St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara will give life saving, other awards at Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., ceremony at Sheriff’s Office headquarters
On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will present a number of life saving and other awards. The ceremony will take place at Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 4700 West Midway Road, Fort Pierce.
Here are the awards:
Civilian of the Quarter: Debra McKenna Detective of the Quarter: Wes Harbin Detention Civilian of the Quarter: Debra Wright Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Jason Wheeler Detention Supervisor of the Quarte: Lynn Ann Esposito-Knight Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Yulieth Ortiz Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Cynthia Jones Supervisor of the 3rd Quarter: Charlie Scavuzzo Volunteer of the Quarter: Shamera Permann
Administrative Deputy of the Year: Leland Squires Civilian of the Year: Sharon Plant Detective of the Year: Steve Sessoms Detention Civilian of the Year: Debra Wright Detention Deputy of the Year: Tracy Matteson Detention Supervisor of the Year Doug Laury Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year: Jimmy Adams Patrol Support Deputy of the Year: Cynthia Jones Supervisor of the Year: Charlie Scavuzzo Volunteer of the Year: Shamera Permann
Longevity Awards (October 1973 - December 2008)
25 years: Cynthia Jones, Sidney Long 20 years: Ron Cohron, Francisco Del Rosario, Bill Radke, Shelia Randazzo 15 years: Lounita McDougald 10 years: Sal Anicito, Billy Chapman, Todd Hogan, Bob Margerum, Darrel Murphy, Kevin Perkins, Corey Todd, Matt Woods
Life Saving: Jerry Rothman, Jimmy Adams, Shawn Sullivan
Life Saving (citizenry) : Scott Abbate, Lee Brantly, Cory Hebel, Peter Meristic, Petr (PJ) Spicka, Jr., Brian Tolson
Commendation: Patricia Becker
Unit Citation: Driver Training and Instructional Cadre:Adam Goodner, Ed Lebeau, Tad Leroy, Paul McNesky, Gary Morales, Efrem Neal, Brian Rhodes, David Smith, Drew Soesbe, Matt Woods
Unit Citation: Civil Execution Unit:Sgt. Mary Lou Nickel, Sgt. Don Spivey, George Gordon, Vince Gosden, Larry Hardiman, Marc Liskin, Vicki Mahar, Greg Power, Ed Rinaldo, Buddy Ward, Mike Watkins, Jack Willis, Reggie Wittey
Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year: Gary DeShon
Distinguished Service Award (citizenry) : Jeffrey Golden
Here are the details:
Living Saving: Brian Tolson and Scott Abbate
On October 14, 2008, 911 received a call from county employees, Brian Tolson and Scott Abbate, about a male attempting to commit suicide. They advised 911 that the male had been cut down from a tree but became combative when the county employees cut the noose from his neck.
Our investigation revealed that these two men spotted a suspicious vehicle on the side of the road. When they checked the vehicle, they found an apparent suicide note directing anyone finding the vehicle to “look for the victim in the trees”. They were able to locate and rescue the person as he was hanging from a tree by a noose.
If it had not been for the brave and expedient effort on the part of Brian and Scott, this person would have certainly died before emergency personnel could arrive and locate the victim.
Life Saving: Lee Brantly, Cory Hebel, and Peter Meristic
I would like to recognize Lee Brantly, Cory Hebel, and Peter Meristic. The quick thinking, selflessness, and heroism from these three individuals were vital in sustaining a life.
On January 4, 2009, a Chevy was traveling south on 25th Street approaching the intersection of Cortez Blvd. At the same time, Coleen Myles was stopped facing east at the intersection of Cortez and 25th Street. Ms. Myles failed to observe the Chevy’s approach and entered the intersection. The collision caused Ms. Myles’s vehicle to spin counter-clockwise while continuing to travel eastbound. Her vehicle struck the curb, then the guardrail, causing it to roll over. The vehicle came to a final rest upside down and submerged in the canal.
Lee Brantly, Cory Hebel, and Peter Meristic and three unknown subjects jumped into waist-deep, 50 degree water. Using their collective strength, they rolled Ms. Myles’s vehicle onto the driver side. Knowing that a driver was still inside the vehicle and underwater, Lee and Cory climbed up and into the partially submerged vehicle. Peter stayed with the other subjects to help stabilize the vehicle. Lee and Cory unbuckled Ms. Myles and pulled her out of the water. Fire/Rescue arrived on scene and secured the vehicle.
Had it not been for Lee, Cory, and Peter’s quick thinking and selflessness Ms. Myles may not be alive today.
Life Saving: Petr (P.J.) Spicka, Jr.
On February 6, Deputy Hutchinson was dispatched to a residence regarding an unconscious person. The caller advised dispatch of his name, that he was eight years old, and that his mother was lying on the floor in the kitchen and was unresponsive. Upon arriving at the scene, Rescue advised the mother was now conscious and had an epileptic seizure. The mother was transported to the hospital for further evaluation.
PJ then called his dad to let him know what had happened. PJ and his mother had spoken about what to do in case of an emergency. If it were not for PJ’s amazing display of composure and the ability to act in the proper fashion, his mother may not have survived this ordeal. PJ’s actions directly saved the life of his mother.
Life Saving: Jerry Rothman
On November 14, 2008, while working a detail at the rodeo a woman was eating a hamburger and began choking. She could not talk, her face was changing color. She frantically approached deputies with one hand grasping her throat (the universal sign that she was chocking and needed help). Immediately and quickly reacting, Lieutenant Rothman grasped her by the shoulders, spun her around, and performed the Heimlick maneuver, dislodging two chunks of hamburger which were blocking her airway. Because of his quick actions, her life was saved.
Life Saving: Jimmy Adams and Shawn Sullivan
On December 26, 2008, Mr. Bruce Strunk did not return to his place of business after completing some banking. His family became concerned and started searching for him.
After a few hours, his vehicle was found abandoned at Johns Brooks Park. Because Mr. Strunk is an avid surfer, waterborne search was initiated. Nearing darkness and for safety reasons, the search was suspended except for ground units. During the day search, the Aviation Unit had flown for 4.5 overhead while ground units searched all accessible areas on the beach and mosquito impoundment areas.
Around 8:50 p.m. Deputies Adams and Sullivan started a FLIR search grid outward from the parking area at the park. At 9:10 p.m. they located Mr. Strunk. Mr. Strunk had attempted suicide and was secreted in bushes so dense that he had not been seen by either ground or airborne searches. He was transported by resuce to St. Mary’s Hospital where he has since recovered.
Had it not been for the pilots determination, Mr. Strunk would possibly have expired as he had bled badly from his wounds, was dehydrated, and entering into shock.
The family was overwhelmed at the efforts we put forth toward his recovery.
Distinguished Service Award: Jeffrey Golden
On November 22 at 1:30 a.m. Deputy Meslin stopped a vehicle occupied by three male subjects in a Walgreen’s parking lot. Deputy Meslin stopped the vehicle because one of the subject’s exited the vehicle and appeared to be disturbed with the other occupants of the vehicle. Attempting to obtain identification from the three subjects, one of them, John Eson, ran east away from the deputy. Deputy Meslin attempted to take custody of Eson who began to actively resist. While Eson was resisting, Mr. Jeffrey Golden stopped and asked the deputy if he could help. Deputy Meslin accepted his offer and between the two of them they were able to restrain Eson. Even after being handcuffed, Eson still tried to kick the deputy.
We would like to commend Mr. Golden for his assistance during this incident and thank him for his help.
Civilian of the Quarter: Debra McKenna
Although she has been assigned to Criminal Investigations for a short time, Debra McKenna has quickly become an asset to the division. Debra’s primary assignment is answering the phones and working the reception area. However, she always offers to help others with tasks not necessarily related to her job function. On a daily basis, she enters case assignments into the computer and distributes the copies of the reports to the detectives. Debra takes her job seriously and prides herself on being able to help others. Her interpersonal skills are exceptional and she genuinely cares about helping the citizenry.
During slow times, Debra offers her assistance to the detectives and is more than willing to do whatever is asked of her.
Debra’s job performance demonstrates confidence and efficiency.
Civilian of the Year: Sharon Plant
Sharon Plant is assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit. The following are highlights of Ms. Plant’s activities:
- 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.
Sharon handles a tremendous case load. She brings credit to her unit and the Office.
Detective of the Quarter: Wes Harbin
Detective Wes Harbin is currently assigned to zone seven. Part of zone seven includes the Silverlake Estates area. This area has recently experienced an increase in residential burglaries. Detective Harbin was able to identify several juvenile suspects who were ultimately arrested for multiple burglaries in this area. He recovered numerous items of stolen jewelry in local pawn shops and returned it to their owners.
Also during his investigation, he learned the suspects were part of a localized gang who called themselves the “Robbin Hoods”. He spearheaded an initiative to organize a multi-agency task force between the Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Pierce Police Department, and the State Attorney’s Office. A coordinated week-long operation focused on the Silverlake Estates area. During this week, members made several arrests and gathered further information on the “Robbin Hoods” gang. The investigation is still ongoing, however, as a result of his efforts, the residential burglaries have stopped.
His willingness to go above and beyond is definitely an asset to the Criminal Investigations Division.
Detective of the Year: Steve Sessoms
Detective Steve Sessoms has been extremely productive this year. 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 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.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Yulieth Ortiz
Deputy Yulieth Ortiz in assigned to Squad B. Her statistics for the fourth quarter are as follows:
Deputy Ortiz is bi-lingual and frequently offers her assistance to other members of the agency with regard to language skills. Last quarter, she obtained a confession from a Spanish speaking suspect in a sex crime against a child.
During December of 2008, Deputy Ortiz responded to Bentonwood Mobile Home Park in reference to a burglary. Deputy Ortiz conducted an investigation and identified four separate victims. As a result of her investigation, the suspect was arrested and over $2,600 worth of property was recovered.
Deputy Ortiz is a team player and a vital asset to the Patrol Operations Division.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year: Jim Adams
Deputy Jim Adams performance has been outstanding. Having flown missions 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 2 attempted suicide victims.
One example of a mission was on August 27 when Deputy Adams responded to Coconut and Oleander Avenue to assist with a search for a female that had slit both of her wrists. She had fled from her residence into the woods. The blood trail was lost at the property line. Deputy Adams spotted the victim hiding in the woods behind a residence a few houses down from the scene. He directed deputies and rescue personnel to her and she survived.
This was only one example Deputy Adams’ overall performance for the year. Thank you for a job well done.
Administrative Deputy of the Year: Leland Squires
Deputy Squires holds the administrative deputy assignment within the Patrol Operations Division. He checks the basket and separates served subpoenas, depositions/hearings, felony packets and any other miscellaneous paperwork. He sends the felony packets to the State Attorney’s Office and files the returned receipts. He takes all walk-in offense reports and responds to the front lobby when citizens have questions of a law enforcement nature. He manages the law enforcement off duty details via the use the Power Details program. Deputy Squires insures all jobs get entered and billed. He receives any complaints an off duty employer might have with a deputy working a detail and works to resolve the issue.
During Tropical Storm Fay he was assigned to the command post. With little advance notice the “command post” was operational. He demonstrated continued reliability throughout the remainder of this emergency.
As you can see, Deputy Squires has continued to maintain the same high level of professional activity throughout the year.
Supervisor of the 2nd Quarter and the Year: Charlie Scavuzzo
During the second quarter of 2008, the City of Fort Pierce had numerous gang-related shootings that were occurring on a daily basis. Lt. Scavuzzo was at the SIU office when he heard a shooting call on the radio. The call was in the City of Fort Pierce which involved a drive by shooting. Lt. Scavuzzo, along with two other detectives, went looking for the suspect’s vehicle. Within several minutes, Lt. Scavuzzo located the vehicle. He completed a felony traffic stop and took two dangerous suspects off the streets.
Lt. Scavuzzo reviews crime statistics for St. Lucie County daily and then he works with the sergeants to insure the Special Investigations Unit is being effective in cutting crime either on the streets or in long term investigations.
Lt. Scavuzzo is a constant motivator to the deputies and detectives in the drug unit. He recently noticed a rise in prescription drug offenses throughout the county. These cases resulted in a large number of young people overdosing on prescription drugs. Lt. Scavuzzo took a pro-active stance and assigned another detective to drug diversion in an attempt to help with the crisis.
Lt. Scavuzzo is not a supervisor who sits behind a desk and gives orders. Instead, he goes out on the streets and works alongside his deputies and detectives. Lt. Scavuzzo takes the time to talk with people in the community, determines what kind of problems they are having, and then looks for solutions. He continues to go above and beyond every day.
Detention Civilian of the Quarter and the Year: Debra Wright
Debra Wright has been an employee since March 4, 2004. On April 1, 2005, she was promoted and assigned as the executive secretary to the Director of Detention. A small portion of Debra’s vast responsibilities are:
Debra correlates all Detention statistics (medical, mental health, inmate population, welfare accounts, transports, etc.) and provides monthly and annual reports for the PSCC and the Sheriff’s Annual Report.
Coordinates requests for service/changes/revisions and new devices with Information Technology.
Tracks and records all grant funding expenditures.
In addition, she coordinates all purchase orders for the entire detention facility.
Debra assists Detention staff by organizing the many meetings and functions conducted at the jail for dignitary visitors. (Inmate Graduations, Leadership St. Lucie, etc.)
She responds to all requests from the public via the Sheriff’s webpage (there are days when we receive more than six very complex questions regarding inmates in our custody). She is always courteous and professional when answering calls from difficult individuals.
Debra processes all Department of Detention travel needs for training conferences by making and following up on reservations and registrations, etc.
She is always willing to help all staff at Midway Road and at the jail without hesitation.
Debra’s expert organizational skills, motivation, exceptional work ethic, commitment to the Sheriff’s Office, and congenial manner are second to none.
Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Jason Wheeler
Master Deputy Jason Wheeler has been employed with our office since 2001. He has been assigned to operations, booking/intake, transportation, and the accreditation unit. In October 2006, he became the accreditation manager for the jail. Since that time, he has attended many seminars and instructional classes relevant to the accreditation process.
Several jail administrators throughout the state have requested Master Deputy Wheeler be a member of their inspection teams relying upon his expertise to evaluate their facility and recommend changes he feels will enhance their operation.
Jason’s hard work before and during our Florida Model Jail Standards (FMJS) and the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC) inspections were an integral part in us attaining the outstanding review we received from both the FMJS and the FCAC accreditation teams. Jason continually strives to maintain and exceed the above standard ratings we receive during these inspections and has proven to be a positive role model and dedicated employee.
Detention Deputy of the Year: Tracy Matteson
Deputy Matteson has been the Fire Safety and Inmate Discipline Officer since 2005. He has spearheaded the effort to improve the fire suppression system within the jail. Deputy Matteson identified and replaced outdated and inoperable emergency air equipment, thereby thwarting any potential hazards. The amount of personal time he has dedicated to the area of fire safety is well beyond his normal duty. Deputy Matteson has improved the value of the Fire Safety training for all staff members by developing a curriculum that has taught them the much needed practical skills in order to maintain a safe environment within the facility.
Deputy Matteson also holds the difficult responsibility of Inmate Discipline Officer. Deputy Matteson reviews all of the disciplinary reports generated by every staff member and conducts disciplinary hearings accordingly. He conducts approximately 2,000 inmate disciplinary hearings every year. Deputy Matteson maintains and updates inmate confinement logs on a weekly basis. During his time as the Fire Safety and Inmate Discipline officer he has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the Sheriff’s Office through his continued efforts to improve upon his position within the agency.
Detention Supervisor of the 4th Quarter: Lynn Ann Esposito-Knight
Sgt. Lynn Ann Esposito-Knight does not just come to work and do her job on a daily basis. She comes to work and brings a feeling of motivation to those who work for and around her. She is one of the most dedicated supervisors, dedicated not only to the Sheriff’s Office but to the people who work under her.
She recently submitted an idea that was implemented on her shift. She thought that by having the booking deputies’ work side by side with the intake deputies, each would benefit by learning each other’s jobs and gain an appreciation for each other’s contribution to booking as a whole. The idea was not only a good one, but it has increased her shifts productivity, unity, and overall morale.
Not only has she implemented this change, but on a daily basis she pitches in and works right along side them. She has entered just as many charges as the deputies have and processed more releases than any other person working in booking. Sgt. Esposito-Knight knows how to delegate work, and how to speak to her staff in such a way to garner respect and a desire to fulfill the tasks. She demonstrates a work ethic that inspires them to work harder, to help each other without complaint, and fix problems or mistakes without blame.
The Day Two booking staff looks up to and admires Sgt. Esposito-Knight for her hard work, knowledge, and selfless dedication to her job. Lt. O’Brien has watched a good shift become really great and highly motivated. She truly leads by example.
Detention Supervisor of the 3rd Quarter and the Year: Doug Laury
Sergeant Doug Laury leads our transportation unit and has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office. During the third 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.
Volunteer of the Quarter and Year: Shamera Permann
Ms. Sheamera Permann has been giving her time to the chapel program since 2004. In her capacity as a female clergy volunteer, she comes out weekly to the women’s chapel service. Over the past five years, her role has expanded to doing individual counseling and leading specialized bible studies for women with abuse backgrounds. Shamera also comes in on weekends to do a service for women within the drug unit. Last year, she volunteered her time with the restricted custody female inmates that could not attend regular chapel services because of their classification status.
Ms. Perman’s commitment to assist women in conflict does not begin and end at the gate of Rock Road. She was instrumental in getting other women from her church to assist here at the jail. She and her husband worked within the church to develop a Friday night recovery program for men and women who struggle with addiction issues and problems with every day living. This group continues to grow and thrive.
She also feeds the homeless at the Café Ministry. In this capacity she offers hope and help to many of our former inmates who are struggling to readjust in the community upon release.
Shamera’s life has not been without struggles. She and her husband made a life style change from the streets and drugs over 20 years ago. She has never looked back with regret about that time. She has, however, never forgotten where she came from and is always willing to give back to those who need a hand up.
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter and the Year: Cynthia Jones
Master Deputy Jones has been an employee since December 1983 and has been in court security since October 1987. She oversees the operation of the holding cells, where she and four other deputies have processed over 13,000 inmates in 2008. She is also the court security backup supervisor.
Master Deputy Jones is experienced, has a great command presence, and is trust-worthy, as well as respected by her peers. She took on the role of acting supervisor in December 2008. This was no small task. The role of court security supervisor is multi-faceted and includes activities relating to safety and security, coordination of courtroom schedules and deputy assignments for 30 deputies, movement of prisoners and defendants, and many other duties throughout the workday. Master Deputy Jones handled everything very well. Her colleagues as well as court staff were pleased with her management duties. All tasks were completed and several operational decisions were made to keep the unit working safely and efficiently.
Unit Citation: Driver Training and Instructional Cadre: Adam Goodner, Gary Morales, Ed Lebeau, Tad Leroy, Paul McNesky, Efrem Neal, Brian Rhodes, David Smith, Drew Soesbe and Matt Woods
In the past years, the Training Cadre has been teaching sworn deputies regular in-service instructional classes which have included classroom and practical driver training. In 2008, the unit expanded its training to teaching driver improvement skills to the non-sworn members of the agency. The office became a member of the National Safety Council and as such the driver training unit began teaching defensive driving techniques to over 150 civilian employees.
Also last year, the driving training cadre began to teach the “teen driver challenge” to new adolescent vehicle operators. Several members were required to become state licensed commercial driving instructors to teach this course.
In the second half of 2008, the cadre found themselves teaching the sworn members of the law enforcement division, the precision immobilization technique or PIT maneuver. Since classes have begun, they have instructed over 200 sworn members with the PIT maneuver as well as the rolling roadblock technique.
In 2008 the cadres’ 10 members trained over 500 members of the agency and at least 60 members of the community in the above courses on a part time basis as each member holds a regular position within the agency as a deputy sheriff with regular duties.
Thank you all for your hard work and dedication.
Unit Citation: Civil Execution Unit
The deputies in this unit make adjustments to their schedules to fit the needs of their perspective zones.
Last year was especially demanding on them with the amount of civil process papers that came through the courts. There is a lot of responsibility as a civil deputy not only within their zones but as backup deputies for patrol as well as an extra set of eyes in their zone for crime prevention.
Every eighth or ninth week, the deputy has to work a schedule of 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. to serve injunctions for protection. There is a high risk of civil liability on the office if these papers are not properly served. To date, there have been no civil suits filed against the office for wrongful service.
This unit is one of very few that makes money – approximately $250,000 a year.
Commendation: Patricia Becker
Patricia Becker took on the new validation program from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Trish had no prior training or assistance from FDLE. This new program went into effect in August of 2008 with only e-mail instructions that were not clear or helpful. An overview of the new program was given at the Criminal Justice Information Systems Conference, but this provided little in the way of preparing us for the transition. The Sheriff’s Office was also inadvertently left off of the FDLE e-mail list which provided additional information on the transition.
Trish studied the material and was able to prepare a process for the transition. She then spent the time with each member of the Warrants Unit and instructed them on the process, shadowing them to ensure that the validations were entered appropriately and that each member understood the new validation program. Trish also completed the validations for a unit member who had been out sick for over three weeks.
Due to Ms. Becker’s efforts the Warrants Unit was able to implement the new validation program and overcome a three month backlog on wanted person validations by a mandated FDLE deadline of October 31, 2008. Trish demonstrated her ability to find new and better ways of performing unit functions and displayed leadership in a team environment.
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