BEST COP (2001)
This past August, Sgt. Joe Delia of the Maryland Heights Police Department in Missouri was one of 13 officers recognized as a "Top Cop" by the National Association of Police Organizations. The honor was bestowed upon Delia in recognition of his central role in the multi-year investigation of the so-called Evans Family interstate prostitution ring. But Delia would be the first to assert that the man who nominated him for the commendation--Sgt. Andy Schmidt of the Minneapolis Police Department--was equally deserving of the award. "For him to nominate me was a very unselfish act, because he played as big a role in the case as I did," says Delia. "We would have never made the case without him. There is no doubt about it." The operation Delia and Schmidt helped shut down was a doozy, involving runaway teens lured into sexual slavery by fancy cars and flashy jewelry, not to mention beatings and death threats. In all, 19 people were convicted--making it the largest prostitution ring ever federally prosecuted. Delia praises his out-of-state partner's dedication, and particularly his compassion for the victims. While it's not quite a Top Cop award, we hereby offer our own salute to Sergeant Schmidt.