An Evington native and recipient of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) medal of valor has been hired by the Hurt Police Department (HPD).
Thomas Sawyer, a former Lynchburg Police Department (LPD) officer, will be starting with HPD as an officer August 1. Sawyer’s hire doubles the size of the department, as HPD chief Jason Lovelace was Hurt’s only police officer for several months when he stepped into his current role in February.
“We look forward to having him,” Lovelace told the Altavista Journal about Sawyer, his first hire as chief. “We look forward to having better coverage in the town.”
Sawyer said he is grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m just very thankful that the town of Hurt’s given me the chance to come down and work with them and try to make the place better,” Sawyer said. “I don’t really know how much better it could get because the town of Hurt’s pretty great in itself already.”
Sawyer attended Altavista High School where he ran track and played on the 2009 state championship-winning football team. He attended Central Virginia Community College and then became a security guard with Centra Health. After roughly three years he joined the LPD, where he said he spent the majority his time doing patrol work.
While in Lynchburg Sawyer was awarded the medal of honor and honorable service award by his department, and the medal of valor award by VACP following a 2018 incident in which Sawyer and several fellow officers arrested an individual after a high-speed car chase and shoot-out. Sawyer carried a wounded colleague to safety during the incident, according to VACP.
After over five years with the department, Sawyer said he wanted to return to something a little more familiar. Even while working with LPD, Sawyer lived in Evington. He attends New Prospect Baptist Church in Hurt, and has a number of family members in town.
“I just have really deep roots and ties with Hurt, and I just wanted to come back home,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer said he wants to increase the department’s visibility and let people know HPD is ready to serve them. He also said he looks forward to interacting with the community and helping the department grow and improve.
“I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” Sawyer said.
Lovelace said he thinks Sawyer will be well-received in Hurt, calling him personable, well-rounded and well-educated.
“I think the town has grown, and we’re growing in the right direction and trying to make things better,” Lovelace said. “And I think he’s going to be part of our moving forward, and I really look forward to having him work with us.”