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 May 27th, 2009  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara will present life saving, other quarterly awards Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office HQ
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will preside at the Sheriff’s Office quarterly awards ceremony Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, 4700 West Midway Road, Fort Pierce.

Here is a list of award recipients:

First Quarter

Admin./Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Quarter: Doug Hardie and Troy Church
Civilian of the Quarter: Ashlee Mayr
Detective of the Quarter: Santiago Martinez
Detention Civilian of the Quarter: Charles Strickland
Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Peter Rich
Detention Supervisor of the Quarter: Stanley Sokolowski
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Matt Reynolds
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Robert Howell
Volunteer of the Quarter: Paul Cohen and Paul Duffy

Previous Quarter

Detective of the Fourth Quarter: Wes Harbin
Detention Deputy of the Fourth Quarter: Jason Wheeler
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Fourth Quarter: Yulieth Ortiz

Miscellaneous Awards

Life Saving: Antonio Arbona, Vincent Bonagura, Franklin Ferencz, Tim Fulston, Michael Gargan, Edward Gonzalez, Chris Gordineer, Johnny Henry, Troy Hetzer, Felix Newkirk, Robert Russell, Stanley Sokolowski
Life Saving (citizenry) : Christopher Johnson
Meritorious Service: Francisco DelRosario
Unit Citation,Transportation Unit: Doug Laury, Dan Arcentales, Steve Byrne, Christopher Cheslock, Lucius Harris, Johnny Hubbard, Dexter Scott, Cory Todd, Robert T. Wolff
Unit Citation, Day Two Booking Staff: Lynn Esposito-Knight, Michael Alonge, Charles Bell, Randall Crawford, Marianne Foote, Sooner Means, Peter Rich, Shameka Wright
Distinguished Service (citizenry): Dora Thompson, Tom Bozak, Conrad Breton, John Church, Frank Dirr, Bill Murphy, Joe Muscarella, Gary Smith, Jack Spivey, Cheryl Stanley

Here are the details:

Distinguished Service Award: Jack Spivey

On March 24, Mr. Jack Spivey observed two males acting in a suspicious manner in his neighborhood. Mr. Spivey took appropriate action by calling 911. He stayed in contact with dispatchers and was able to follow and direct deputies to the area of two burglary suspects resulting in their apprehension.

Mr. Spivey’s unselfish actions also helped the Sheriff’s Office recover approximately $5,000 worth of items taken from a residence. He is a great example of what can be accomplished when citizens work together with the Sheriff’s Office to help safeguard their neighborhoods.

Distinguished Service Award: Tom Bozak, Conrad Breton, John Church, Frank Dirr, Bill Murphy, Joe Muscarella, Gary Smith and Cheryl Stanley

In response to a request from the Crime Prevention Unit, Habitat for Humanity’s coordinator, Cheryl Stanley, put together an exceptional group of volunteers to help with the structure of a house facade for the 2009 St. Lucie County Fair display. With the hard work and dedication of these members who put in countless hours and did tedious work, we were able to effectively deliver crime prevention tips and philosophies to the community.

Tom Bozak, Conrad Breton, John Church, Frank Dirr, Bill Murphy, Joe Muscarella, and Gary Smith all did an extraordinary job with the construction of the home. These members not only donated their time but many of them constructed the home using their personal equipment. Habitat for Humanity also donated all materials needed for the construction of the home.
It is because of partnership efforts such as this that the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is effective in meeting the diverse needs of the community.

Distinguished Service Award: Dora Thompson

On March 16, Ms. Thompson told School Resource Deputy Lindstadt that a male student was making very disturbing statements about off-campus activities involving guns and drugs. The teacher contacted the parent as on-campus deputies addressed the student.

Deputies searched the student who had no weapons. After questioning the student and speaking with the parent, it was determined that the student had obtained a key to his parent’s safe and removed three handguns without the parent’s knowledge. It was after Ms. Thompson had contacted the parent that the parent became aware that the weapons were missing. The student had irresponsibly passed the weapons off to three other juveniles within the community.

Thanks to Ms. Thompson’s genuine concern for her students and her timely and direct communication with deputies, three handguns were safely recovered and return to their owner, averting potential tragedies.

Civilian of the Quarter: Ashlee Mayr

The Civilian of the Quarter is Ashlee Mayr. She has taken the time to introduce Sgt. Cicio to all of the administrative workings of the unit since his assignment as Crime Prevention Unit supervisor. Ashlee has gone above and beyond to make Sgt. Cicio’s transition as easy as possible.

When Ashlee is given a task, it is done immediately and without hesitation. She asks questions to clarify her assignment and then works diligently to get the job done. She makes suggestions to improve the functionality of the unit and seeks feedback regarding her performance.

Ashlee is responsible for scheduling and keeping track of the multitude of activities of the unit. She reads all hotsheets and makes reports of property crime patterns so that Crime Prevention deputies can meet with victims to assist them in making their property more secure. She files all residential and business surveys and documents all activities to ensure the unit does not duplicate efforts. Ashlee also serves as the unit’s point of contact for the public when they have questions or concerns.

In addition to her crime oprevention duties, Ashlee volunteers many hours to the Sheriff’s Explorer program. She types, files, and fingerprints children for the missing children program. In the words of Sgt. Barbara Smith, Explorer Supervisor, “Ashlee is a dependable person and very organized. She is always pleasant and willing to assist whenever asked or needed.”

These qualities and countless more make Ashlee Mayr a great asset to us all.

Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Robert Howell

The Department of Administration is proud to recognize Deputy Robert Howell as the Deputy of the Quarter. Deputy Howell has been a member of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office as a Law Enforcement Officer since October of 2001. He has been a member of the School Resource Unit for the past year.

Deputy Howell is currently assigned to Dale Cassens School, which is an alternative school attended by the majority of emotionally and mentally challenged students for this county. Just being assigned to this school can be a daily challenge. Deputy Howell has developed his interpersonal skills, so that he can communicate and maintain calmness with the students at his school.

His display of professionalism has allowed him to obtain a high level of respect among the students and teachers. He is also the first deputy with this agency to conduct “DARE” training at an alternative school. DARE education usually takes place in mainstream school environments, but Deputy Howell has made it his personal goal to teach 15 students this program in a challenging environment. In return, his actions promote a positive image of law enforcement on school campuses and in the community.

During this first Quarter his activities are as follows:

11 Felony Arrests
20 Misdemeanor Arrests
6 Warrants served
3 Juvenile diversions
43 reports written
234 Parent conferences
307 Administrative assists

Administration/Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Quarter: Doug Hardie and Troy Church

Lt. Hardie came to Court Security as a deputy and advanced through the ranks to become unit supervisor. Lt. Hardie and Sgt. Church are always team players. Many times in the past, the unit has been shorthanded in the courtroom, and Lt. Hardie and Sgt. Church have jumped right in and covered a courtroom.

Besides being a supervisor, both are very capable of being a friend at a difficult time. In the past few years we have lost very good friends, and both of these gentlemen have been instrumental in handling the difficult passing of co-workers and friends.

Detective of the Quarter: Santiago Martinez

Deputy Martinez has been with the Special Investigations Unit for about two years. During this quarter he investigated three major cases involving the trafficking of Oxycodone pills. Deputy Martinez was able to uncover an elaborate organization responsible for the illegal distribution of over 12,000 Roxycodone pills a month in our county. The three cases all turned out to be related from the bottom level of the organization all the way to the top.

The first part of the investigation revealed a bottom-level street distributor of the Roxycodone pills. The next step led Deputy Martinez to the suspect responsible for supplying several street-level suppliers with Roxycodone. Deputy Martinez obtained search warrants for a residence which was the base of operation. One of the suspects admitted that he sold 3,000 Roxycodone pills a month, supplying street-level dealers.

From that arrest, Deputy Martinez identified the top level of the organization. It was an employee of a local pharmacy stealing Roxycodones from the pharmacy and supplying them to the streets. He set up another operation aimed at catching the main supplier in the act. The suspect was arrested and admitted she was stealing the pills from the pharmacy.

Recognizing that it is unusual for a pharmacy not to report missing pills, the investigation continued. The investigation revealed that the pharmacy was missing about 200,000 pills in a 12-month period. The pharmacy was not following procedure and will potentially lose its license to distribute controlled substances at the end of the investigation.

Since the completion of this investigation our unit has noticed a shortage of illegal Roxycodone on the streets of our county. This is persuasive evidence of Deputy Martinez’s
job well done.

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 involving 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 that week, task force members made several arrests and gathered further information on the “Robbin’ Hoods” gang. The investigation is still ongoing, and as a result of his efforts, the residential burglaries have stopped.

His willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty is a huge asset to the Criminal Investigations Division.

Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Matt Reynolds

Deputy Matt Reynolds has been with the Sheriff’s Office since June of 2008 and is currently assigned to Squad A. During the last three months, Deputy Reynolds has worked various zones throughout the county. He consistently maintains a high level of productivity in these zones. He has an outstanding rapport with the public and gets along well with his fellow deputies. His statistics for the quarter are:

3 felony arrests
11 misdemeanor arrests
14 warrant arrests
30 traffic citations
36 written warnings
6 parking citations
10 correction cards
112 verbal warnings
11 field interview cards
41 criminal reports
90 directed close patrols
65 foot patrols

One example of Deputy Reynolds’ proactive approach occurred on February 18 when he was dispatched to a hit-and-run. While on the way to the crash, a description of the suspect vehicle was given out, and Deputy Reynolds located the vehicle. He conducted a traffic stop and noticed the driver was wearing a shoulder holster containing a concealed chrome handgun. Once he secured the holstered firearm, a second handgun was located along with ammunition. After further investigation he learned the suspects were affiliated with a motorcycle gang. Deputy Reynolds made two arrests, taking two guns, ammunition, two knives, and a handcuff key off the streets.

We Congratulate Deputy Reynolds on 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:

24 felony arrests
25 misdemeanor arrests
35 traffic citations
24 written warnings
7 correction cards
36 field interview cards
151 self-initiated contacts

Deputy Ortiz is bilingual 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.

Volunteer of the Quarter: Paul Cohen and Paul Duffy

It is with great pleasure that we recognize Mr. Paul Cohen and Mr. Paul Duffy as our volunteers of the quarter. During the past quarter, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Duffy have both worked over 100 hours each cleaning guns, inventorying evidence weapons, arranging armory stock and assisting with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office weapons inventory.

Both men are extremely reliable and volunteer several hours each week to the Armory. Without their help, it would be impossible to keep up with the volume of weapons needing attention. They have been invaluable in their efforts to inspect and catalog weapons being received from the Evidence Unit. They both maintain a positive attitude and are dedicated to the tasks presented to them each week. Their eagerness to learn is impressive, and they seek new training and information on the weapons systems we maintain.

We greatly enjoy having them in the armory as volunteers and greatly appreciate their efforts and abilities.

Life Saving: Vinnie Bonagura

On February 9, 2009, Deputy Vinnie Bonagura stopped out with a Fort Pierce Police Officer who appeared to be straddling a male (later identified as Mr. Edwards) on the side of the road. Deputy Bonagura observed that Mr. Edwards was unresponsive and called for rescue to respond.

The officer stated to Deputy Bonagura that he could not feel a pulse. Deputy Bonagura checked Mr. Edwards for a pulse and verified he did not have one. He placed Mr. Edwards on his back and started CPR. After a short time, the officer switched with Deputy Bonagura. They continued CPR until rescue arrived.

Mr. Edwards was transported to the hospital and was listed in stable condition.

Life Saving: Troy Hetzer

On February 9, Deputy Troy Hetzer was heading home after working the midnight shift. Deputy Hetzer received a flagdown at Kings Isle and St. Lucie West Boulevard. An elderly male (identified as Mr. Angelo) informed Deputy Hetzer he was having trouble breathing. Deputy Hetzer notified dispatch and requested fire rescue to respond.

While waiting for fire rescue, Deputy Hetzer had Mr. Angelo sit down and attempted to keep him calm. A short time later, Mr. Angelo’s breathing became shallow and erratic. Then his lips and fingers started to turn blue indicating oxygen deprivation. Without hesitation Deputy Hetzer started CPR and was relieved by rescue personnel.

Unfortunately, a short time later Mr. Angelo passed away at the hospital. Deputy Hetzer did his best to save Mr. Angelo’s life.

Life Saving: Tim Fulston, Chris Gordineer and Christopher Johnson (member of the public)

On May 1, Deputies Gordineer and Fulston responded to the 173 mile marker on Florida’s Turnpike in reference to a vehicle crash. The vehicle had rolled several times and was submerged in a canal where it landed. Christopher Johnson (a witness to the crash) stopped and secured the victim’s vehicle with a strap, and then used his truck to keep the vehicle from submerging. Mr. Johnson pulled the occupant from the vehicle and onto the canal bank.

During Mr. Johnson’s heroic efforts he sustained a deep bone laceration to his foot that required 18 staples to close. Upon Deputies Gordineer and Fulston’s arrival, an unidentified woman cleared the victim’s airway. Deputy Gordineer checked for a pulse, but the victim had none. CPR was initiated by Deputy Gordineer and the unidentified woman.

After 20 minutes, rescue arrived on scene and used a bag valve mask on the victim. This caused the victim to expel large amounts of fluid. Deputy Fulston took over compressions for Deputy Gordineer until the victim was taken by rescue.

Despite the exposure to the victim’s fluids and other pressing conditions, Mr. Johnson and the deputies continued on with their lifesaving efforts. With the selfless service of Christopher Johnson, Deputy Gordineer and Deputy Fulston, they gave the victim a fresh chance at survival. The victim, identified as Erika Roman, a popular radio personality in the Orlando area, unfortunately was unable to overcome her injuries and was pronounced at Lawnwood E.R.

Detention Civilian of the Quarter: Charles Strickland

Mr. Strickland has been an employee since March 2006 and is assigned to the detention lobby. He has suggested the following ideas which have been implemented:

- Self-inking stamps with different responses printed on them explaining why mail is returned to sender. The self-inking stamps reduced the workload and improved efficiency in the work area.

- Installing two fax machines, one in the lobby/switchboard area and another in the attorney visitation area. This expedites the movement of inmates to the area in a timely fashion.

- Implementing a money release form for inmates being released from jail to have their money sent to them instead of waiting to receive the money at time of discharge. Our Aramark manager commented: “It is a wonderful suggestion because it reduced the traffic at the window while inmates were waituing for their checks.”

Mr. Strickland also trains new lobby clerks when needed. On numerous occasions, he has discovered contraband through the incoming mail.

In addition, Mr. Strickland has had no sick usage from his date of hire (2006) to present and is clearly an asset and a valued employee.

Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Peter Rich

The Department of Detention would like to recognize Deputy Peter Rich as our Deputy of the first Quarter. Deputy Rich is dedicated to the Sheriff’s Office and is an inspiration to his peers. Deputy Rich has an enthusiasm that is catchy, along with an excellent sense of humor that helps his coworkers throughout the day. He is able to handle a significant workload without complaint and manages to have fun while doing it.

Deputy Rich is an active ERT member and has recently completed CIT training. Deputy Rich has voluntarily attended gang training and utilizes his knowledge in the booking area to identify possible gang members coming into the jail. He possess exemplary interpersonal skills that allow him to easily deal with problem inmates, reducing the need to use force and continually ensuring a smooth-running booking environment.

He is willing to work overtime at a moment’s notice, which further exemplifies his dependability as an employee. Deputy Rich stays late and can be counted on to do whatever is asked of him without complaint. He has selflessly volunteered to be placed on the night shift when a co-worker was injured, in order to assist booking with its staffing needs.

Deputy Rich has played an instrumental part in the reaccreditation process during the jail’s recent accreditation inspection, assisting the accreditation effort by utilizing his outstanding work ethic and dependability. Deputy Rich has also expressed a fervent interest in assisting the Detention Training Unit as a training instructor in addition to the workload that he has currently undertaken.

The Booking/Classification Unit would be lacking without hiom. I would like to thank Deputy Rich for all that he does. He is a valuable asset to both the booking area and Sheriff’s Office.

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 as a member of their inspection teams, relying upon his expertise to evaluate their facilities and recommending 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 instrumental in helping us attain the outstanding reviews we received from both the FMJS and the FCAC accreditation teams. Jason continually strives to maintain and exceed the positive ratings we receive during these inspections and has proven to be a positive role model and dedicated employee.

Detention Supervisor of the Quarter: Stanley Sokolowski

Sergeant Stanley Sokolowski is very dedicated and puts others first before himself. Stan is always available anytime for any reason. He goes above and beyond his duties as a sergeant. He keeps the understanding and perspective of a deputy while following the rules and responsibilities of his title. Every member on Sergeant Sokolowski’s shift was in agreement that he should be awarded the supervisor of the quarter.

Life Saving: Stanley Sokolowski

On January 22, 2009 Sgt. Sokolowski was called to Delta South D-8 regarding in inmate banging on the cell door causing a disruption to the dorm. Sgt. Sokolowski entered the cell and noticed an inmate on the lower bunk. The inmate had a purple tint to this skin tone in the facial area and was unresponsive.

The inmate had tied a bed sheet around the upper bunk that led to his neck.

Sgt. Sokolowski used his J-hook to cut the bed sheet from the inmate’s neck. As soon as the sheet was free from the inmate’s neck, the inmate’s color returned. The inmate was taken to the medical area and placed under suicide watch.

Meritorious Service: Francisco DelRosario

On March 25, Deputy DelRosario was picking up his daughter at Oak Hammock High School. He noticed two males in a white Ford pick up truck with their faces hidden by some type of mask. Deputy DelRosario immediately turned his vehicle around to get a tag number and call 911.

The masked occupants of the suspicious vehicle then followed Deputy DelRosario and started to chase him. Then they pulled into Darwin Square and went into a store. Both occupants were arrested by the Port St. Lucie Police Department. There was a loaded .38-caliber gun under the truck’s front seat.

Life Saving: Antonio Arbona, Johnny Henry and Felix Newkirk

Sgt. Johnny Henry was called to report to Delta South D-9. When he arrived, he saw Deputy Felix Newkirk standing on the top tier in front of Cell K talking to an inmate who had just been placed in lockdown earlier that night.

As the sergeant approached the cell, he saw the inmate sitting on the edge of the bottom bunk with a wet bed sheet tied around his neck and the other end tied around the top bunk. As Sgt. Henry and Deputy Newkirk entered the cell, they tried to remove the sheet from the inmate’s neck. However, the inmate started to struggle causing his lower body to slip off the bottom bunk making the sheet tighten up around his neck.

Sgt. Henry tried to remove the sheet from the inmate’s neck, but the inmate’s weight and two tightly tied knots made it impossible. Deputy Newkirk supported the inmate’s body weight as he was losing consciousness. Sgt. Henry used the J hook to cut the sheet from the top bunk. Then they lowered the inmate to the floor where the J hook was used to cut the sheet from around the inmate’s neck. A signal 84 had been called by Deputy Arbona.

Thanks to all involved, they were able to prevent this inmate from harming or killing himself.

Life Saving: Franklin Ferencz, Michael Gargan, Edward Gonzalez and Robert Russell

On February 13, an inmate was being disruptive in his cell. Deputy Russell attempted to calm the inmate. Deputy Gargan also attempted to call the inmate down. The inmate began yelling that he could not take it any more and wanted to kill himself.

Deputy Gargan told the inmate to come to the door and cuff up, and they would take him to medical to speak with a mental health worker. The inmate turned away and went to his bunk where he had a sheet tied and began twisting the sheet around his neck and dropped to the ground causing his feet to leave the floor. Deputy Gargan had the tower deputy open the cell door. Deputy Gargan administered a burst of OC spray which caused the inmate to stand up. Deputies Gargan and Russell gained control of the inmate while Deputies Ferencz and Gonzalez untied the sheet from his neck.

The inmate was escorted to the medical area where he was decontaminated and placed on suicide watch.

Unit Citation: Transportation Unit: Doug Laury, Dan Arcentales, Steve Byrne, Christopher Cheslock, Lucius Harris, Johnny Hubbard Dexter Scott, Cory Todd and Robert T. Wolff

These deputies demonstrated exceptional achievement and teamwork to complete all tasks without incident or injury. They did it without complaining, maintained inmate and officer safety, and acted consistently with policies and procedures. The workload was very high but was achieved because of the dedication they all demonstrated. Below are the totals for this first quarter.

4,231 taken to court
46 court-ordered pick-ups
9 court-ordered drop-offs
21 court-ordered returns
206 Department of Corrections drop-offs
56 to outside medical transports
213 miscellaneous transports
28 to Pembroke Pines Department of Corrections
1 Psychological transport
282 re-admit transports
10 reverse sting operations
148 warrant pick-ups
9 Baker Act transports
3 Department of Juvenile Justice transports
13 A-hold drop-offs
4,598 males transported
761 females transported
48 juveniles transported
5,407 total inmates transported
28,208 total miles driven

Unit Citation: Day Two Booking Staff: Lynn Esposito-Knight, Michael Alonge, Charles Bell, Randall Crawford, Marianne Foote, Sooner Means, Peter Rich, and Shameka Wright

Within the last six months Sgt. Esposito-Knight implemented a new system where her office deputies work side-by-side with the intake deputies instead of working in the office. Her deputies took this change and made it their own workable system.

With this system in place, Sgt. Esposito-Knight’s staff booked in 972 inmates (79 more than the second highest shift) and booked out 1,172 inmates (125 more than the second-highest shift.) This has been a positive change not only with dividing the workload evenly but with efficiency and accuracy of their work.

These deputies definitely have stepped up to the plate and decided to make this shift the best booking shift to work on. Their teamwork and their desire to complete all tasks given to them in booking are amazing. Morale is high which makes coming to work much more pleasant.

Sgt. Esposito-Knight is extremely proud of her staff for taking charge and making this change happen with ease.

crime stoppers