Police officer honored
West Jordan detective Sgt. James Bigelow was recognized as “Police Officer of the Year” by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie and Auxiliary 67. He was presented with the award April 20 during the order’s annual Community Banquet.
Each year, the Eagles pay tribute to men and women in the area who show a high level of dedication to the communities they serve. Bigelow was selected because of his proven excellence throughout his law enforcement career.
“We…honor those around us that make the community a better place for us to live,” former Auxiliary President Betty Lewis said. “We look for someone who’s had outstanding performance in their role and is still very active in their community as well as their police force.”
Margaret Thomas of the auxiliary said she nominated the West Jordan detective for this year’s award primarily because of his involvement in the Sierra Newbold murder investigation.
“I really was impressed with his work on that case,” Thomas said. “He is really a remarkable person and he’s highly looked up to by the whole department.”
Bigelow, however, was quick to give credit to his fellow officers for their contributions to the case.
“Personally, I don’t really feel like I deserved [the award],” he said. “This whole investigation was a team thing. I’m honored, but I wish the rest of my guys could have been recognized as well.”
On June 27, 2012, the body of the 6-year-old was found in a canal near her home. She had been taken from her bed by a stranger during the night.
In the days following the young girl’s murder, Bigelow and his team of investigators worked tirelessly to piece together the evidence. Following the capture of Terry Black, 41, in connection with the case, Bigelow was praised extensively for his remarkable police work.
“James is an outstanding officer,” Police Chief Doug Diamond said. “He’s very passionate about doing the right thing and he goes above and beyond.”
Three days after Sierra’s body was discovered, police apprehended Black on suspected robbery charges. Bigelow heard the call come across his radio and felt strongly about being on the scene.
“James started looking at this guy and noticing certain things about him, that he was very dirty and he started putting two and two together,” Diamond said. “Eventually he put all of the pieces together to say this is the guy that committed the murder”
Bigelow was also recognized during the banquet for his accomplishments as a Military Police Officer in the Marines, his graduation with honors from the police academy and his numerous other awards and accolades, including 2007 Fraternal Order of Police “Detective of the Year.”