The business community came together the morning of August 24th to honor and thank our region’s first responders for their outstanding contributions to our safety and well-being. With over 300 first responders and community members in attendance at the event, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears provided the event’s keynote address. She told those gathered that, when they see footage of people smashing windows or burning businesses in other areas—and get the feeling that the world has turned upside down—they may wonder: “Is this the country I’m fighting for, is it worth it?” “I’m going to tell you, it’s worth it, America is worth fighting for,” she said. “What you do, first responders, is not in vain. We see it and we’re glad you’re there because when you are running toward the violence, toward the fire, and we’re running the other way.”

Awards were presented in the following categories: Heroism (Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards; Meritorious Civilian Award); Investigative (Excellence in Criminal Investigation Award; Merit Award; The Business of First Responding Award); and the Citizen Valor Award. To see video of the event, including Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears keynote speech, click here

Detective Jim Herdman, Detective Jesse Hanrahan, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Major Troy Skebo and Captain Liz Scott


On May 29, 2019, the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from a distraught father who found his 14-year old son dead inside his mother’s residence.  Ultimately, the child’s mother and her boyfriend were also found murdered inside the residence. In the early stages of the investigation there were no suspects, very little forensic evidence, and no witnesses. With so little to go on, Detectives Jim Herdman and Jesse Hanrahan began looking into the lives of the victims and found evidence showing the deceased boyfriend, Michael Coleman was a significant narcotics trafficker in the area. Detectives Herdman and Hanrahan worked with 10 different federal, state, and local agencies as they followed the leads in their investigation. The Detectives were led to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they linked five potential suspects to the homicides. Following those leads, Detectives Herdman and Hanrahan conducted several interviews of each suspect and eventually one of the suspects gave a full confession to his part in the homicides and detailed the roles of the other four suspects.

Throughout their year and a half investigation, Detective Jim Herdman and Jesse Hanrahan spent over 4,500 man hours on this case. All five suspects were charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of abduction, robbery, conspiracy and multiple counts of child abuse or neglect.  On January 15, 2022, a jury found all defendants guilty of the above charges. Without the tremendous work ethic and dedication to duty these two detectives possess, this heinous crime might have gone unsolved. While both Detectives are veterans in law enforcement, this was the first homicide both Detectives had ever worked.

Detective Patrick Lamb, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears and Chief Brian Layton


Fredericksburg City Detective Lamb was called to an address to investigate a suicide in the city earlier this year. Detective Lamb processed the scene and soon began to recognize that there were some oddities with the facts of the case and some suspicious statements made by the reporting party who is the boyfriend and father of the victims’ children. Detective Lamb gathered evidence and knew that the evidence did not match the boyfriend’s statements. Detective Lamb obtained charges for homicide on the boyfriend and served him that day on the charges and put him in jail under no bond. Lamb was able to bring a balance of investigative skills and compassion to the case.

Detective Nicholas Riding, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears and Sheriff David Decatur


On January 28, 2022, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Embrey Mill Subdivision for an attempted abduction of a child. Quickly after arriving on scene, deputies were able to develop a suspect vehicle description and deputies saturated the area looking for the suspect vehicle. Utilizing law enforcement resources, a suspect was developed that matched the description provided of the offender. Detective Nicholas Ridings was assigned as the lead investigator on this investigation. Surveillance was maintained on the residence as a search warrant was obtained. The search warrant was executed by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team. The suspect refused to come out of the residences and the assistance of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Team (DRONE) and K-9 were used. The suspect was taken into custody without incident after he was found hiding in a wall. The suspect has been charged with multiple offenses involving this attempted abduction and is currently being held without bond pending trial.

Major Troy Skebo, Detective Renee Jacques, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Captain Liz Scott

Investigative Merit Award

Detective Jacques wears many hats within the Criminal Investigation Division of the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Detective Jacques is assigned as a General Assignment Detective where she has 45 cases as the primary investigator and maintained a 60% case closure rate. Additionally, Detective Jacques assisted in 159 cases, helping with evidence collection as she is an expert in Forensics. Detective Jacques has become the agency’s fingerprint expert and has achieved certification.  Detective Jacques has held roll call training for each Patrol squad in the area of fingerprint collection and maintains the agency’s fingerprint collection database. Detective Jacques has helped to develop and instructs the Field Evidence Technician Course for Patrol Deputies. Detective Jacques’ extraordinary all around effort has had a tremendous impact on the overall success of the Criminal Investigation Division and the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office.

David Moody of King George County Dept. of Fire & Rescue, Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Simmons; Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, LEMS members Shawn Simmons, Christina DeGruy and Kevin Cook; firefighters Kameron Henderson and Rodney Ash

Heroism: Silver Valor Award

On Monday, January 3, 2022, our County and Region was hit by an unprecedented winter storm that severely impacted our community. During this storm our county roadways and power grid was severely impacted for multiple days. The Communications center received a call for a pregnant female having uncontrollable bleeding due to a possible ruptured placenta. King George County Fire & Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office deputies responded quickly after receiving the call but were confronted with many obstacles including power lines and trees blocking roads, and a very high amount of snow covering the roadways that had not yet been plowed.

The first emergency unit on-scene was Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Simmons with the King George Sheriff’s Office. LT Simmons took immediate action to determine a plan to treat and transport the patient as he determined the urgency of the patient’s condition. Due to all the obstacles presented Fire & Rescue crews arrived on-scene to the patient at 50 minutes into the call. The patient was initially transported in the Deputy’s patrol vehicle but LT Simmons encountered two downed trees blocking the roadway. The first tree he was able to move himself, but the second tree was too large. He then had to put the patient into a civilian’s Jeep due to the tree blocking the roadway. The patient went from the Jeep then into an ambulance for immediate Advanced Life Support treatment by paramedics. During transport to the hospital, firefighters had to utilize the brush truck outfitted with a snowplow. The crews plowed the entire distance from King George to Mary Washington Hospital. Along the way they were presented with crashed and stranded vehicles, a jack-knifed tractor trailer and had to detour through downtown Fredericksburg in order to finally make it to the hospital. Due to the dedication from these responders and the service to the King George community, this patient had a positive ending to this story. After arrival to the hospital the patient gave birth to a little baby girl weighing 3 ½ pounds named Maddie.

Deputy Fire Chief Jason Irby, Captain Andrew Pullen, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Firefighter Joshua Murdock, Technician Nathan Ogden, Lieutenant Gregory Fleck

Heroism: Gold Valor Award

On December 16th, 2021 at approximately 10:30pm, Medic 10 noticed a glow in the sky off Gordon Rd and immediately relayed this information to Ladder 10. Ladder 10 advised Spotsylvania Dispatch of a possible fire, at which time Dispatch advised they were receiving a report of a house fire in the same area. Ladder 10 responded and arrived with EMS 2 to find a single story residence on a basement with fire showing from the roof in the rear of the house.

Ladder 10 made entry into the house where Firefighter Joshua Murdock located two patients approximately 10 feet inside on the floor and notified Captain Andrew Pullen. Captain Pullen removed both patients and handed them off to Technician Nathan Ogden and Lt. Greg Fleck at the front door. Meanwhile Firefighter Murdock protected the area flowing a hand line and handing off the second patient. This entire process took less than one minute with all 4 individuals assistance.

Both patients were immediately handed over to medic units and transported to MWH where they were stabilized and flown to VCU for further care. Both patients have since been discharged from the hospital.

Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Senior Trooper Adam Burrows and First Sergeant Keith Hairston with the Virginia State Police

Heroism: Gold Valor Award

On July 03, 2022, Senior Trooper Adam Burrows with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Field Operations, Division II, Fredericksburg, was operating stationary radar, at the 124-mile marker, northbound, in Spotsylvania County, when a black Toyota 4-Runner was clocked at 101 miles per hour, in a posted 70 mile per hour zone. After refusing to stop, a pursuit was initiated as the suspect travelled north into Stafford County. The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office was successfully able to deploy spike strips deflating one of the Toyota’s tires. Unfortunately, despite losing a tire, the spike strips had little effect in slowing the pursuit as it continued north at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, through Prince William County, into Fairfax where additional Troopers responded to assist.

The Toyota eventually exited the Interstate at the 160-mile marker, onto U.S. Route 1, northbound. It travelled only a few short miles before losing control and striking a pole and coming to rest in a parking lot. The impact of the crash disoriented the driver who was subsequently taken into custody without further incident. He was incarcerated in the Rappahannock Regional jail on no bond.

An inventory of the vehicle was conducted and a firearm and several magazines of ammunition seized. Where this incident gets unique is upon leaving the jail, Senior Trooper Burrows was contacted by Richmond City Police detectives investigating a homicide. They had reason to believe the driver of the Toyota had allegedly shot several victims in a restaurant, killing one, just 30 minutes prior to Trooper Burrows initiating the pursuit. Details later emerged that the subject is a person of interest in other like crimes.

Despite the extraordinary personal risk involved, Senior Trooper Burrows while maintaining a calm and collective demeanor utilized his training and experience to bring a suspected active shooter into custody preventing any future acts of violence to the public.

Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Daniel Rasul, Robin King and Chief Brian Layton

Citizen of Valor

After finishing his tour of duty on 21 July 2021 and waiting for court, Officer Murphy heard a dispatched call for suspicious activity near where he was. He responded to the scene to support the on-coming dayshift and  located the reported person and moved to detain him. The man did not comply and began a violent attack. Officer Murphy fought back, never giving up or backing down from the man who was larger than him and had extensive MMA training as a former local fighter. Witnesses saw the violent attack and without hesitation jumped in to help – Robin King hit the man with a bat and Daniel Rasul helped hold him down and restrain him. While we thankfully will never know how bad the attack on Officer Murphy could have been, the actions of these folks played a vital role in keeping him safe and free from critical injury.