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Officer Dwight Rogers of the Haines City Police Department was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for medium-sized agencies by the Polk County Police Chiefs Association during its annual banquet on Jan. 9 at Lake Ashton. Rogers, 24, was recognized for his heroics while assisting another agency early in 2019.
"I am humbled, honored and blessed to receive this award," Rogers said. "With the Lord as my guardian angel, I know evil will lurk but never prevail."
On the evening of Feb. 6, 2019, Officer Rogers arrived at the West Haven Subdivision to assist the Polk County Sheriff's Office regarding a suicidal subject, who had barricaded himself inside his home.
As deputies attempted to make contact with the man, he opened fire at law enforcement officers, missing Rogers by less than three feet and striking Lt.
Mike Baldwin of the Sheriff's Office in the boot. Officer Rogers returned fire, which forced the man to move from one part of the house to another and allowed law enforcement officers to take cover.
"This was a night where lives were on the line and Officer Rogers stood bravely in the face of extreme danger," Chief Jim Elensky said. "I could not be more proud of Officer Rogers for the way he conducted himself that evening.I'm grateful that night ended with no serious injuries."
The Sheriff's Office SWAT team was deployed and the man was ultimately taken into custody. For his actions, Officer Rogers received a commendation from Polk Sheriff Grady Judd on July 1.
"We have a great team of hard-working men and women here in Haines City and great cooperation with our law enforcement partners throughout Polk County," Elensky added. "Officer Rogers' actions that night exemplify the bravery that the people who wear this badge are expected to show and the dangers that the men and women in this business face."
A native of Alabama, Officer Rogers has been a member of the Haines City Police Department since March 2018 and currently works patrol on the night shift. A graduate of Butler High School in Huntsville, Rogers first took an interest in law enforcement as an Explorer for the Huntsville Police Department. When he's not on duty, Officer Rogers enjoys playing basketball and the drums.