skip to content

Our Media



Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Recognized as the 2019 Florida Sheriffs Association’s Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

The Florida Sheriffs Association is honored to announce that Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared S. Hewitt, a heroic father and son team, of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office have been selected as the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. The award, which is proudly sponsored by Star & Shield Insurance Services, is presented each year at the FSA Summer Conference to commend an officer who has shown bravery, service and honor in the line of duty. This year marks only the third time since 1990 that the award has been given to multiple officers.

“We normally recognize only one Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, but exceptions are made when deputies carry out courageous actions together as a team,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter. “This year we are proud to applaud both Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt for their heroic actions.”

As fire rapidly spread across Eastpoint on June 24, 2018, Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt heard their commanding officer Captain Dwayne Coulter order all deputies to pull back due to zero visibility.

Shortly after that command, the deputies received a call that a family of three was trapped inside a burning truck on Buck Street. Sgt. Hewitt was nearby so he drove further down the road, hoping to see the truck before reaching the fire.

“I could only see a couple yards in front of my truck when I was locating the family and could feel the heat of the fire from inside my truck,” said Sgt. Jeff Hewitt. “The furthest I could drive was the curve in the road, and luckily, the family was right there.”

Both deputies arrived at the flaming truck at the same time from opposite directions.

“Once I heard the call that there was a family trapped in a burning vehicle, my instincts kicked in and my only concern was saving them,” said Deputy Jared Hewitt. “I was pleased to see that my dad had the same thought when we arrived at the scene at the same time.”

The vehicle was in the ditch and the front was already engulfed in flames. Sgt. Jeff Hewitt beat on the side of the vehicle while Deputy Jared Hewitt jumped in the bed of the truck to bang on the cab window. The roaring flames drowned out their voices, but the female victim finally cracked open the door once she heard the officers. 

The male victim was unable to get his four-year-old son out of his car seat, so Sgt. Hewitt worked quickly to rescue the child from the back seat and bring him to safety. Deputy Hewitt escorted the male and female passengers out, and the entire family safely fled the scene with the deputies.

“Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt easily could have remained on safe ground and not entered a life-threatening situation,” said Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith. “I am proud to work alongside, not one, but two men who are deeply committed to protecting the people of Franklin County.”

Due to the bravery and selflessness of these deputies, there were no casualties during the Eastpoint fire.

“The FSA values integrity, honor, courage and commitment,” said Steve Casey, executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “We are extremely fortunate to have many brave men and women serving throughout Florida, such as Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt who live out these values in the field every day.”

The father and son team were officially named the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year at the FSA annual summer conference banquet in Tampa. The award is proudly sponsored by Star & Shield Insurance Services.

“Law enforcement officers often have to enter stressful and dangerous situations and rely on their instincts and training to save lives,” said Allen Durham, president and CEO of Star & Shield. “We are grateful for Sgt. Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt’s bravery and selflessness in serving the citizens of Franklin County.”

 For more information on this achievement, watch the official video here:

# # #


Florida Sheriffs Association:
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation made up of the 67 Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 2,500 business leaders and 83,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services.  Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation.

About Star & Shield Insurance Services:
The mission of Star & Shield Insurance Services (Star & Shield) is to provide affordable insurance for First Responders, their families, friends and neighbors. Representing multiple leading insurers, Star & Shield offers competitive options for auto (including classic car and commercial), homeowners, renters, rental home, motorcycle, boat, RV and umbrella insurance. Star & Shield is also proud to offer product features with First Responders in mind, such as take-home car liability coverage. Since 2009, Star & Shield has provided millions in support of programs, events and activities that train, equip and honor our First Responders. This includes Law Enforcement, Corrections, Fire Rescue, EMS and Emergency Management Personnel (sworn/certified, civilian, credentialed volunteers and retirees) and their families.  For more information on Star & Shield Insurance Services, visit