St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara presents quarterly awards Thursday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m.
Thursday at 10 a.m., St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will present life saving and other awards at St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office administrative headquarters, 4700 West Midway Road, Fort Pierce.
Here are the recipients of the awards presented recently by Sheriff Mascara:
Civilian of the Quarter: Sharon Plant Detective of the Quarter: Steve Sessoms Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Corey Todd Detention Supervisor of the Quarter: Doug Laury Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: James Adams Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Robert Lee Supervisor of the Quarter: Jamie Wills Volunteer of the Quarter: John Williams
Supervisor of the 2nd Quarter: Charlie Scavuzzo Longevity Awards (July 1973 – September 2008) 25 years: Bob Soesbe 20 years: Earl Ritzline, Steve Barker 15 years: Chris Cicio, Charlie Scavuzzo, Rich Ziarkowski
Combat Cross: Brian Rhodes
Life Saving: James Adams, Robin Arce, Supreet Cheema, Jim DeFonzo, Pat Ivey, Chris Jadin, Sooner Means, Todd Meslin, Mike Monahan, Brian Rhodes, Brian Scribner, Sheila Taylor, Richard Williams
Life Saving (citizenry): Sidney Albritton, Wes Carlton, David Crowe, Rodney Hall, Diane and James Pulliam, Charlie Wilkenson
Meritorious Service: Craig Ortman, Keith Pearson
Commendation: Gary Deshon, Shirley Lindstadt, Tracy Gillespie, Chris Gordineer, Andy McIntosh, Christian Nielsen, David Snow, Don Spivey, Leland Squires, Tina Weikert, Jennie Wren
Exceptional Duty: Bucky Walters
Distinguished Service Award (citizenry): Paul Berg, Carr Lee March, Avery McGrath, Samantha Reed
Here are the details:
Detention Deputy of the Quarter Corey Todd
Deputy Corey Todd presented an idea that relieved the amount of inmates being brought through booking that are scheduled for outside transports. His idea was to have a fence installed outside the booking area with an electrical gate where inmates could be loaded and off loaded. He also found some old parking stops and placed them so all vehicles could be backed up without the possibility of hitting the fence. We also use this area to store out vehicles so more parking can be used by deputies working inside the jail.
Detention Supervisor of the Quarter Doug Laury
Sergeant Doug Laury leads our transportation unit and has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office. During this quarter, the transportation unit successfully transported over 6,000 inmates driving over 30,000 miles. As extraordinary as this sounds, factor in the planning involved in transporting male, female, juvenile, high risk, medium custody, and misdemeanor inmates to different parts of Florida while keeping them separate at all times.
Sergeant Laury has also proven to be thorough and pays attention to every detail. Due to his hard work and knowledge of the courts and warrant procedures, he halted two high security transports.
The first incident involved a female who was brought to our county on a warrant. When the warrant could not be found in our system, Sergeant Laury was called at 1:00 a.m. to transport the female back to the Tampa area and release her. When Sergeant Laury arrived, he reviewed the transport order and found the error. He made the necessary contacts to correct the warrant and avoided the release of a high risk fugitive. The female was not transported and is currently awaiting trial.
The second incident involved the transport of a high risk inmate charged with murder. After Sergeant Laury received the order, he questioned the safety of transport. The inmate was to be taken to an area that had no security measures in place. Knowing this transport would cause safety and security concerns, Sergeant Laury used the resources available to him to stop the transport and derail a potentially dangerous assignment. Sergeant Laury has proven to be an asset to the Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Detention.
Life Saving Award Sheila Taylor and Robin Arce
On Sept. 1, Deputy Sheila Taylor and Deputy Robin Arce were working intake. They were alerted by a snoring noise. An inmate was in the holding cell attempting to kill himself by tightly tying his shoelace around his neck. The snoring noise was apparently caused by his airway being cut off. Deputies Taylor and Arce quickly reacted together, removing the shoestring from his neck and took him out of the cell where he could be secured and prevented from further self injury. Had it not been for the alertness of these two deputies, the inmate could have expired.
Life Saving Sooner Means
On August 5, 2008, Deputy Sooner Means noted a problem with an inmate that was having a severe allergic reaction. The inmate was having difficulty breaking and medical was notified. The medical staff responded that they would be down to see the inmate after the report was received.
Deputy Means knew the gravity of the situation and took the initiative to bring the inmate to medical herself, regardless of the instruction to wait. Had Deputy Means not brought the inmate immediately to medical for treatment, the inmate would have died. Deputy Means is commended for her astute observation and initiative to bring a positive end to a negative situation.
Commendation Tracy Gillespie
Deputy Tracy Gillespie made a suggestion to have magnetic placards incorporated in the medical unit to identify special precautions, special needs of inmates, and segregation inmates. These placards are generic enough to keep inmates from deciphering the true meaning, but specific enough to warn all staff. The placards identify mentally ill/suicidal inmates, house alone, high risk – inmate required to have two deputies and a supervisor to move, juvenile inmate and other conditions.
These placards have made it less confusing to all staff of special precautions and treatment needed to be used when dealing with these specific inmates. Besides the clarity, the placards provide safety which was the foremost thought of by Deputy Gillespie. Her suggestion has made this a safer place to work for everyone.
Commendation Chris Gordineer, David Snow, Jennie Wren
On September 10, Deputy Jennie Wren was assigned to inmate visitation. During this assignment, she observed a female visitor who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the lobby. Patrol Deputies Chris Gordineer and David Snow were at the jail working on the intoxilyzer room and were summoned to the lobby.
Deputy Snow recognized the many indicators that suggested the person to be under the influence of narcotics. Due to the subject being in the confines of a secured facility, a search of her person and property revealed she was carrying 60 assorted tablets of oxycodone, methadone, and alprazolam. As a result of all three deputies, the visitor was charged and booked into the facility for introduction and trafficking of a controlled substance.
Commendation Gary Deshon
On September 3, Deputy Gary Deshon was assigned to the medical unit. The night started off with multiple unruly inmates, but was soon quelled by Deputy Deshon. His CIT abilities made the difference between having to go hands on with four mentally challenged inmates plus a high risk inmate and gaining compliance from all inmates.
Pat Alexander, director of nursing, wrote a letter stating how impressed and thankful she was to have Deputy Deshon working in medical that night. She described Deputy Deshon as possessing superior interpersonal skills, professionalism, and a calm demeanor. Within a couple of hours after taking over the post in medical, Deputy Deshon had the inmates calmed down and opened communication barriers.
Civilian of the Quarter Sharon Plant
During this past quarter, Sharon Plant has been assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit and has single-handedly processed the work of the worthless check unit. This work is normally handled by two people.
Here are the highlights of Ms. Plant’s activities this quarter:
- She received 48 felony cases with 53 felony checks totaling $74,119.36 and cleared 49 felony cases with 17 felony arrests and $28,305.05 recovered in restitution. - She received 279 misdemeanor cases with 363 misdemeanor checks totaling $23,566.94, and she cleared 125 misdemeanor cases with 51 arrests recovering $16,953.46 in restitution. - Ms. Plant also appeared in court for 22 hours, processed 20 felony warrants, 98 misdemeanor warrants and received $2,886 in diversion fees.
As you see from the highlights, Sharon handles a tremendous case load. She brings credit to her unit and the Office.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter Jim Adams
Deputy Jim Adams performance this quarter was outstanding. Having flown 50 missions this quarter, ranging from routine patrol to in progress felony responses and everything in between. These missions were highlighted by apprehending 27 suspects and the rescue of two attempted suicide victims.
One example of a mission was on July 22 Deputy Adams responded to assist Fort Pierce Police Department with a burglary in progress on Ponce Deleon Prado. It involved the theft of several firearms. While conducting an area search, he noticed two females at a residence observing the aircraft and behaving suspiciously. When Fort Pierce Police Department K9 lost the track and they wanted to break down the perimeter ending the search, Deputy Adams was persistent in insisting they investigate the suspicious residence.
The officer subsequently located clothing evidence behind the residence which then led to four suspects being apprehended.
This was only one example Deputy Adams overall performance this quarter.
Detective of the Quarter Steve Sessoms
During this quarter Detective Steve Sessoms has been extremely productive, he was assigned and initiated 101 cases. He has a 90 percent clearance rate and is continually coming up with new ideas in an attempt to combat drug diversion crimes.
Detective Sessoms participated in the investigations of three pharmacies which were robbed at gun point for roxicodone medication. Although these robberies occurred outside our jurisdiction, Detective Sessoms chose to get involved. He circulated flyers, obtained videos and funneled information to investigating agencies. Fortunately, the suspect was caught.
Detective Sessoms has trained pharmacists and employees on how to handle armed robberies and the proper procedure when dealing with drug addicted assailants. This training ensures the safety of the employees and hopefully assists them in indentifying possible threats before the crime occurs.
These are just two examples of Detective Sessoms diligence to his job. He gives 110 percent. Thank you for a job well done.
Volunteer of the Quarter John Williams
John Williams has unselfishly devoted 662 hours since January 2004 to the Citizens Observation Patrol. He currently patrols with our park patrol section of the COP. We can count on John every Monday to act as eyes and ears for the Sheriff’s Office reporting suspicious activities at our parks within the county. We thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office and the Citizens Observation Patrol.
Combat Cross: Brian Rhodes Life Saving: Chris Jadin and Todd Meslin
On June 22, Deputy Meslin responded to a possible burglary in progress. After meeting with the complainant, it was learned that a suspect fled the rear of the business and crossed a fence entering Spanish Lakes Riverfront.
Deputy Meslin checked the fence line and observed a vehicle traveling parallel to the Business Park and advised responding units. Deputies Brian Rhodes and Chris Jadin responded. The vehicle stopped in the side yard of one of the residences. On foot, the suspect proceeded towards the back porch of the residence. Deputies Rhodes and Jadin observed a large fixed-blade knife in the suspect’s hand.
Both deputies ordered the suspect several times to drop the knife. The suspect kept telling the deputies to shoot him. The suspect continued to move up the stairs to the residence. Deputy Rhodes fired his pistol at the suspect. It was learned that the disturbance was between the suspect and the ex-girlfriend. It was believed that the suspect was going to harm the ex-girlfriend.
Immediately after the suspect was shot, Deputies Jadin and Meslin administered first aid until rescue arrived.
Life Saving Brian Scribner Brian Rhodes
On August 16, a call for a shooting in Sheraton Plaza was received. Dispatch advised a male received a gunshot wound to the chest. Lt. Brian Scribner and Deputy Brian Rhodes were the first to arrive.
They discovered the victim on his back at the edge of the driveway with a bystander attempting to perform CPR. Without hesitation, they started CPR. While starting the CPR procedures, they questioned the crowd for suspect information. They performed CPR for several minutes until rescue arrived.
Lt. Scribner and Deputy Rhodes were exposed to a great amount of the victim’s blood. Armed only with rubber gloves and a medical mask to assist with rescue breaking they continued without hesitation to save the victim. Although the victim did succumb to his injuries, both Lt. Scribner and Deputy Rhodes did everything in their power to save his life.
Brian Scribner Jim DeFonzo Jim Adams Brian Rhodes Richard Williams
On August 28, Deputy Brian Rhodes responded to an address off Los Lagos Drive regarding a female who was going to kill herself. The female jumped off a dock into the St. Lucie River.
While Deputy Jim Adams and FLIR Operator Richard Williams searched the darkness, the deputies on land acquired a boat and launched it into the river. Lt. Brian Scribner steered the boat while Sgt. Jim DeFonzo and Deputy Brian Rhodes kept a close lookout. The search last around two hours then Deputies Adams and Williams spotted the female clinging to some foliage.
Lt. Scribner maneuvered the vessel alongside the victim while Sgt. DeFonzo and Deputy Rhodes pulled the intoxicated, suicidal female to safety.
Thanks to everyone’s effort her suicide attempt was unsuccessful.
Life Saving Supreet Cheema
On August 27, Deputy Supreet Cheema responded to a rescue call in the Lakewood Park area. Dispatch advised there was a two month old baby not breathing.
Deputy Cheema observed the baby barely breathing and gasping for air. She performed CPR on the baby until rescue responded. The baby was transported to Lawnwood Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.
It was determined at a later date that the baby’s death was actually a homicide.
Craig Ortman Keith Pearson
Mike Monahan Pat Ivey David Crowe Rodney Hall Diane Pulliam James Pulliam
Sidney Albritton Wes Carlton Charlie Wilkenson Bucky Walters
On August 20, the day after the brunt of Tropical Storm Fay, dispatch received a call that three girls had capsized their canoe in Ten Mile Creek. The caller said the current was very strong and the girls and their dog were clinging to a tree screaming for help.
Deputy Keith Pearson was the first on the scene when he saw Diane Pulliam pointing at the river in the direction of heavy tree foliage approximately 150 yards from shore. James Pulliam was swimming against the tide toward the foliage and was able to reach the girls and comfort them until rescue could be executed. James Pulliam had rescued one of the girls earlier by swimming out and tied a rope around her while Diane Pulliam pulled the girl to safety.
Deputy Pearson and Deputy Ortman carried a canoe to the river while others looked for oars. Using shovels as paddles they started downstream. James Pulliam was able to toss the dog into the canoe. They had a long rope/ring float in the canoe and tried to get the float to the girls. Unfortunately, the girls were terrified and couldn’t catch it.
That is when they heard a very loud roar. It was Deputy Pat Ivey in an airboat operated by Rodney Hall and Major Mike Monahan in another airboat operated by David Crowe. The airboats set up adjacent to each other almost as if they were a safety net trapping the current. The deputies in the canoe kept the rope tight and one by one each girl was brought to safety. As a result, three young girls and a dog were rescued from drowning.
There were many similar stories after Tropical Storm Fay’s torrential downpour. Wes Carlton, Sidney Albritton, Charlie Wilkenson, and Bucky Walters came to our aid by providing their airboats and time to assist us with the many search and rescue efforts. Each of these men helped save the lives of many residents who were in flooded neighborhoods.
Commendation Christian Nielsen
It was the first night of Tropical Storm Fay and one elderly resident found herself trapped at home in waist high water hoping someone would come to her rescue. It was 2:00 a.m., pitch dark, and raining. Deputy Nielsen from the Marin Unit was held over to assist the midnight shift. Deputy Nielsen and a Port St. Lucie police officer got aboard a boat and started searching for the woman’s home. Navigating through a wooded neighborhood, with unknown submerged obstacles, in the rain, and pitch black is quite different than running down the intra-coastal waterway.
There was a half dozen flood homes and none had visible house numbers. They went from house to house knocking on doors. Apparently, all of the other residents evacuated their homes. Around 3:30 a.m. they found the stranded elderly lady. After assisting her aboard, along with her two dogs and cat, all were rescued and taken to a special needs shelter.
Even after working 13 hours straight, Deputy Nielsen demonstrated confidence and efficiency.
Andy McIntosh Don Spivey Shirley Lindstadt Leland Squires Tina Weikert
Prior to a hurricane, we begin setting up the command post. Typically, a tropical storm does not require the opening of the command post. Not so with Tropical Storm Fay. With little advanced notice and preparation, the command post was operational. These sergeants and deputies had to hit the ground running.
They maintained an activity log to record problems encountered and actions taken to address those problems. Road closures were recorded by zone, location, and condition. Damage assessment reports were coming in about residences that were flooded which they kept track of as well. With their logs, watch commanders could develop an operational plan for the upcoming shift.
The watch commanders also assessed problems and then returned to the command post to update the logs regarding street closures, etc. The command post could track personnel to make sure all were safe and accounted for. The mileage for each person deployed becomes an important bit of information for FEMA reimbursement. The command center was responsible for accounting of this mileage and providing finance with a detailed report.
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter Robert Lee
Master Deputy Lee is assigned to the Samuel Gaines Academy. He came in contact with a student that felt comfortable enough with Master Deputy Lee that he told him a female gang member had a handgun on campus and it was in her book bag. Master Deputy Lee took immediate action and advised key school administrators that he was looking for the female student.
As this was at dismissal time and students were spread all over the campus loading on buses and vehicles, a very chaotic situation, Deputy Lee remained calm as the student was located on campus. As the administrator notified Master Deputy Lee that the student was located, other students swarmed the administrator and the student. The book bag containing the gun was removed by someone and carried off.
Five students were arrested for knowing or having the weapon on the campus. His investigation went into the evening as he went to every home to locate the handgun and to notify the parents of the involved students. A tip came in from Crime Stoppers on the location of the suspect. With the arrest of this final suspect, his investigation was completed.
In addition, he volunteers several hours each week to coach little league baseball and is a member of their board. He also is an advocate of the F-H activities in our county where his children and he are active members. Master Deputy Robert Lee exemplifies a positive outlook and is an invaluable member of the unit.
Administration/Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Quarter Jamie Wills
Sgt. Jamie Wills has been assigned as a school resource supervisor for the past three years. He currently supervises 19 school resource deputies, this includes 3 Fort Pierce Police Department SRDs. The addition of Fort Pierce to the SRD is a first in the history of St. Lucie County.
Sgt. Willis is responsible for the following:
- Monthly juvenile warrant sweeps done by the SRDs. - Reviewing all gang intelligence produced by the S.O. - Reviewing and processing gang F.I. cards. - Coordinating the afterschool gang contacts with parents of identified gang members. - GAIN coordinator for the SO. This is a Treasure Coast task force for gang sharing and reviewing of gang activity on a monthly basis. - GREAT coordinator for instruction for all 6th graders this includes all K-8 and middle schools in the county. Enters Power Details (outside overtime details) for all details in north county which includes football, basketball, volleyball, soccer games, dances, etc.
This is only a small sampling of what he accomplishes. After hours, Sgt. Willis is an active participant and volunteers as a coach for little league baseball in Fort Pierce. He is a mentor to the children in our community after hours with this program.
Distinguished Service Award Samantha Reed
On July 11, 2008, Samantha Reed noticed someone near her neighbors residence who was not at home at the time. She observed two males loading the neighbors aluminum boat on their vehicle.
Samantha immediately called 911 and reported the incident. When Deputy Cooke arrived, she gave him the description of the vehicle. Approximately 30 minutes later, Deputy Cooke found a vehicle matching Ms. Reeds description. The vehicle was stopped and Ms. Reed was asked to respond to the scene to identify the vehicle. Once identified by her, the suspects were interviewed by detectives. The suspects admitted to taking the boat as well as possibly committing two other crimes involving stolen property.
Because of Samantha Reed’s decision to get involved, she assisted in recovering the stolen boat, the arrest of two suspects, and possibly solving two other crimes. Thank you for taking that extra step.
Distinguished Service Award Carr Lee March
On June 10, Carr Lee March called 911 regarding her best friend, Lucille, who lives in Palm Grove. Lucille had not been seen in a day and her newspaper had not been taken in. Deputy Sotomayor and Deputy Devaney responded to Lucilles home. They found an open window and entered the residence. The deputies found Lucille on the garage floor possibly suffering from a stroke. Thanks to Carr Lees concern and willingness to get involved, she saved her friends life.
Distinguished Service Award Paul Berg
On August 6, a retired Miami Dade police officer placed a fanny pack on the top of his vehicle and accidentally drove off with the item on the hood of the vehicle. Inside the fanny pack was his 30 caliber firearm and retirement badge. That same day, Mr. Berg found a fanny pack lying on the corner near his home and called 911. All items in the bag were still in tact and returned to the officer.
Thanks to his diligence, the property was returned to the owner.
Distinguished Service Award Avery McGrath
On October 2, Master Deputy Robert Lee was assigned at the Samuel Gaines Academy. He received information from Avery McGrath, a student at the school, about another student (Crista Wilson) who had a gun on campus. Due to his bravery and willingness to tell, Crista Wilson was arrested along with four other students involved.
The mind set of most kids is that they are either scared to report any crimes for fear of being labeled a snitch or the fear of retaliation. As we know, there are always a few exceptions where young people show great resolve and bravery and this was demonstrated by Avery. Averys response is exactly what most parents, school staff, and law enforcement can hope for.
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