An officer with more than a decade of law enforcement experience along countless of money and drug seizures was named as the 2019 Officer of the Year at Tuesday's night 28th annual law enforcement appreciation fish fry.
Lt. Edward Sanchez is a graduate of Calallen High School, Class of 1996. He became a firefighter with the Alice Fire Department after graduation.
He has been in law enforcement since 2007 after graduating from the police academy. He's worked with the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Office for nearly 12 years.
"It was something I started doing. Looking up to Albert (Martinez), Ray Escamilla and seeing how they would do things. It fascinated me," Sanchez said. "The stuff they were catching and the stuff they were doing. So I started moving in that direction and asking a lot of questions from the guys I looked up to."
Sanchez began in patrol and moved his way to the interdiction team.
He is responsible for millions of dollars of drugs and United States currency confiscated over the last several years.
According to the sheriff's office, in the last year alone, Sanchez seized more than 92 pounds of cocaine with a street value over a million dollars, over 76 pounds of meth valued at $1.5 million and been involved in the seizure of over a million dollars.
"I feel good that they nominated me. Honestly, there are a lot of guys at the department that should've been nominated," Sanchez stated. So many guys in the officer who have done so many things they they're deserving of this (award) also."
During the annual event, prizes such as guns and gift cards were given. Law enforcement officer from Jim Wells and Duval counties as well as Department of Public Safety troopers attended the dinner at the fairgrounds.
Scholarships were awarded to Amanda George and Aaren Perez. George received a scholarship of $500 and Perez a scholarship of $1,000.
The dinner was supplied by the Optimist Club, Coyote Cooks, law enforcement committee, Alice Chamber of Commerce and several other sponsors.