Savage Police Det. Gabe Kerkaert has been honored with a prestigious FBI award for his work investigating a federal sextortion case, the city announced this week.

Kerkaert has received the 2020 FBI Director’s Award for Distinguished Service for Assisting Victims of Crime, according to the city’s press release. This award is among the FBI’s highest honors, recognizing employees and partners for outstanding contributions and exceptional service to the FBI and its mission.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized with the FBI Director’s Award,” Kerkaert said in a statement. “The magnitude of this award is humbling, and I am grateful to be part of such a great team.”

Kerkaert joined the Savage Police Department in 2014 and began serving as a detective in 2018.

The FBI recognition relates to Kerkaert’s work investigating Dylan Deling; a Fairmont man sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for a sextortion scheme involving 47 minor girls in 20 states and Canada.

According to the press release, Kerkaert’s pivotal role in the investigation included leading the search warrant executed at Deling’s home and obtaining his confession.

“As a dad, you can’t help think, what if this was my child?” Kerkaert said. “We live in a great community with low crime, but there are still predators. And even if they don’t necessarily live in our community, as part of the Savage Police Department, I am committed to keeping our residents safe and protected.”

Kerkaert is one of 15 team members recognized for their work on the case.

“I am very proud of Detective Kerkaert for his dedication and determination to bring the suspect to justice,” Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer said a statement. “This was a complicated case that required collaboration with several law enforcement entities and organizations. Detective Kerkaert’s attention to detail and focus on attaining justice for the victims is commendable.”

Kerkaert and Savage Police Det. Pat Miller were also recently honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and recognized by the American Police Hall of Fame committee.