It was a big night for the men and women who help protect and serve the scenic city at the Chattanooga Police Department's annual awards ceremony. 

Officers, civilian employees, and community and law enforcement partners were recognized for their dedication to making Chattanooga a safer place to live.

Among the award recipients were CPD's Special Victims Unit, Crime Scene Unit, and Traffic Unit. 

Chief Fred Fletcher honored the three units for their continuous efforts during and after the Woodmore bus crash that killed six children. 

"To say that this is a tragedy and what you hope to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience is not satisfactory. As I helped serve the men and women sworn and not sworn who were serving the community in the immediate and long-term aftermath, I observed people do things that nobody should be asked to do," said Fletcher. 

CPD traffic investigator, Joe Warren, was one of the many officers that responded to the bus crash. He said it was a nightmare he relives almost everyday; one he shared with Fletcher. 

"Quite frankly he was there with us, shedding tears at the same time. He recognized the heartache, the trouble and the difficulty of what we were involved in doing," said Warren. "Just the simple process of picking up little kids shoes and backpacks and books all that stuff is just a very difficult task for all of us because everybody in our traffic unit are parents." 

After three years with the force, Chief Fletcher will soon say goodbye, but he says he knows the city and police department will be left in good hands. 

"I got to essentially finish my time here at the Chattanooga Police Department doing what I like the best, which is recognizing the sacrifice, the heroics and the service of the men and women of the police department and our partners of the community," said Fletcher. "To see tomorrow's leader both receiving awards to supporting them in the audience standing on stage I am certain that the Chattanooga Police Department is going to do great things." 

Fletcher will retire on July 6th. 

Assistant chief Tracy Arnold was also awarded the "Distinguished Legacy Award," or the "Tracy Arnold award" according to Fletcher. 

The accolade was created this year in honor of Arnold.  

Arnold has 30 years of service in the Chattanooga Police Department under his belt. For the last three years, he has been the assistant chief for community relations. Last month, Arnold announced he will retire on July 18.