ALBANY -- Named "Officer of the Year" by a regional law enforcement organization, Investigator Jason Armstrong found the honor especially meaningful because it came from his peers.
"It feels very good to be honored by my peers for the work I have done," said Armstrong, who works for the Dougherty County Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office. "It is an honor that really counts because it comes from my peers."
The annual award is given by the Georgia Sheriff's and Police Intelligence Unit, a group that covers more than 15 counties in Southwest Georgia, said Capt. Jimmy Sexton of the Dougherty County Police Department.
"Jason Armstrong has been the recipient of five letters of appreciation from supervisors and allied agencies commending his outstanding work," Sexton said. "Armstrong has shown a knack for taking seemingly deadend cases with little or no leads and working them up to prosecutable cases."
Especially effective in his work against gangs, Armstrong, 32, is part of the district attorney's Organized Crime Prosecution Unit formed about two years ago.
"When the unit was formed, there were 23 pending cases against gang members," said Matt Breedon, an assistant district attorney and gang prosecutor. "All 23 were missing witnesses, needed further investigation or were in no shape to go to trial. It was then that Investigator Armstrong began his work."
Within a year, all 23 had successfully prosecuted, Breedon added. That began a roll for the prosecution unit.
To date 54 gang members have been sentenced to a total of more than 1,000 years in prison. That reflects a 98-percent conviction rate, Breedon said.
Armstrong brought more than five years of experience with the Albany Police Department to his position in the District Attorney's Office when he joined in 2005.
"I work with a really great team," Armstrong said. "I think we can do some real good."