You’ve likely seen or heard of his detective work:
The mother convicted of cooking meth and killing her toddler.
The father convicted of manslaughter after his 4-year-old son shot himself with his dad’s pistol.
The mother who pimped her teenage daughter into prostitution.
While the stories are often difficult for many to comprehend, it’s Akron police Detective Gary Shadie’s job to probe the cases deeper than anyone else.
Day in, day out. It’s what he has done for 13 years.
On Friday, the veteran detective was honored as the sixth recipient of the Ed Duvall Detective of the Year award. It is named in honor of the late police detective and is given annually by Akron Children’s Hospital and Summit County Children Services.
Shadie’s nomination goes beyond the headline-making crimes he investigated last year. He also was recognized for his past volunteer efforts around the community, including the police department’s Christmas program for kids and coaching and mentoring student-athletes at Garfield High School.
He accepted the honor during a ceremony attended by fellow officers as well as his wife, Tnetta; daughter, Kamryn, 10; and his 75-year-old mother, Janice. His son, Kendall, 14, was in school taking an exam.
A gracious winner, Shadie said any detective in his unit was worthy of the award. He said he wished no honors were given to a detective investigating crimes against children.
That would mean there would be no crime to investigate, no child harmed by a trusted grown-up. But that’s not our world. That’s Shadie’s world.
“It’s difficult, but what I try to do is be there for the kid, whoever the child victim is,” he said. “And it’s hard, especially with having children of your own. And as a parent, you have to try to separate yourself.
“But what I try to do is focus in on the child and get a resolution for that child and the family. In the cases where a child is seriously harmed or there’s a death, I want to make sure someone is held accountable for that. That’s actually what keeps me moving every day.”
Assistant Chief Charles Brown grew up in the same East Akron neighborhood and attended school with Shadie through graduating from Garfield. Brown said Shadie exemplifies the character traits that made Duvall so well-regarded in the law enforcement community.
“I think [Shadie’s] a great example of what ‘Duvy’ would say is a person who is committed to young folks and who is committed to service,” Brown said. “And Gary has always been the one to jump in and do anything he can to help someone.”
Recently retired Children’s Hospital nurse Barb Duvall (no relation to Ed Duvall) also was honored during the ceremony for her work with the CARE Center, where many child victims are first evaluated and treated.