TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Out of all the men and women who help keep northeast Mississippi streets safe, two special men celebrated high honors this weekend.
The two officers who went above and beyond the call off duty were highlighted in Tupelo Saturday during the American Legions "Law Enforcement Officer of the Year" ceremony.
"It's an honor. It's a blessing. I never even dreamed about this when I got into law enforcement," first-place winner and Pontotoc County Deputy Raymond Owen. "I must give credit where credit is due - it's family with love and support, to support me in my career and the blessing from God to be able to do the job that I do.
"To even be considered is an honor in my opinion. The true heroes are the men that provided this award and that went through the applicants, judged them and chose them. Those are your true heroes that are here today," said Officer Dean Hudson with the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, the second place winner.
According to the head of the six-person committee that chose the winner, community involvement of both men put the two over the top.
"Officer Owen works with the youth quite a bit and Officer Hudson helped out with the EF5 Tornado in Smithville quite a bit and everybody thinks the world of both of them because they are just treasures to their community," said John Repult, chairman of the Law Enforcement of the Year Committee.
Over 26 agencies were contacted and the top two officers were narrowed down from a group of 10.
"These two top guys were within 9 points of each other so it was really hard. When I went through reading the applications to start with, I knew these two guys were going to be the top winners," said Repult.
This was the first year The American Legion Post 49 and 40 presented the award and they say they hope to make it an annual event.