Eastern District of Missouri U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen was the guest speaker at this year’s Respect for Law dinner and awards ceremony for law enforcement held at the VFW Hall in Cape Girardeau on Thursday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Ferrell, Ret., introduced Jensen as someone who “has absolutely done an extraordinary job in attacking violent crime.”

“I have no doubt that on this mission, Jeff Jensen will do as he has done in every step of his life. He’s going to hit it out of the park,” Ferrell said.

Jensen said he does have Cape Girardeau roots, with relatives on his mother’s side originally from the Southeast Missouri area.

He said he owes “quite a bit to Cape Girardeau,” and spoke of visiting on past vacations.

Jensen spoke on the topic of stepping up prosecutions “very aggressively,” with the focus “clearly” being on violent crime and drug cases.

“Especially drug cases. We’re going after it hard,” he said.

Jensen explained “never” has there been a time in history where the department of justice has relied more heavily on local and state law enforcement.

He said this is the hardest time it’s ever been to be a law enforcement officer, in part because of people’s “such disregard for human life.”

“It’s shocking to me,” he said, “guns are so available to these dangerous people. It’s almost like they’re playing video games with real guns.”

Jensen emphasized “self-initiated police work makes all the difference” and said he was in attendance to express appreciation on behalf of the United States for the work of local law enforcement.

“The department of justice supports blue,” Jensen said.

Awards were also presented Thursday evening by Sergeant Jeff McCullough, Sheriff John Jordan and Chief of Police Wes Blair.

McCullough presented the Missouri State Highway Patrol award to Sgt. Shawn Price and Cpl. Aaron Harrison

“One thing about Shawn, which I can’t say probably about any other pilot in the state patrol, if he’s not flying and doing what he’s required to do for that day, he’s at our zone office helping us,” McCullough said.

Jordan presented the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Department award to Det. Jaimie Holloway and Cpl. Jamie Malugen

He described Holloway as an “invaluable member of the Sheriff’s office” and labeled Malugen as being “renowned for his great communication and interviewing skills.”

Blair presented the Cape Girardeau City Police Department award to Cpl. Cary Dunavan and Ptlm. Roy Rahn

“I can’t say enough good things about what Cpl. Dunavan does for our department,” Blair said. “He manages our evidence section … we probably couldn’t make a lot of the cases that we’ve made without his hard work out on the crime scenes and getting the evidence collected and maintaining it.”

Blair said the department’s canine division is a “testament today to the groundwork” that Rahn set into place.

“And we’re so appreciate of that,” Blair said.

By Joshua Hartwig | Southeast Missourian