Rookie Central Texas cop wins international award after rescuing human trafficking victims
Officer presented with the 2022 Global Medal of Freedom First Responder’s Award
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A rookie cop from a small Central Texas town has won an international first responder’s award for his role in a traffic stop that resulted in rescuing nine victims of human trafficking.
Jordan Williams, 28, has only been a police officer with the Valley Mills Police Department since December of 2021, but on July 23rd of this year, what started as a routine traffic stop for a vehicle without a headlight led to an event which casted the spotlight upon the rookie officer in, not only Texas and the U.S., but, eventually, Australia, where the International Anti-Slavery Commission is located.
Officer Williams just returned from Las Vegas where he was presented with the 2022 Global Medal of Freedom First Responder’s Award from the Commission which fights human trafficking.
He was one of only ten nominees selected from a pool of first responders worldwide, and then voted upon by the public online.
“I’m humbled to have received this award just because of the fact, there’s so many people out there in this world that are dedicated to fighting human trafficking criminals and getting them off the street,” Williams said. “I’m just glad that I was able to do my part as a small-town police officer and shed some light on these victims’ lives and help them out as best as I could.”
Valley Mills Police Chief Roy Fikac said the undocumented passengers in the car from Mexico originally were not forthcoming with details to authorities on the scene, and while officials suspected human trafficking, they didn’t have what was needed to move forward with an arrest related to it.
The chief said the passengers were unwilling to share information with officers on the scene, so Officer Williams decided to get creative in his approach to help.
“Officer Williams carried out a proactive approach, a strategic plan in this traffic stop, whereby, he was able to rescue those nine suspected victims by separating them from the transporter and putting him in jail for a simply Class C misdemeanor of no driver’s license, but, eventually, by doing so, he was able to take those nine suspected victims with the assistance of some of our other sister agencies here in Bosque County to a safe location, turn them over to federal authorities, and get them to a safe place.”
The Valley Mills Police Department posted details about the human trafficking bust on its Facebook page, which has just shy of 2,000 followers, and the story took off, reaching 125,000 people.
Williams began to get thank you cards from around Texas and the United States.
“He was receiving letters of thanks and gratitude from people as far away as Florida,” Chief Fikac said.
The department later received word that Williams was being nominated with only nine others for the first responder’s award founded by the group 9,300 miles away in Australia.
“That kind of gives you an idea of how heavy this is on the hearts of people in this nation and beyond,” Fikac said. “You discover that this is really a global problem, an epidemic of human trafficking that spreads across the planet.”
Fikac said they sent Williams to the awards ceremony this past week in Las Vegas having no idea he’d win the award with other nominees, including the Ambassador of Malaysia in Cambodia, who wrote to the Cambodian Police Chief to secure the release of 50 Malaysians being held against their will.
Williams ended up tying with Las Vegas firefighter Matthew Driscoll, who created training to help first responders recognize the signs of human trafficking victims.
The Central Texas officer, who grew up mostly in the Greater Austin area and worked in jails in Williamson and Milam County before becoming a cop, said he never thought he’d find himself in the middle of a human trafficking case.
“It was definitely something different that I don’t deal with on a traffic stop every day,” Williams said. “Having 10 people standing outside of my car and me being the only one at first was a little nerve wracking because with 10 people there and just me, anything could happen.”
Williams said he wants to thank his department, the Bosque County Sherriff’s Office, the Clifton Police Department, and The Texas Department of Public Safety for showing up the scene quickly to help.
He said he accepted the award on behalf of everyone who played a part.
“This achievement is more of a symbol of a passion that we as police officers and first responders all across the world have to help people that we can any way shape or form,” Williams said.
“He was dedicated and was able to shine a light on a small fraction of the darkness that’s generated by the epidemic of human trafficking,” Fikac said. “We’re so proud of him.”
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