Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FBI 2009 Director’s Community Leadership Award for Atlanta

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Gregory Jones, FBI Atlanta, presented today the Director’s Award for Community Leadership for 2009 to WAGA Fox 5 News for its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program. Awards were also presented to that production’s reporter, Doug Evans, its photographer Gustavo Valdes, and it’s Executive Producer Leslie Duffield.

WAGA FOX 5 News initiated its “Georgia’s Most Wanted” program in 1997. WAGA Reporter/Anchor Doug Evans took over the project in early 2005. The program was designed to give a more in depth look at some of Georgia’s more heinous crimes, to include the victim’s perspective on the crime, in order to not only report the crime, but to elicit tips for law enforcement in an effort to further the justice process and, in the process, make the community in which they serve a better, safer place. “Georgia’s Most Wanted” has featured hundreds of unsolved crimes over the years, including many cold cases. Many of the victims and their families have expressed gratitude for having their stories told.

Some highlights:

* At least 14 fugitives featured on “Georgia’s Most Wanted” have been arrested since '05. These fugitives include murderers, bank robbers and child molesters.
* Reports on high profile cases including double murder suspect Derrick Yancey and Atlanta's Standard Bar robbery and the murder of bartender John Henderson. As part of his coverage on this story, WAGA’s Doug Evans traveled to Baltimore to interview John's father.
* Georgia’s Most Wanted was the first to report that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was taking a fresh look at evidence in the 1997 Levi Frady murder case, a tragic but unsolved child abduction case. For the story, Doug Evans interviewed for the first time, Levi's boyhood friend and the last person to see him alive.

WAGA’s approach to the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted” is one of partnership with the many law enforcement agencies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the State of Georgia. WAGA willingly provides the much needed platform to disseminate to the public the case information, the law enforcement officer’s perspective on the crime, as well as the victim’s perspective, all of which are critical in eliciting information and tips on behalf of law enforcement. WAGA, being the local Fox affiliate, works closely with Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” and has often been an advocate for getting Atlanta area cases presented to a national audience.

With the production of “Georgia’s Most Wanted”, WAGA Fox 5 News has certainly demonstrated that it is a community leader by not only reporting the crime but by being an advocate for the victim and a conduit for law enforcement.

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