The Atlanta Division has selected WAGA FOX 5 News station to receive the Director's Community Leadership Award.
WAGA FOX 5 News initiated its Georgia's Most Wanted program in 1997. WAGA reporter and anchor Doug Evans took over the project in early 2005, working with photojournalist Gustavo Valdes. The program was designed to present an in-depth look at some of Georgia's more heinous crimes—including providing the victim's perspective on the crime—in order to not only report on the crime, but to elicit tips for law enforcement in an effort to further the justice process and make the community a safer place.
Georgia's Most Wanted has featured hundreds of unsolved crimes over the years, including many cold cases. Many of the victims and their families have expressed gratitude for having their stories told.
Some highlights from WAGA’s program:
- At least 14 fugitives featured on Georgia's Most Wanted have been arrested since 2005. These fugitives include murderers, bank robbers, and child molesters.
- Reports on high-profile cases have included double-murder suspect Derrick Yancey and Atlanta's Standard Bar robbery and the murder of bartender John Henderson. As part of his coverage on this last crime, WAGA's Doug Evans traveled to Baltimore to interview John's father.
- Georgia's Most Wanted was the first to report that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was taking a fresh look at evidence from the 1997 Levi Frady murder—a tragic but unsolved child abduction case. In reporting this story, Doug Evans interviewed for the first time Levi's boyhood friend, who was the last person to see him alive.
WAGA produces Georgia's Most Wanted by establishing partnerships with the many law enforcement agencies throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the state of Georgia. WAGA provides a platform for disseminating case information, sharing the perspective of law enforcement officers, and sharing the victim's perspective, all of which are critical in eliciting information and tips on behalf of law enforcement. WAGA, being the local FOX affiliate, works closely with FOX TV's America's Most Wanted and has often succeeded in getting Atlanta-area cases presented to a national audience.
By producing Georgia's Most Wanted, WAGA FOX 5 News has certainly demonstrated that it is a community leader by not only reporting on the crime but by acting as an advocate for the victim and a conduit for law enforcement.