Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared S. Hewitt were honored at the 2019 Summer Conference.
FSA says this year marks only the third time since 1990 that the award has been given to multiple officers.
The purpose of the award is to commend an officer who has shown bravery, service and honor in the line of duty.
“We normally recognize only one Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, but exceptions are made when deputies carry out courageous actions together as a team,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter. “This year we are proud to applaud both Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt for their heroic actions.”
FSA says a fire rapidly spread across Eastpoint on June 24, 2018, that resulted in the deputies saving a family trapped inside a burning vehicle.
“Once I heard the call that there was a family trapped in a burning vehicle, my instincts kicked in and my only concern was saving them,” said Deputy Jared Hewitt. “I was pleased to see that my dad had the same thought when we arrived at the scene at the same time.”
The vehicle was in the ditch and the front was already engulfed in flames. Sgt. Jeff Hewitt beat on the side of the vehicle while Deputy Jared Hewitt jumped in the bed of the truck to bang on the cab window, according to FSA.
They say the male victim was unable to get his four-year-old son out of his car seat, so Sgt. Hewitt worked quickly to rescue the child from the back seat and bring him to safety.
Deputy Hewitt escorted the male and female passengers out, and the entire family safely fled the scene with the deputies.
“Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt easily could have remained on safe ground and not entered a life-threatening situation,” said Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith. “I am proud to work alongside, not one, but two men who are deeply committed to protecting the people of Franklin County.”
Due to the bravery and selflessness of these deputies, there were no casualties during the Eastpoint fire.
“The FSA values integrity, honor, courage and commitment,” said Steve Casey, executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “We are extremely fortunate to have many brave men and women serving throughout Florida, such as Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt who live out these values in the field every day.”
The father and son team were officially named the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year at the FSA annual summer conference banquet in Tampa.
The award is proudly sponsored by Star & Shield Insurance Services.
For more information on this achievement, watch the official video here.