JSO Director Tom Hackney Receives National Crime Victims’ Week Award

Tom Hackney

John Kirkland, Justice Coalition Board Member, and JSO Director Tom Hackney.

JSO Director Tom Hackney Receives National Crime Victim’s Week Award from FL Attorney General Pam Bondi

JSO Director Tom Hackney was honored at the State Capitol with the National Crime Victims’ Week Distinguished Service Award on April 13, 2016 by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Hackney was nominated for the award by John Kirkland, Justice Coalition board member, and State Attorney Angela Corey.

“Always professional, Hackney was clearly deeply affected and, in addition to presenting facts in the case and asking for leads, he asked viewers to join him in prayer that little Lonzie Barton would be found. Working tirelessly, well above and beyond his normal duties, Hackney received accolades from many in the community who appreciated his unwavering commitment to this heartbreaking, difficult task,” said the nomination.

Lonzie Barton, a 21-month-old child was reported to have been abducted in July 2015 in the caregiver’s car stolen in the middle of the night. Law enforcement personnel immediately began a months-long search for the missing toddler, and Chief Tom Hackney quickly became the face of the investigation as he daily reported any new information or direction the search was taking.

“Although he was the official JSO spokesman, he consistently included in his comments the multitude of fellow law enforcement personnel and other individuals who spent countless hours, days and weeks in the sweltering heat, determined to locate the child. He said he never heard one officer complain about how hot or tired they were; they were united in their desire to find the child.

Day after day, Hackney faced TV cameras and patiently answered reporters’ questions. He gave as much information as possible, including evidence substantiating his assertion that Ruben Ebron (boyfriend of Lonzie’s mother) was the one person who could lead them to Lonzie – or his remains. Sadly, about six months later in January, Ebron made a plea deal and led investigators to a wooded area where he had dumped the child’s body, covering it with two tires. When medical examiners determined the skeletal remains were Lonzie’s, Ebron was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

At a Remembrance Vigil held in Lonzie’s honor, Chief Hackney received a standing ovation when he rose to speak – a fitting tribute to a law enforcement officer who personifies the very best in his profession. He has since been promoted to Director of Investigations and Homeland Security, effective March 25.”

Justice Coalition is proud to celebrate Director Tom Hackney as such an outstanding public servant.