St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara will present quarterly agency awards Friday, May 18, at 10 a.m. at Sheriff's Office headquarters, 4700 West Midway Road, Fort Pierce
Friday, May 11, 2007, 11 a.m. -- St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will present quarterly agency awards Friday, May 18, at 10 a.m., at Sheriff's Office headquarters, 4700 West Midway Road, Fort Pierce.
Here are the recipients:
Civilian of the Quarter: Tammy Schwab
Detective of the Quarter: Jon Verna
Detention Civilian of the Quarter: Jada Webb
Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Mary Lou Puchala
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Troy Hetzer
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Troy Glover & Clay Mangrum
Supervisor of the Quarter: Barbara Smith
Volunteer of the Quarter: John O'Connor
Andrew Bolonka, Charla Harper, Scott Vajanyi
Tad Leroy, Paul Taylor, Paramedic Steve Kozac
Paul Cohen, Cindy Long, Fred Massoni
Dan Jones, Dan Parrett, Jason Cannon, Ron Cohron, Robert Funk, Tad Leroy, Todd Meslin, David Snow, Ron Stickney, Paul Taylor, Russell Tucker, Officer Christine Davis (FPPD), Officer Christopher Guadagno (FPPD )
Detention Night 2 — Gary DeShon, Eddie Hicks, Stanley Sokolowski, Wayne Anderson, Jean Baptiste, Charles Bell, David Burnette, Marty Burkleo, Brent Eaton, Marc Flowers, Steven Giordano, Charles Heinold, Marcel Hosein, Denetta Johnson, Frank Locascio, Nancy Lordy, Jason Lyda, Marc Mallow, Scott Miers, William Morgan, Christopher Nebbeling, Nelson Ojeda, Donald Palfrey, Dwana Phelan, Alan Reffsin, Joshua Roberts, Joanna Santamaria, Jason Shinn, Cedric Sotomayor, Roy Stevens, Kenrick Thomas, Maria Titherington, Kim Weisner, Michael Wendt, Clinton Williams, Robert Wise
Squad E — Dennis Bernas, Dan Parrett, Richard Green, Tad Leroy, Paul McNesky, Todd Meslin, Craig Ortman, Mark Sarvis, Paul Taylor
Adam Bailey, Robert Macnamara, Zachary Pressley, Cory Speicker
Here are the details:
Detective of the Quarter
Detective Jon Verna has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since February 1996. He started in the Department of Detention and then transferred to Patrol in October 1999. He later transferred to CID in November of 2004 and has worked in the property crimes unit.
During the first quarter, Detective Verna was assigned 40 cases. He arrested 12 individuals for various crimes, including attempted murder, burglary, and child abuse. Detective Verna handled several burglary cases where property was recovered, 12 persons arrested and charged with numerous crimes related to these burglaries. Through his investigation, Detective Verna linked several burglary cases together. This allowed detectives to link additional cases together resulting in the clearance of other cases.
One of the cases Detective Verna investigated was a homicide in Sheraton Plaza. This homicide involved two rival gangs with the victim being gunned down in the street. An intensive investigation ensued and through the efforts of Detectives Verna, Sumner and Wentz the case was solved and three arrests were made to include the actual shooter.
Detective Jon Verna is an asset to the Criminal Investigations Division.
Detention Civilian of the Quarter
In October 2006, Jada Webb was assigned to the Classification Unit. During this time, Jada has shown her ability to get under the hood and solve issues that affect the unit on a daily basis. Her attention to detail is exemplary and her rate of work has influenced her colleagues within the unit to stay up and match her energy. To date, Jada has been taking on responsibilities that help alleviate mistakes and reach the recommendations set forth in the Classification audit which was conducted last September.
We thank Jada for her positive attitude, hard work and overall contribution to the goals and objectives of the Department of Detention.
Detention Deputy of the Quarter
Mary Lou Puchala
The classification/confinement status unit has been operating with minimum staff despite an ever increasing level of inmates. During this time, Deputy Mary Lou Puchala has taken on responsibilities beyond her normal daily routine. She has been a key component to the sound operation of inmate’s sentence computation and other court records.
Deputy Puchala has stayed over late at night waiting for necessary court note information so that it can be expediently entered into the system to give accurate information on each inmate. This further resulted in the timely release of inmates from our facility.
It is not unusual to receive a telephone call from other supervisors within the court and criminal justice system to acknowledge her professionalism, her pleasant personality, and helpfulness in resolving problems.
Deputy Puchala is an energetic, effective member of the classification unit and a great asset to the agency.
Civilian of the Quarter
Tammy is what is known as a real team player. She is not one to toot her own horn and most would never know all of the volunteer work she performs when the need arises.
Last quarter, she assisted the Explorers at the fair, created their boat raffle flyer and volunteered to sell the tickets at the Midway Road office, and is currently working on their fishing tournament booklet.
Tammy produces the finished product known as the “roll call newsletter”. In addition, she produces the interoffice directory that most of us use of a daily basis. It was started as a convenience for secretaries and has evolved into a necessity for the whole office as well as outside agencies.
She is involved in most of the parties for retirements, award, luncheons as well as the Hundred Club annual awards banquet. Tammy sits on many committees in addition to her regular duties such as the golf tournament committee, Christmas Party committee and the awards committee.
Tammy also handles the secretary/treasurer’s responsibility for the Treasure Coast Chiefs and Sheriffs Association as well as the Hundred Club. If all of this is not possible to complete during work hours in conjunction with her duties as my assistant, she will do whatever it takes to complete that job on her own time.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter
Deputy Hetzer became a full time deputy in January 2006. Over the past three months, Deputy Hetzer has accomplished the following:
30 written warnings
15 felony arrests
8 misdemeanor arrests
2 misdemeanor warrant arrests
13 filed interview cards
3 correction cards
Many cases were mentioned in Deputy Hetzer’s nomination. Due to time limits I will touch on one.
On January 27 Deputy Hetzer responded to a call in reference to a possible child abuse. After interviewing the caller, Deputy Hetzer located the child and suspect. He uncovered physical evidence that the child had been beaten using a belt with a buckle. The child had 25 to 35 imprints of the belt and buckle across the legs and the lower back. DCF removed the child from the home and the belt and buckle was recovered. The parents were arrested for aggravated child abuse.
Deputy Hetzer is a team player and is dedicated to doing the best job possible.
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter
Troy Glover and Clay Mangrum
Deputies Clay Mangrum and Troy Glover have been assigned to Dan McCarty Middle School for the past year. Dan McCarty is designated as a busing hub where students from other schools change busses at this location. Rival gang members were instigating and waiting for opportunities to cause problems during bussing changes. Since their presence, the disturbances have been minimal.
During this quarter Deputy Mangrum made 45 arrests and Deputy Glover made 43 arrests. They have completed over a dozen field interview cards on suspected gang members or associates.
Deputy Glover and Mangrum have developed probably one of the largest crime watch groups within our district. There have been several calls of service that they have performed outside their law enforcement role. For example a fund raiser for students in which they volunteered to be part of a school raffle in which the winner was able to throw pies at them. They also volunteered to walk in different cancer walks with teachers to show their support for them and community. You can see how this displays ownership in their school and positive role modeling for students.
The list of their positive activities on and off campus is impressive. Thank you for a job well done.
Supervisor of the Quarter
Sgt. Barbara Smith started volunteering her time with the Explorer Post in 1990 and is currently the senior advisor for Post 400. During 2006 she coordinated 102 community events from which youth and adults developed leadership skills. She has passed over to others the confidence and skills to become a guiding hand. Her positive and intuitive manner is a valuable trait. The Explorers learn to lead by attaining rank and carrying out the responsibilities of that rank. Responsibility and confidence are increased through her hands on approach. Many non profit organizations likely couldn’t afford to have events if it were not for the Explorers assisting as ushers or providing parking control. Sgt. Smith is having a long term impact on our future leaders the Explorers themselves.
For example the following Sheriff’s Office members were guided by Sgt. Smith. Rose Blaszka, Bill Foley, Fred Knaggs, Kevin Leadham, and Jason Self are now detention deputies. Ron Wentz is a detective and a member of the bomb disposal team. Jeff Jackson is a sergeant at the jail, and Troy Church is a sergeant with the Patrol Operations Division. This is a very small example of the men and women who have aspired to fulfill their dreams.
We are proud of the positive impact Sgt. Smith has had on these young men and women among which many will be future leaders. Recently, Sgt. Smith was recognized by the FBI Miami Division and the Women in Law Enforcement Conference Committee for her outstanding leadership efforts and for serving as an example to all members of law enforcement. Congratulations.
Volunteer of the Quarter
John O’Connor joined the Sheriff’s Office volunteer program on June 10, 1998. From then to the present he has unselfishly devoted his time and energy to volunteering 1,473 hours at the St. Lucie West substation every Wednesday and Friday.
John has made himself available to anyone who many need his assistance. He handles random office assignments, greeting the public, folding numerous brochures, and answering substation phone lines. John not only helps with crime prevention related tasks he also assists with the Explorers.
John is an asset to the crime prevention unit and we are truly grateful to have him.
On February 8, Deputy Michelle Hernandez was notified that an elderly man was outside the tag office not feeling well. She exited the tag office and discovered the man on the ground. The man was somewhat conscious and breathing but unable to respond to questions.
Deputy Hernandez notified 911 requesting rescue. Seconds later, the man stopped breaking and slipped into unconsciousness.
Deputy Hernandez immediately started CPR and was able to revive the elderly male. He began to breath and opened his eyes. Within seconds the man slipped back into unconsciousness and she started CPR for the second time. After the second CPR cycle, rescue arrived and took over. Rescue continued CPR and transported the elderly male to the hospital.
It is clear without Deputy Hernandez’s quick actions the gentleman would not have survived.
Paramedic Steve Kozac
On February 10, Deputies Tad Leroy and Paul Taylor were dispatched in reference to an adult male who was not conscious or breathing. Deputy Leroy was the first to arrive on scene and was met by neighbor and off-duty paramedic Steve Kozac. Deputy Leroy and Paramedic Kozac observed Mr. Hunt lying on the living room floor. Mr. Hunt had little or no heartbeat and was not breathing.
Paramedic Kozac connected a defibrillator and administered a cardiac shock to the victim. However, there was still no heartbeat. At this time, Paramedic Kozac and Deputy Leroy began to perform CPR. Deputy Taylor also arrived on scene and took over rescue breathing while Paramedic Kozac prepared his equipment to shock the victim. After the being shocked and with continuous CPR they managed to get a heartbeat and established shallow breathing on the victim. The victim was transported to the hospital for future treatment.
Thanks to their actions a life was saved.
On three occasions this quarter Deputy Andrew Silverberg’s actions prevented three inmates from committing suicide. Occurring in the early morning hours when alertness is critical, Deputy Silverberg’s actions were exceptional.
In addition on February 14, 2007, Deputy Silverberg alerted medical staff about an inmate who was having a seizure. Thanks to his attention to duty the inmate received medical attention.
On February 18, Deputy Scott Vajanyi was approached by a woman in the parking lot at the jail. She had locked her infant in the vehicle with the keys inside. Deputy Vajanyi notified Deputy Charla Harper of the situation. Deputy Harper notified Deputy Bolonka. The three deputies proceeded to try and open the vehicle with a slim jim. Inside the vehicle the infant was becoming restless and started to wiggle in the car seat. The baby’s squirming caused the car seat to move and the infant tumbled the car seat off the vehicle seat and landed face down on the floorboard of the vehicle.
Concerned with the baby’s well being, Deputy Bolonka obtained authorization to make forced entry into the vehicle. The window was broken and the infant was rescued. Deputy Vajanyi removed the broken glass to prevent injury.
Their actions were responsible for the safety and well being of the infant.
On February 11, 2007 Deputy Tracy Matteson stopped at a convenience store after his tour of duty. While inside a highly agitated male entered the store yelling his car was on fire. Deputy Matteson instructed the store employee to turn off the pumps, call 911, and to provide him with a fire extinguisher.
The vehicle hood was partially open emitting smoke and flames from the engine compartment. The vehicle owner became frantic and wanted to douse the flames with water. Deputy Matteson advised him that was not safe and he as well as the onlookers needed to stay back for safety reasons.
Deputy Matteson approached the vehicle and extinguished the flames with the fire extinguisher and maintained a perimeter until Port St. Lucie Police Department arrived on scene.
Cindy Long, Deputy Fred Massoni, and volunteer Paul Cohen are part of the armory staff. They recently provided their time and invaluable assistance during the annual weapons inventory and inspection.
All department weapons must be inventoried and inspected annually per policy. This procedure is very time consuming and intensive. The number of department weapons has increased considerably during the past year. Cindy, Fred, and Paul made themselves available to all units of the Sheriff’s Office during the week of April 9 – 12.
The inventory and inspection process went very smoothly. All weapons were inventoried, inspected, and any problem areas found during the inspection were corrected immediately. It goes without saying that the impeccable record keeping by Cindy Long is truly phenomenal and provides accurate detail on location and transfer of all weapons. Each of these individuals takes upon themselves voluntarily the task of armory staff members and displays a dedication to the mission that is truly exceptional.
On February 28, 2007 Deputy Robert Mason was working in pod B4 when he intercepted a note being passed from dorm to dorm. The note turned out to be a confession to a crime committed by one of the inmates housed in the pod. Deputy mason turned the note over to Detective Whitcomb who then contacted the State Attorney’s Office. The State Attorney’s Office concluded the information could be used in prosecuting the case.
The actions he took in this incident shows Deputy Mason’s dedication to his job and security of the jail.
Detective Romualdo Arizpe came to CID as a warrant unit detective in July of 2006. He demonstrates a team player incentive in all phases of his work assignments. During this quarter, Detective Arizpe completed the following: 44 felony arrests and 18 misdemeanor arrests.
During the month of February, he worked with the Special Investigations Unit and the weed and seed program. This operation resulted in 119 felony arrests, two vehicle pursuits, and several confrontational arrests. Detective Arizpe also assisted in a second weed and seed operation involving over 40 arrests in three days.
In March the Criminal Investigations Division suffered a loss of manpower and Detective Arizpe was temporarily assigned to the investigations unit. He has adapted well to this assignment clearing 28 assigned cases. He also participated in a sex offender sweep, a juvenile warrant sweep, and general warrant sweep.
As you know, on August 3, 2006 an incident occurred at the fairgrounds that began with shots being fired into a crowd and ended as an officer involved shooting. The incident generated a large group of potential witnesses and an even larger crime scene of potential evidentiary value.
Before crime scene could respond, Deputy Frank Byrnes took control of the situation by securing and preserving the surrounding area. Nowhere was this ability more evident than in his handling of the fairgrounds shooting incident. Not only did Deputy Byrnes secure the initial crime scene area before crime scenes’ arrival, he continued to help process the scene and secure evidence when a second crime technician was unable to respond to the scene. He stayed until everything needed had been accomplished.
Deputy Byrnes is commended for his promptness, professionalism abilities, and proficiency in preserving and processing the scene.
Gary DeShon, Eddie Hicks,Stanley Sokolowski, Wayne Anderson, Jean Baptiste, Charles Bell,
David Burnette, Marty Burkleo, Brent Eaton, Marc Flowers, Steven Giordano, Charles Heinold, Marcel Hosein, Denetta Johnson, Frank Locascio, Nancy Lordy, Jason Lyda, Marc Mallow, Scott Miers, William Morgan, Christopher Nebbeling, Nelson Ojeda, Donald Palfrey, Dwana Phelan, Alan Reffsin, Joshua Roberts, Joanna Santamaria, Jason Shinn, Cedric Sotomayor, Roy Stevens, Kenrick Thomas, Maria Titherington, Kim Weisner, Michael Wendt, Clinton Williams,
On February 9, 2007, we received a very hostile and verbally abusive inmate who made numerous threats against our staff. We were unable to process this inmate due to these threats. There was a code red with two juveniles in dorm two and then a use of force resulted minutes later with one of the juveniles. Several hours later, we received another inmate who later became violent with the booking deputies and injuring one deputy. The deputy had to be transported to the hospital. A medical ASAP was called for B4D4 and that inmate was transported via EMS to the hospital. Another deputy was transported to the hospital for elevated blood pressure and abdominal pain. The meal carts were coming out at this time and chow was served on time. The headcount cleared on time and without incident.
During all this confusion, the staff remained very professional. Not one deputy hesitated to assist one another in getting these tasks done. The teamwork that the entire staff exhibited was commendable and it is what we train our staff to do. Teamwork and professionalism are essential parts of any shift and night two shift has shown they are more than up to the challenge.
Dennis Bernas, Dan Parrett, Richard Green, Tad Leroy, Paul McNesky, Todd Meslin, Craig Ortman, Mark Sarvis, Paul Taylor
The initiative and teamwork displayed by squad E has been nothing short of exemplary. In several cases suicidal subjects were prevented from following through with their threats, numerous stolen vehicles were recovered along with the perpetrators. Several major cases and in progress crimes have been solved through the diligent search efforts of the midnight squad.
One recent incident comes to mind. After an unknown male entered a residence in Port St. Lucie, he accosted the resident with the possible intention of rape.
Deputy McNesky was checking the area when he noticed a vehicle which was witnessed at a second burglary within the city which was also attributed to our suspect. While investigating the vehicle and occupant, he determined that the driver was our suspect. With the assistance of several members of the squad, the victim was brought to the scene and positively identified the subject as the one in her residence. He was subsequently arrested and charged. It was later determined that the same subject was responsible for several cases in the county and possibly throughout the eastern seaboard making him a potential serial rapist.
We appreciate the commitment displayed and the determined effort to work towards a common goal by all members of Squad E.
During the week of February 20, 2007 the Special Investigations Unit conducted a week-long drug reverse. This is when undercover detectives pose as drug traffickers and sell narcotics to “would be” buyers. When the Special Investigations Unit sets up these operations, an essential part of the plan is determining who will be the case agent. The case agent is in charge of organizing, gathering all paperwork, evidence, and identifying the needs of the operation. Detective Morales volunteered for this assignment.
The operation lasted for five days. During this time, the unit arrested 109 people on assorted felony charges. Detective Morales took charge of the operation and was ready and willing to do whatever it takes for the operation to be successful. He kept on top of the paperwork, organized the evidence, and gathered all the stats. As overwhelming as the operation was, Gary never shuttered. He remained calm and cool and did a superior job.
Dan Jones, Dan Parrett, Jason Cannon, Robert Funk, Tad Leroy, Todd Meslin,
David Snow, Ron Stickney, Paul Taylor, Russell Tucker, Officer Christine Davis (FPPD),
Officer Christopher Guadagno (FPPD )
On February 16, 2007, at 3:27 a.m., Deputy Ron Stickney was checking the parking lot of the Flying J Truck Stop. He observed a pick up truck with front end damage bearing an Arizona tag. Upon running the tag, 911 reported that the vehicle was stolen out of Wilcox, Arizona. A Hispanic male was sleeping inside the vehicle. At this time, Deputy Stickney advised dispatch that the vehicle was occupied and several units responded.
Once Sgt. Parrett and others arrived, they attempted to wake the suspect. The vehicle was locked and the suspect began to yell and curse the deputies. He stated he had a gun and a knife and that he wanted to kill himself. Deputies on scene could only see the suspect through the windshield. He was indeed holding a handgun to his upper throat with one hand and a knife to the other side of his throat with the other hand. He was ordered several times to exit from cover at gunpoint by the deputies on scene. However, he would not comply. Citizens sleeping in the surrounding vehicles were evacuated while other personnel kept the suspect busy with attempted negotiations. The parking area and roadways in the immediate area were closed by us and the Fort Pierce Police Department.
While covering the vehicle and the suspect, an attempt was made to break the side windows of the vehicle to gain access with two Fort Pierce Police canine standing by to enter the vehicle. This effort was useless because the unbreakable safety glass that is now utilized in some of the newer vehicles.
At this point, the subject finally exited the vehicle with both the knife and handgun still in each hand, pressed against this upper neck saying that he wanted to kill himself. Sgt. Parrett was able to establish a dialogue with the suspect and after several minutes convinced him to surrender and place both weapons on the ground bringing the dangerous confrontation to an end. As it turns out, the handgun was a 1911 45-caliber replica BB gun, however, the knife was real.
Deputy Sal Anicito has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office for nine years and is an irreplaceable asset to the School Resource Unit. He is currently assignment to Frances K. Sweet and Fairlawn Elementary schools. In addition to his daily duties, Deputy Anicito serves as the senior DARE instructor.
Deputy Anicito promotes the DARE program at the annual fair by organizing and staffing a booth dedicated to DARE. He assists in coordinating the Mets DARE day in which all DARE graduates in the county come together at Tradition Field to observe a minor league baseball game in their honor.
Deputy Anicito led an effort to bring the first DARE carnival to Fort Pierce in April. He organized all aspects of this event from scheduling the fair company to permitting and advertising. Most of the SRD unit participated in the 4-day event which drew 35,000-40,000 residents. This event had a positive impact on the community as well as raising thousands of dollars for the DARE program.