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WASHINGTON,D.C. Justice Department officials who investigated and prosecuted the Oklahoma bombing case, coordinated the National Church Arson Task Force, pursued the World Trade Center bombers, and tracked the Unabomber were among more than 170 individuals honored today by Attorney General Janet Reno.

At the 46th Annual Attorney General Awards Ceremony, held at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., Reno presented the Department's top award, the Exceptional Service Award, to six members of the Oklahoma bombing investigation and prosecution team.

"This award is the highest honor I can bestow for their unparalleled dedication and perseverance in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history," said Reno.

The Exceptional Service Awards were awarded to Danny A. Defenbaugh, Special Agent in Charge, Dallas Field Office, FBI; Joseph Hartzler, Senior Litigation Counsel, Springfield, Illinois, U.S. Attorney's office; Larry A. Mackey, Senior Litigation Counsel, Indianapolis, U.S. Attorney's office; Beth Wilkinson, Special Assistant to the Director for the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys; Sean Connelly, Trial Attorney, Criminal Division; and K. Lynn Anderson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Oklahoma U.S. Attorney's office.

Eleven other members of the Oklahoma bombing investigation and prosecution team received the Department's second highest award, the Distinguished Service Award and 13 others received Special Commendation Awards or an Attorney General's medallion for their contributions as members of the McVeigh/Nichols prosecution team.

"Every member of this team deserves the thanks of the American people for their commitment, hard work, and personal sacrifice in bringing the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice," Reno added.

The Department's second highest award, the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service, was presented to 58 employees and five other individuals for their work in several other high profile cases including the Unabomb Task Force, the National Church Arson Task Force, the FBI laboratory investigation, the World Trade Center bombing, New York La Cosa Nostra probe, and the John Fife Symington loan and wire fraud case.

Five correctional officers with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) received the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Heroism for their courageous actions on April 3, 1997, at the U.S. Penitentiary at Lompoc. On that day, an inmate mortally wounded officer Scott Williams in an unprovoked, vicious attack. Although mortally wounded, Williams' last act of life was protecting a fellow officer. Officers Scot Elliott, Scott Leedham, Marcos Marquez, and Mark Stephenson each suffered serious injuries as they came to Williams' aid. In addition to the four who received awards, Williams received his award posthumously.

"The bravery and heroic valor is in the highest tradition of the BOP and all law enforcement agencies," said Reno. "Their selfless disregard for their personal safety, and courageous willingness to risk their own well being to protect the lives of fellow officers, make them among the best of correctional professionals."

The Attorney General's Award for Meritorious Public Service was presented to Alonzo Carpenter, Resident Co Chairperson of the St. Petersburg Weed and Seed Steering Committee. Carpenter was honored for his unfailing commitment to the Weed and Seed program.

"In the face of opposition from a local organization, as well as personal insults, threats, and vandalism to his home, Carpenter has never wavered in his resolve to assure a better quality of life for the residents of South St. Petersburg," noted Reno.

The Attorney General's William French Smith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cooperative Law Enforcement was presented to Charles Moose, Chief of Police, Portland, Oregon. Moose was honored for his dynamic leadership in promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of law enforcement through cooperative policing and his efforts to create a true spirit of partnership among law enforcement entities, bridging the gap between those agencies and the communities they serve.

"Today's awards acknowledge the exceptional achievements, leadership and heroism of Department employees, Reno said. "The events of the past year have once again presented many challenges for the Justice Department, and I am proud of how we have responded to them."

In all, 59 awards, in 28 different categories, were presented to 178 individuals, including 165 Department employees and 13 others. Award recipients were selected from more than 420 nominations. For more information about individual award recipi ents and the corresponding activities which led to their awards, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 202 616 2765.

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