The National Sheriffs' Association has honored Clay County Sheriff's Detective Matt Hanlin was its 2012 Officer of the Year.
In February 2012, Hanlin was shot in gun battle with a suspect during a raid on a meth house in Middleburg. Fellow narcotics Detective David White (pictured below) was killed in the incident.
Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler was with Hanlin on Monday at the group's convention in Charlotte, N.C., for the presentation. It was the first time in the department's history that a Clay County sheriff's deputy has received one of the highest honors an officer can receive.
Beseler nominated Hanlin for the award a few months ago for the acts of valor he displayed the night of Feb. 16, 2012, and ever since. Hanlin was shot in the arm, and his partner, Detective David White (pictured, below), was killed that night while they were investigating a suspected meth lab in Middleburg.
In recognizing Hanlin, Beseler praised the detective for his courage to talk to others about his traumatizing experience as a surviving partner of White's. Beseler said Hanlin's integrity and humble attitude is what led to the 3,000 sheriffs to nominate Hanlin as Officer of the Year.
"The sheriff actually called me one day and he asked me if I was sitting down, and I thought I was getting fired or something," Hanlin said. "I told him, 'Yeah,' and he explained to me that I'd been put in for it and that I believe it was over (3,000) sheriffs that all select the candidate and that I'd been selected for it. Obviously I'm proud of it. It's hard to accept awards for that situation and to be happy about them, but you know I like to accept them in Detective White's honor."