Detective Paul Paxton has been named the San Diego Police Department’s peace officer of the year for 2006.

Paxton, a detective with the narcotic task force, was presented with the award for his work in undercover narcotic investigations in the past year, according to the Police Officer Association website. This is the second year a detective has earned the honor.

At the awards ceremony, held at the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne read a letter from Paxton’s supervisor. Here’s an extract:

For the past year, Detective Paul Paxton has been assigned to the San Diego County Integrated Narcotic Task Force. He was the co-case agent on the DEA Priority Target and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which recently completed Operation “San Diego Hammer.”

This operation was an integral part of a long-term Federal Investigation dubbed Operation “Imperial Emperor.” The operation resulted in the dismantlement of a large international drug cartel. The cartel leader was recently arrested in Mexico.

During Operation “SD Hammer,” over $2.5 million in U.S. currency was seized, along with 130 pounds of cocaine and eight vehicles. The overall case resulted in the arrest of over 400 people nationwide, the seizure of $45.2 million in U.S. currency, 27,000 pounds of marijuana, 9,000 pounds of cocaine, 900 pounds of methamphetamine, and 11 pounds of heroin.

The Police Department has been forced recently to cut its personnel contributions to task forces and investigative units are being particularly hard-hit by the department’s recruitment and retention crunch.

WILL CARLESS

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