2013 Charles “Bud” Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year
Detective Matt Hanlin
Clay County, Florida
NSA is pleased to announce that Detective Matt Hanlin, with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Charles “Bud” Meeks Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year. The Charles “Bud” Meeks Award was presented at the Opening General Session on Sunday, June 23rd at NSA’s Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC.
Detective Hanlin fought for his life and yet still feared for the safety of his fellow detectives when an investigation into a suspected meth lab went bad. On February 16, 2012 members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Organized Crime Section were sent to investigate a foreclosed house that was suspected to be a meth lab.
Detective Hanlin and Detective David White posted near the door while others took positions at the rear of the house. When they knocked and announced “Sheriff’s Office” they were met with various verbal statements though the closed door.
The door opened slightly, emitting a strong odor of an active meth lab from within. As the occupants began to exit, a suspect appeared and began firing a weapon towards the open front door and the detective positioned there. Detective Hanlin and Detective White were both hit by the gunman’s shots. Other detectives began to return fire to suppress the gunman’s attack. Detective White was down and suffering a gunshot wound to the head.
When additional detectives responded to the front of the house they found Detective Hanlin down in the yard. He was trying to hold his pistol up with his left hand to cover his fellow detectives, while using his right hand to stop profuse bleeding from what was later determined to be a severed artery in his upper left arm. Detective Hanlin removed his hand from the wound to use his radio to call for assistance for his fellow detectives that were down. He had sustained a severe amount of blood loss and was losing consciousness. A member on the scene stripped off a belt and applied it as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Detective Hanlin and Detective White were taken to the hospital where doctors indicated that Detective Hanlin would have lost his life if it had not been for the quick action of fellow members on the scene. Detective David White died from the wounds inflicted on the initial contact. The suspect was killed, four additional suspects were taken into custody and an active meth lab was located.
Despite being critically wounded, Detective Hanlin feared for the safety of his fellow officers and tried to cover for them and call for help. He held onto his duty weapon, trying to cover the door to protect his fallen partner and others until he was physically unable to hold his weapon.
The Charles "Bud" Meeks Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year was established to recognize deputy sheriffs who have demonstrated conspicuous bravery in the performance of their duties. The award is given in memory and honor of Charles "Bud" Meeks, who served as executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association from 1989 to 1997 and in 2000.
This year's award is sponsored by Motorola, Inc.