Each year, Prosecuting Attorney D. Lee Buckingham II recognizes two officers in honor of each Hamilton County officer’s distinguished service to the community and the pursuit of justice. One investigator (usually holding an assignment as a detective) and one road officer are selected from the nominations garnered from within the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
At a ceremony held on February 3rd in the Commissioner’s Courtroom at the Hamilton County Judicial Center in Noblesville, Prosecuting Attorney Buckingham (photo, middle) limited in-person attendance and spoke to others who were able to watch and listen remotely. Prosecutor Buckingham expressed to the attendees, "In 2020 the job of being a law enforcement officer became more difficult, not just because of the pandemic, but more significantly because of the bad acts of a very small percentage of members of the law enforcement community within our country. These bad acts or bad actors, and their questionable if not outright deplorable examples of misconduct, make the jobs of all honest, hardworking law enforcement officers with integrity, more difficult." He further bemused, "More and more I ponder the drive and fortitude it takes to enter such a difficult and highly scrutinized profession."
Prosecutor Buckingham then stated, "Fortunately, we continue to be blessed here in Hamilton County; we continue to have a large contingency of very fine law enforcement officers. Each year I talk about how it is never easy to select the recipients of this award, not because of dearth of candidates, but rather because of the difficulty in selecting just one recipient in each category from the many viable candidates within the county."
Prosecutor Buckingham first honored Officer Lydia R. Fairchok of the Sheridan Police Department as Road Officer of the Year for 2020. Starting as a reserve officer with the Sheridan Police Department in 2017, Officer Fairchok (photo, left) later became the first full-time female officer to serve on the department. Officer Fairchok is no stranger to accolades, having finished at the very top of her class at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2018. Prosecutor Buckingham said that the future is bright for "someone with her passion for her job and the initiative she takes on her cases."
Prosecutor Buckingham also recognized Detective Kirby A. Campbell of the Fishers Police Department as Investigator of the Year for 2020. As an investigator, Det. Campbell (photo, right) works a variety of cases, relying upon his law enforcement training and his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and his master's degree in criminal justice from Bethel University. Since joining the Fishers Police Department in 2012, Det. Campbell worked in the patrol division before joining the investigations division in January 2017. As a detective, Campbell has maintained the engaged, thoughtful, and detail-oriented approach to policework he developed as a road officer. Prosecutor Buckingham highlighted Det. Campbell's skill at synthesizing the facts he has uncovered in a clear and concise way without sacrificing the elements of the crime or the accurate account of the events.