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Press Release

U.S. Attorney Parker recognizes community & law enforcement in first annual awards

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – United States Attorney Kenneth L. Parker announced seven law enforcement and community awards today.


The U.S. Attorney is presenting the awards to individuals or groups nominated for their bravery and sacrifice, law enforcement excellence, focus on violent crime, protection of children and positive impact on their communities.


“Each and every day in the Southern District of Ohio, we have community and law enforcement members working diligently to improve our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “These individuals and groups dedicate their time and talents to bettering our District and they deserve to be recognized.”


The awardees include:


Kaia Grant Badge of Bravery and Sacrifice Award

Deputy U.S. Marshal David Youngless, Jr.

On Dec. 8, 2021, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) Southern District of Ohio, Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST) conducted a fugitive investigation for an individual wanted by the Columbus Division of Police for robbery.


During the search, the team encountered the fugitive in a bedroom on the second floor of the home. As the officers were taking her into custody, her male companion, who was hiding in a nearby closet, opened fire and shot Deputy United States Marshal David Youngless Jr., the team leader of Columbus SOFAST.


“Deputy Youngless’ professionalism and bravery was evident in the way he stayed in control of the team. Deputy Youngless remained poised and continued to direct the actions of the team while calming both the team and others inside the home,” said U.S. Attorney Parker.


The bullet that struck Deputy Youngless entered through his arm, ricocheted off his spine breaking two vertebrae, and lodged in his chest. Deputy Youngless spent four nights in the hospital before being released.


Law Enforcement Excellence

Sgt. Shawn Gruber (Columbus Division of Police)

Sgt. Gruber led the Zone 2 Summer Safety Initiative in Columbus. During a six-week period, Sgt. Gruber and his team recovered 17 firearms, including an automatic weapon, from numerous known gang members. The seized weapons helped further unsolved homicide investigations.


Sgt. Gruber and his team made 35 felony arrests and seized at least half a kilogram of crack cocaine along with numerous other narcotics.


Project Safe Neighborhood’s Guardian Award

Det. & Task Force Officer Sam Chappell (Columbus Division of Police)

Every firearm recovered in the city of Columbus includes a report that is reviewed by Columbus Division of Police Detective and ATF Task Force Officer Sam Chappell. TFO Chappell then gathers and presents all related information to state and federal prosecutors to determine the most appropriate venue for potential prosecution. Many of the cases TFO Chappell has opened in 2022 are domestic violence related.


One of TFO Chappell’s firearms trafficking cases led to the seizure of 31 firearms from one home that were slated to be sold on open forums to anyone who wanted them.


Project Safe Childhood Shield of Innocence

Det. & Task Force Officer Brett Peachey (Westerville Division of Police)

Westerville Detective Brett Peachey has been a dedicated Task Force Officer with the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Unit and the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children task force for nearly 14 of his 27 years of law enforcement service.


During his tenure, TFO Peachey has arrested hundreds of child pornography offenders and rescued countless children. He’s stopped numerous dangerous pedophiles through undercover online chat communications and continues to tirelessly pursue the most heinous offenders.


Polaris Community Service Award

Maj. Brian Johns (Dayton Police Department)

Maj. Brian Johns, Commander of the Investigations Division, was awarded the Polaris Community Service Award for his role in an innovative new program aimed at helping youth recover from trauma.


In 2022, the Dayton Police Department organized a special summer program for local youths that have experienced trauma either through being a victim or witness to a crime, or the loss of a parent or close loved one to violence or overdose. The Youth Recovery Outdoor Summer Program featured eight days of outdoor activities throughout the summer months (one day per week over eight weeks), allowing them to find positive ways to deal with stress and loss, learn a new hobby or skill, increase self-confidence, and spend time with other youths going through similar situations.


Maj. Johns was nominated by the Dayton YWCA, writing, “Having the opportunity to connect the youth we serve with a program tailored to their needs and considerate of their challenges – a program that reinforces that they are seen, heard, and valued – is life-changing, and helps to expedite the healing process.”


Five children in the YWCA’s domestic violence shelters participated in this summer’s program.


Serve Thy Neighbor Award

FBI Cincinnati Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association

The FBICCAAA is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI that is comprised of graduates from the FBI’s Citizens Academy program who wish to support area law enforcement organizations and give back to the community. In recent years, the nonprofit group has had a positive impact on the community by raising awareness of human trafficking in Southern Ohio.


For the last two years, the group has held a fundraising event to support anti-trafficking programs in our area. More than $6,000 has been donated to End Slavery Cincinnati, Hope House in Dayton, and Out of Darkness in Columbus. This total does not include funds raised at the third annual event that occurred on Oct. 2 at Topgolf in Cincinnati.


The FBICCAAA raised funds to purchase backpacks and supplies that could be given to women served by the Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program (SAOP) in Nelsonville, Ohio. SAOP works with survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence in seven southeastern Ohio counties. Members of the FBICCAAA put together 50 survivor backpacks filled with comfort items, toiletries, snacks, and other necessities. SAOP plans to distribute the backpacks throughout Southeast Ohio to sex trafficking victims, many of whom are homeless and have little or nothing of their own.


Serve Thy Neighbor Award

Malissa Thomas-St. Clair (Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children)

Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, the president and founder of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, coordinates a small army of mothers affectionately referred to as Sister Soldiers.


“Tragically, admission to the group is predicated by the most unthinkable act – a mother losing a child to violence,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “Ms. Thomas-St. Clair has taken her own personal loss and turned the pain into a vehicle to advocate for others.”


Ms. Thomas-St. Clair has created a powerful support network for those losing a loved one to violence. These ladies, often dressed in orange and camouflage, tirelessly take to the streets to advocate for violence reduction and improved relations between the police and the community


“Each award recipient in this first annual set of law enforcement awards highlights that we make better, stronger communities when we work together,” added U.S. Attorney Parker. “I’m proud to work alongside such innovative and devoted members of our community, law enforcement and otherwise.”


For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s annual law enforcement awards, please contact Law Enforcement Coordinator Mitchell Seckman at 614-469-5715.


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Updated October 28, 2022

Office and Personnel Updates