DOJ Press Release letterhead

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • Tuesday, July 14, 2009
  • WWW.OJP.GOV
  • Office of Justice Programs
  • Contact: Michelle Person
  • (202) 307-0703
  • TDD (202) 514-1888

Law Enforcement Officers Honored at National Weed and Seed Conference

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced today that six law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were honored posthumously with the Nicholas Sloan Award of Valor. The awards were presented today at the 2009 national Weed and Seed conference convened by the Department’s Community Capacity Development Office (CCDO) in Tampa, Fla.

The Nicholas Sloan Award is named for Officer Nicholas Kevin Sloan, from the St. Louis Police Department, who was shot and killed while conducting a narcotics operation in a Weed and Seed site. The award is intended to honor local law enforcement officers and community leaders who died in the line duty and left positive legacies in the Weed and Seed sites and neighborhoods they served.

The Weed and Seed strategy aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in designated high-crime neighborhoods. More than 300 Weed and Seed sites operate across the country.

Today’s awards were presented by Dennis Greenhouse, CCDO Director. “For 18 years, the Weed and Seed strategy has transformed communities across the country. The neighborhoods you serve are rural, urban, and tribal. They vary in many ways, from their size to their ethnic composition, but the common element is that all of you have seen the devastating effects of crime in your communities and you have found the courage to work for positive change,” he told the 1,300 conference attendees.

The 2009 Nicholas Sloan Award of Valor recipients included:

Code Officer Rodney Morales. Officer Morales was a dedicated professional in the City 's Code Enforcement unit for two-and-a-half years. He worked tirelessly to improve the neighborhoods served by the Colfax Corridor Weed and Seed community in Aurora, Colorado. In November 2008, Officer Morales was tragically shot and killed in the line of duty as he entered an apartment complex to conduct a routine multi-family housing inspection.

Special Agent Samuel Hicks.  Agent Hicks, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)  Pittsburgh, Pa. office, supported the West End Weed and Seed site. Agent Hicks was shot and killed during a drug operation as he tried to enter a suspect’s home. This investigation was part of a larger effort that resulted in the arrest of more than 35 dangerous subjects from various communities and the removal of a substantial amount of harmful drugs from the streets of Pittsburgh.

Sergeant Ervin Romans, Sergeant Dan Sakai, Traffic Sergeant Mark Dunakin, and Officer John Hege.  These four officers from the Oakland, Calif. Police Department were killed in separate confrontations in March 2009 while trying to apprehend a parolee. The loss of these committed officers reverberated throughout the Oakland Police Department and the East Oakland-Elmhurst Weed and Seed community.

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The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART).  More information can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

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