A man of few words was presented with the G.W. Law enforcement officer of the year award at last week's meeting of the Fulton Rotary Club.
Aaron Hazelton, who attended with his son Tristan, was an investigator at the Callaway County Sheriff's Office for about 15 years, he said. During that time, he worked undercover.
Last year, Hazelton was part of a $6.65 million K2 drug distribution bust. The case crossed borders and left 10 people indicted, including six from Fulton who pleaded guilty to various charges, along with two other Missouri residents plus two from California.
"I'm not big on awards," Hazelton said. "You do your job the best you can. You do it well enough that you can save a life or put that one drug dealer away."
Hazelton was chosen from a nominated group of officers that also included Callaway County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Don Dame and Sgt. Ryan Lacy and Fulton Police Department's Lt. Stan Holt.
"Each of these officers are worthy of receiving this year's award," said event chairman Charles Anderson, who is director of the Callaway County Ambulance District. "We're recognizing our local law enforcement officers for service above self, which is the Rotary motto."
Hazelton was nominated by Callaway County Prosecutor Christopher Wilson.
"He's always been a very compassionate, hard-working law enforcement officer," Wilson said. "He genuinely cares about people and wants to make Callaway County a better place to live and raise a family."
Hazelton also served as an officer with the Mustang Drug Task Force.
"When Aaron moved from being a road deputy at the Callaway County Sheriff's Office to an agent of the Mustang Drug Task Force, it quickly became apparent to me that he had found his true calling," Wilson said. "When a person finds a job that they truly love and they are fortunate enough to be very talented at that job, they are truly blessed, and it is amazing what they can accomplish. That is the case for Aaron Hazelton."
Wilson said he couldn't comment about Hazelton's work as an investigator, but he was always aware of his hard work.
"Now that his investigation into the synthetic drug problem in our county has wrapped up and the cases have been prosecuted, I thought it important for the public to know what Aaron did for this community and that he be recognized in some way for his effort," Wilson added. "It's important to note that Aaron's work was the culmination of the work of many different law enforcement officers from many different agencies including the Fulton Police Department, Holts Summit Police Department, Auxvasse Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Cole County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Attorney's Office, and other investigators and deputies in the Callaway County Sheriff's Office and Mustang. Aaron would be the first to acknowledge all of their effort.
"At the same time, Aaron worked hard to pull together all of those investigations, investigate his own leads and present a compelling case for federal prosecution."