Published: Monday, April 24, 2006, 12:01 a.m.
LYNNWOOD - Jason Valentine has a reputation with the crooks.
Some of them go out of their way to avoid him, even calling the police department to ask if the Lynnwood officer is on duty.
"He has a dogged determination to chase down the bad guys," Deputy Chief Paul Watkins said.
Valentine's reputation goes beyond the people he puts behind bars. His bosses and co-workers say he is a dedicated and professional officer.
Jennifer Buchanan / The Herald
Lynnwood officer Jason Valentine visits a home Thursday to talk to a resident about a recent incident.
Recently, Valentine was chosen to receive the Washington State Veterans of Foreign Wars law enforcement gold medal.
Once a year, VFW posts around the state collect nominations from local police and fire departments to honor a top police officer, firefighter and emergency technician.
"It's just something to bring attention to (first responders), and show appreciation for the fine work they do," said Frank Martinez, safety and law enforcement chairman for the state Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The Lynnwood officer will receive the award at the state VFW convention in June. His name also will be sent to a committee for consideration for the national award, Martinez said.
Valentine, an 11-year veteran with the department, was a natural choice for the honor, his bosses said.
"He's really an exemplary officer. He's a hard worker," Police Chief Steve Jensen said. "In all the jobs he's had, he has worked tirelessly to put people in jail."
Valentine, 34, has been a patrol officer and detective. He has worked in special operations and is a member of the tactical team.
He recently became a K-9 officer, teaming up with a German shepherd named Sandor.
"There is just this sense of reward you get when you help out a victim, and you realize that you get to make the community safer when you lock up the bad guy," Valentine said.
The Lynnwood officer was key in breaking up a major burglary ring that swept through Lynnwood and Seattle between 1996 and 1998, Jensen said. He also helped solve a 1995 homicide after developing new leads several years later. Valentine also was praised for stopping a man who stole a car with two young children inside.
"He's truly a great cop," Watkins said.
Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.