News and Press Releases

DOJ Seal


Sharon L. Potter

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist


April 28, 2009

2009 Courage Awards and Law Enforcement Appreciation Ceremony

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — In conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that a Courage Awards and Law Enforcement Appreciation Ceremony was held today at the Federal Building in Wheeling. The awards, presented for the first time this year, recognized the courage displayed by several victims and/or their families involved in criminal cases prosecuted in federal court, and also honored the law enforcement officers who brought justice to those victims.

According to Potter, Harmony House Child Advocacy Center was honored for the services they provided to victims of crime. Services provided at Harmony House focus on forensic interviewing of children and coordinating with law enforcement and Child Protective Services to further investigations.

Although not releasing names or specific cases publically to protect the victims and their families, USA Potter stated “It was a privilege to honor the individuals today for the bravery and courage displayed throughout their respective cases. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides us an opportunity to acknowledge the victim’s important role in the criminal procedure and reinforce the fact to those unfortunately touched by crime that their participation can be key to successful prosecutions.”

Law enforcement officers who were recognized included:

Sgt. John D. Burke, Wheeling Police Department
Warden James N. Cross, United States Penitentiary – Hazelton
Lt. Joseph Cuchta, Ohio County Sheriff’s Department
Wesley C. Frame III, formerly with Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department
Chief Kevin M. Gessler, Sr., Wheeling Police Department
Detective Troy Gossett, Owensboro, Kentucky, Police Department
Special Agent Lisa M. Hack, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Special Agent Michael K. Kocher, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Special Agent Joseph T. Price, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
Special Agent Joseph S. Sobocinski, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Warden Cross of USP Hazelton in Hazelton, West Virginia, was presented a plaque to acknowledge the prison’s contribution to the Northern District’s Project Safe Prisons, an initiative focused on prosecutions to secure a safe prison environment. USP Hazelton sits on 915 acres near Interstate 68 and houses in excess of 1,800 high security male inmates, 500+ medium security female inmates, and 140+ inmates at a federal prison camp on its grounds.