Randall County District Attorney James Farren surprised Canyon Police Department Officer Daniel Roach with the Above and Beyond award Friday afternoon in the Randall County District Court building.
Farren became aware of Roach when he received a 10-page impact letter from the mother of Brandon and Cameron Chambers who said after their father went to prison, the family struggled and her sons faltered.
"She talks about the fact that Officer Roach has restored her confidence in police officers because Officer Roach not only worked with Brandon and others at the school, he would come to her house on the weekends -- when called upon to do so -- and spend time with Brandon, calm him down and help him remember to keep his eye on the prize," Farren read. "When some things go wrong, my kids go to Officer Roach before they go to anyone else. That's where they get help.
"He is the only male stability my sons have had. This is the only reason my son stayed in school."
Roach has been a school liaison officer at Canyon High School for two of the six years he has been with the CPD. He said he was surprised by the recognition Friday.
"It's not always easy. We've had our spats but deep down I know they're good kids. We all go through rough times ... I even went there myself," he said.
Roach initially met Brandon, the eldest of the two brothers, when he saw him do a good deed.
"A student was being restrained by her boyfriend and Brandon went to go help her. That's how I first met Brandon. So from the get-go, I knew deep down he was a good person," he said. "Then he started making mistakes. He was struggling. He went through a really rough patch. His mother asked me to come talk to him, so I'd do that.
"I was always honest with him. If he messed up I let him know and I let him know what his consequences were going to be."
When the Chambers duo were caught during a beer run, Roach decided to cite them instead of incarcerate them.
"(They were) just involved with the wrong people and decided to do something stupid. Not everybody has to go to jail. I did what I thought was appropriate," he said.
Still, Brandon wasn't scared straight after that incident; he still had hard knocks to come but eventually got there.
"I told him, you need to graduate. I will help you graduate but it's going to take some effort on your part too," Roach said.
Roach said he would help any kid he could.
He said, "I think that's what part of my job is, is to be there for them however I can. Sometimes they just need that extra push."
Brandon said he started getting in trouble when he was 17 years old.
"I felt like I was turning into my dad and I didn't like it. I was getting into trouble, bringing dip and stuff. Then I cut loose, left school for three months and it went downhill from there until he came in my life," he said.
Brandon said he had no positive male role models before Roach came into his life. He said he didn't have hope for his life and didn't set goals because he thought he was destined for the prison system. He says Roach has helped him see that lifestyle is not an option.
"He's a great man, probably the best I've ever met," he said. "Because of him I graduated (in 2018)."
Now he has a full-time job and wants to go to West Texas A&M University to study architecture next year. Before Roach changed his life, Brandon engaged in illicit behavior, so much so he racked up $700 in fines. He still spends his weekends in jail as part of his retribution.
"I have five weekends left. I'm not going to let anybody down, definitely not him," he said of Roach. "I'm going to take it as a man and do what I gotta do."
Little brother Cameron, who is now a CHS senior, admitted he was wrong about Roach when they initially met.
"It's kinda fuzzy when we first saw him because we were really bad. I would always bring my vape to school," he said. "We thought he was just another cop we're not going to like."
Cameron said Roach took an active role in his life, too.
"He would take me to his office and tell me how I'm screwing up my life," he said.
Cameron would go on to accumulate 298 hours of community service time for infractions like driving without a license and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Now he says, thanks to Roach, he too has lofty goals and wants to become a fireman.
"It'll eventually work its way out," Cameron said. "I will not (continue) down the same path. I will not go to Randall County (Jail) unless I have to sit out a ticket. I have to see where I go from here to make my next move."
An emotional Roach thanked his wife, parents and coworkers for their respective roles in his life as he accepted the award from Farren.
"He doesn't just strap on a badge and run out there to see who he can arrest ... he doesn't go out there looking for opportunity to make people's lives miserable, he goes out there to serve and protect," Farren said of Roach. "He epitomizes exactly the message that we as a community and we as a nation need to send (to) counter the left-wing message that most people hear. The real message is that these are the true heroes, these are the people who put their lives on the line and these are the people that go above and beyond because they want to help, they want to serve and they care about other people."