Maine State Police Detective Christopher Crawford, of Cornville, was named Trooper of the Year on Thursday by Maine State Police Chief Col. Robert Williams.

Williams said Crawford is a “seasoned investigator who has been involved in several high profile investigations in recent years.” Crawford played a leading role in the homicide investigation of Valerie Tieman, of Fairfield, whose body was found buried in woods last August near her home. Her husband, Luc Tieman, is awaiting trial for murder. Crawford also has worked on the embezzlement case of former Anson Tax Collector Claudia Viles, and in a theft ring targeting Walmart stores in which $250,000 in cash was seized from a suspect’s home.

Crawford is assigned to the Major Crimes Unit in Augusta and was a patrol officer for the Madison Police Department for eight years before joining the state police in 2009.

Also on Thursday, retired Detective Sgt. Dale Ames was given the Legendary Trooper award. Ames served from 1964 to 1984. For most of his 20-year career with the state police, he investigated murders as a member of the department’s former “homicide squad,” which responded to almost every homicide in the state. In retirement, Ames moved to Fort Fairfield and then recently relocated to East Machias.

Other recipients honored at the annual award ceremony were:

• Lt. Scott Ireland — Bravery, for saving the life of a teenager threatening to jump off an Augusta bridge;


• Trooper Gavin Hagar — Bravery, for using his cruiser to block a tractor-trailer going the wrong way on the Maine Turnpike;

• Sgt. Michael Zabarsky — Meritorious Service, for rescuing a woman inside a burning house in Hiram;

• Sgt. Tom Pappas, Troopers Martin Royal and Brian Hink — Special Awards of Commendation, for their role in intercepting and arresting a number of drug dealers in Oxford County importing heroin and fentanyl from Massachusetts;

• Retired Trooper Brenda Coolen — Colonel’s Award, for her role in helping to uncover a methamphetamine lab inside a Stetson home; and

• Brandon Wright, 14, from Blaine — Colonel’s Award, for assisting state police with information that led to the capture of a woman who had broken into his home while he was there.

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