Waynesboro police honored their best and most dedicated officers of the year Wednesday. One of them received an honor that's a first in the department's 115-year history.
Solving the disappearance and murder case of Karen Tait required two years of working at all hours, interstate cooperation and even some international diplomacy. That was the job – and perhaps obsession – of Detective Alyssa Campbell, whose efforts closed the 2002 cold case.
Wednesday afternoon, the Waynesboro Police Department honored Campbell during its annual awards ceremony. Prosecutors delivered a letter of recognition for her work in the Tait case, which ended just last week with convictions in two states.
Police Chief Mike Wilhelm gave Campbell a plaque and the police star, an award no Waynesboro officer had received before.
"We do commendations and other awards for life-saving and stuff like that. But we have kind of held this one in reserve until the right case came along," Wilhelm said.
Campbell said, "I'm very blessed. I'm not really, really sure how to respond to that. I am very honored to receive that type of award."
Waynesboro police also presented awards for work in traffic safety and DUI arrests, and Robert Dean was named the department's "Officer of the Year."
Though the police star came for her work in the Tait case, Campbell was also credited for helping build the case against John Clark II, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four children.