TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office recognized the best of the best in law enforcement over the last year, presenting an important newly-named award for the first time.
Over the last year, many officers were honored in serving their county. Smith County believes their deputies should always show integrity, professionalism, trust, fairness and excellence.
Many deputies like patrol deputy, John McLean were recognized. He received an old award with a new name, The “Lorenzo Bustos Memorial Peace Officer, Rookie of the Year Award.”
The award honored Deputy Lorenzo Bustos who was killed in the line of duty while training in July of 2022.
“I just hope that I do this award justice,” said John McLean.
McLean said he was shocked to get the award.
“I feel very honored, Bustos was highly looked up to by everybody on shift and everybody in the department so being able to receive this award tonight is an honor,” said McLean.
The award acknowledges McLean’s exemplary work in the field.
After a high-speed chase, he had to run after a suspect. McLean was shot at from a foot away but still got his guy.
“I’m going to go out like I’ve been doing and I’m gonna continue working hard and try to make everything like I should and do well,” said McLean.
Gloria Bustos is still wrapping her head around having an award in her husband’s honor.
“It’s emotional, not how we anticipated well the way he anticipated receiving an award… we feel very honored,” said Gloria Bustos, Lorenzo Bustos‘ wife.
She reminisces often about her husband’s character and how much he wanted this job.
“He was a big-hearted, kind person always wanting to help the community and everyone and always there for everyone and just a great person,” said Bustos.
McLean hopes that when he puts on his badge every day, he continues to be the man that earned this award.
Doing what’s right when no one is looking even though he’s looking down on me I gonna do what I need to do,” said McLean.
For years to come, through this memorial award, the entire force will always remember Lorenzo Bustos and the lives he’s changed.
“Hopefully to make him proud and I know he’s looking down on each and every one of us being protective over us, so I hope everything I do reflects on him,” said McLean.
“He gave the ultimate sacrifice and he earned this,” said Gloria Bustos.
Achievement awards were given out to the patrol officers who were by Lorenzo’s side. His wife thanked the entire community for their messages and continued support.