Thinking like a criminal paid off for Colorado Springs police officer Scott Carnes, who received the National Police Officer of the Year Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
VFW Post 101 Commander Jeffrey Kustanbauter and CSPD Sand Creek Division Commander Kirk Wilson presented the award last month to the 22-year veteran of the Springs police force.
"I've had an amazing time with the department and I'm looking to do at least 30 years in the force," said Carnes.
A CSPD news release said Carnes is constantly at the right place, at the right time, something he chalks up to putting himself in the shoes of a criminal.
"Every time I'm on a case, I ask myself how I would act if I were a suspect," Carnes said. "I don't have some special intuition. I just try to think the way a criminal would."
Carnes and two fellow officers were credited with investigating a felony menacing case that uncovered a citywide burglary network and cleared 19 burglaries and five robbery cases, police spokeswoman Barbara Miller said.
Carnes, a Dayton, Ohio, native, saw an opening in the CSPD and applied, never looking back.
"This is a great community, and my wife and I couldn't be happier here," he said. "I've been a patrol officer my entire career and that's what I like the most - being out on the streets, with the rest of the officers, really in touch with what's going on. I wouldn't trade it for the world."
The VFW's National Law Enforcement Public Servant Award is handed out annually to an individual for outstanding service in the field. Carnes was nominated and chosen for the award without his knowledge.
"I really had no idea that I was even being considered for the award," Carnes said. "I'm humbled by the recognition because I know so many other officers who deserve it."