Cathy Schoney is not fond of personal accolades.
"It's just that there's an awful lot of people around here who deserve it more than I do," the Salt Lake City police detective says.
The Salt Lake City Exchange Club believes otherwise. This past week, the group named Schoney "Officer of the Year," in part for her work on a serial rape case unsolved for more than 10 years.
The so-called Parkway Rapist victimized 13 women and had eluded police since the early 1990s. But using DNA technology and some good old-fashioned police work, Schoney linked five of the cases to Rudy Romero, a Utah prison inmate serving time for aggravated robbery.
Romero cannot be charged in the rapes because the statute of limitations has run out, but the state parole board may be able to revoke an already scheduled parole date in light of the new information.
Schoney's work on the case — refusing to accept the first "no" answer she was given and pursuing every possible avenue for prosecution — is an example of her strong work ethic, Capt. Roger Winkler said.
"It's not just on this case, it's every day with her," Winkler said. "She just does an extremely professional job. Her number one concern is the victim."
Schoney brushes off the praise with an "I'm just doing my job," but said it is the desire to help the victim that keeps her motivated and focused.
"It serves to remind you why you are here," said Schoney, who became a cop after going on a ride-along with her husband, a robbery detective for Salt Lake City.