Lyons named ‘Top Cop’

Published 11:40 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

Investigator Jason E. “Jake” Lyons has been tapped as Suffolk’s “Top Cop.”

The 7-year veteran of the Suffolk Police Department was named the city’s Top Cop during the 11th annual Hampton Roads Crime Line dinner held in Newport News last week.

Lyons is a member of the Special Investigations Unit and is primarily tasked with taking drug dealers off the streets.

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“The narcotics game is fast,” he said. “If you don’t keep moving, you don’t keep up, and if you don’t keep up, you don’t arrest bad guys.”

Lyons got into police work because of a long line of law enforcement officers in his family, he said. He started at a police department in New England and worked there a year or two before moving to Suffolk.

He’s also spent nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, doing three tours in the Middle East.

He started out on the streets of Suffolk, but soon moved to the department’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team, the gang unit. From there, he moved to the Special Investigations Unit about a year ago.

In the last year alone, Lyons has worked major cases that resulted in $2,000 worth of heroin, two pounds of marijuana, more than $55,000 in ill-gotten cash and several firearms being taken off the streets of Suffolk. The heroin bust was one of the largest in the department’s history.

“Heroin is an especially nasty drug, in my opinion,” he said. “It leads to all sorts of crimes.”

Despite the major accomplishments of the past year, Lyons says his biggest challenge is time.

“There’s just not enough time in the day to effectively investigate each and every person that needs investigating,” he said, noting that he usually picks the dealers with the largest client bases and those who also carry weapons. “It’s a constant balance of priorities and getting the most community impact with the time that I have.”

Lyons says his strength is being a “people person.”

“I network well with other law enforcement agencies and also with the civilians, whether it be the citizens or the criminal element,” he said. “[The criminals] know me. They know I’m going to tell them the truth.”

The most rewarding part for him, Lyons said, is when he’s able to remove a drug dealer from a house, street or community and then return to see positive things start to flourish.

“It is an honor to recognize such an officer as Jake Lyons for his inexhaustible work ethic and commitment to keeping the citizens of Suffolk safe from drug dealers and violent criminals,” Chief Thomas Bennett said.

But Lyons deflects the praise, saying he learned a lot from Lt. J.D. Buie and Maj. Stephanie Burch. He also credits his peers on the Special Investigations Unit with helping him crack the large cases.

“All of my accolades really should be shared with my team,” he sad. “If it was not for everyone’s piece of the pie, it wouldn’t come together.”