St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara will preside at agency awards ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m.
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will present life saving awards, deputy and civilian of the year awards and other awards at a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m. at Sheriff's Office headquarters at 4700 West Midway Road.
Here are the award recipients:
Civilian of the Quarter: Ed Walko Detective of the Quarter: (name withheld, deputy is undercover) *Detective of the Third Quarter: Ron Barton, Sue Woodward *Detention Civilian of the Third Quarter : Charles Strickland Detention Deputy of the Quarter: James Willingham Detention Supervisor of the Quarter: Brian Buchko Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter: Andrew Soesbe Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter: Darrel Murphy *Patrol Support Deputy of the Third Quarter : Richard Doss Volunteer of the Quarter: Rita Gonsalves, Sharon Hill *Award recipients from previous quarters
Admin./Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Year: Adam Goodner Civilian of the Year: Ashlee Mayr Detective of the Year: (name withheld, deputy is undercover) Detention Civilian of the Year: Charles Strickland Detention Deputy of the Year: David McKeever Detention Supervisor of the Year: Brian Buchko Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year: Ron Stickney Patrol Support Deputy of the Year: Michelle Hernandez Volunteer of the Year: Sharon Hill
Life Saving : Adriano Krecic, Steve Wise Combat Cross: *Angela Flowers Exceptional Duty: Donna Carmichael, Julie Casals, *Michelle Hernandez, Melissa Sangster Commendation: *George Dean, *Erin Flanagan, Heather Jackson, Trevor McKnight, *Ron Messina, Sal Anicito, Explorer Post 400, Kathryn Bryant, Betty Scheely Unit Citations: Human Resources: Lori Pereira, Kim Briglia, Mary McCaffrey, Cheryl Sands Records: Jean Bridges, Jo Burger, Dottie Cardillo, Anita Dalia, Carrie Fage, Kay Long, Diana Morgan, Carrie Rayl, Melissa Sangster, Natalie Smith, Esther Thelusma Distinguished Service (Citizenry): Christopher Gable
*Award recipients from previous quarters
Here are the details:
Distinguished Service Christopher Gable
On December 2, 2012 Deputy Randy Tucker was dispatched to Sanibel Avenue as a backup with regards to suspicious activity.
The complainant, Christopher Gable, advised dispatch that while hanging his Christmas lights he observed two males near an abandoned residence acting in a suspicious manner.
Upon arrival, it was immediately evident that the two males were involved in illegal activity and taken into custody. The investigation revealed the two subjects were involved in a burglary in Martin County in which a 2013 Toyota Camry was stolen. The subjects were in the process of striping the vehicle when Mr. Gable observed them and contacted 911, ultimately leading their arrest and recovery of the vehicle.
Mr. Gable is a great example of what can be accomplished when citizens work together with law enforcement to help safeguard their neighborhoods.
Civilian of the Quarter Ed Walko
Our fleet maintenance personnel have the task of maintaining our entire fleet. They must familiarize themselves with each piece of equipment we own. Ed Walko has been assigned to fleet maintenance since 2006. Ed is often called upon to complete the most complex tasks in the garage. He displays a vast knowledge of fabrication abilities which are an invaluable asset to our agency.
One very notable project was completed in 2012. It was our multipurpose rescue vehicle. Ed was able to convert a standard issued military four-wheel drive truck into a truly amazing rescue vehicle. Although the other team members in the garage assisted him, it was his engineering and expertise that was used to accomplish this project. Ed juggled many duties and responsibilities while finding time to complete this vehicle. Thank you.
Civilian of the Year 2012 Ashlee Mayr
Ashlee Mayr's exemplary efforts before and after being awarded the civilian of the second quarter are worthy of continued recognition.
In August 2013, the senior Explorer advisor was on leave for almost two months. Ashlee asked if she could assist in Explorer activities to help fill the void of Deputy Anicito. She facilitated the Explorer calendar, attended events that did not require a deputy, and attended an Explorer delegates conference with the Explorers as an advisor.
Ashlee continues to assist the Patrol Operations Division when needed, and recently has begun assisting the I.D. Unit in scanning fingerprint cards and verifying entries. She has also filled in at the traffic unit.
During this quarter, she continued to help with the PPE Kit project assisting in issuing gear and keeping all records up to date. She conducted driver's license checks for all COP members to ensure compliance with Florida law and agency policy.
In October, the Florida Crime Prevention Association recognized the unit as the 2012 Crime Prevention Unit of the Year. The success of this would not have been realized without Ashlee's suggestions and participation.
In the midst of Ashlee's professional endeavors, she managed to complete her college studies in November and graduated with a Master's in Science Degree in Business and Human Relations.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter Andrew Soesbe
Deputy Drew Soesbe has been with the office since December of 1999. When not responding to calls for service, he conducts traffic stops, foot patrols, warrant checks, and follows up on previous calls that may have required additional investigation.
During the fourth quarter, Deputy Soesbe produced the following statistics:
14 – felony PC arrests 8 – misdemeanor PC arrests 8 – misdemeanor warrants 21 – traffic citations 40 – verbal/written warnings 4 – notice to appear 33 – reports
One highlight for the quarter occurred on November 21 when Deputy Soesbe was dispatched to Atlantic Coast Recycling in regards to subjects possibly trying to sell stolen property. During this investigation, Deputy Soesbe was able to clear two burglaries that occurred in St. Lucie County. During these burglaries, the suspects stole property valued in excess of $500. The suspects then took the stolen property and sold it at the recycling company. Deputy Soesbe was able to get a confession from both suspects in this case after Miranda Warnings were read. Deputy Soesbe returned the stolen property to its rightful owner.
Deputy Soesbe has a positive influence on his fellow deputies and the public. Thank you for all you do.
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year Ron Stickney
Master Deputy Ron Stickney has over 26 years of law enforcement experience. He was recognized as patrol operations deputy of the third quarter.
On December 3, there was a bolo for a missing female and a vehicle description that was read in briefing. The female had been reported missing to the Fort Pierce Police Department. Master Deputy Stickney patrolled a remote and isolated area near Torpey Road when he came across the vehicle of the missing female. He requested assistance as he was not immediately able to locate the woman. Other deputies and canine arrived. After a canine search, the female was found in the woods. She advised she had been out there for several days.
If it had not been for Master Deputy Stickney's diligent efforts and professional standards, this story may have ended with the tragic death of the lady.
Master Deputy Stickney is not only identified in our agency as a professional but also by other agencies in the criminal justice system.
We thank him for your professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication.
Detective of the Quarter and the Year 2012 (Name withheld because deputy does undercover work)
Detective (undercover deputy) began his career with the Sheriff's Office in 2003 where he was assigned to the Department of Detention. Later, he transferred to Patrol Operations, and he 2010 he was assigned to SIU.
At the time, the unit lacked the technical expertise to maintain undercover video and audio equipment. (Undercover deputy) educated himself and explored new equipment to help improve the quality of the investigations, while saving the agency several thousand dollars. Because of his technical development, the video and audio quality has resulted in the State Attorney's Office having quicker prosecutions and a higher percentage of case clearances.
In May 2012 (undercover deputy) took on additional responsibility as a canine handler. (Undercover deputy) has gained the confidence and respect of his canine to the point where she works a majority of the time without being on a leash. This canine team is highly active with regard to searches for our agency as well as others.
During the last quarter, (undercover deputy) produced 37 arrests on multiple felony charges and 31 arrests on misdemeanor charges, hundreds of traffic stops and numerous citizen encounters. On December 19 he was involved in an officer-involved shooting where he again demonstrated his courage and professionalism. The actions that he took during the shooting helped protect the lives and safety of the public as well as other law enforcement officers.
(undercover deputy) is currently enrolled in courses working toward his associate's degree as well as advanced investigative classes.
Administrative/Law Enforcement Supervisor of the Year 2012 Adam Goodner
Sgt. Adam Goodner's normal duties include providing mid-level management of the Technical Services Unit, Evidence Unit and Identification Unit. Additionally, he is the commander of the Crisis Negotiation Team. While doing these things, he functions as the lead driving instructor and cold case investigation team leader.
Last year, several cold-case homicide investigations were reopened, and Sgt. Goodner coordinated these cases.
Sgt. Goodner has reorganized the work flow and increased communication within the Identification Unit. He was instrumental in getting the scanning process up and running in the unit as well.
Sgt. Goodner served as a member of the OSSI Core Team (our new report writing system) and provided training for agency personnel.
Life Saving Steve Wise, Adriano Krecic
On Nov. 9, 2012, Deputies Steve Wise and Adriano Krecic responded to the 3500 block of South Ocean Drive regarding a mentally disturbed male who was walking naked along the beach. Upon arrival, they spoke with the male, who was extremely mentally disturbed. Deputy Wise went to take him into custody when he ran into the ocean.
For approximately 45 minutes, the deputies tried to talk the man out of the water. The man would shout from the water, "I want to go back to New Horizons; call my wife down here." While attempting to get the subject out of the water, his wife arrived. At that time, the subject submerged himself and attempted to drown.
Deputis Wise and Krecic entered the waist deep water, made contact with the subject, and successfully rescued him. The subject was then transported to the hospital under the Florida Baker Act. Were it not for the efforts of Deputy Wise and Deputy Krecic, the mentally ill and suicidal man would have died. Thank you for a job well done.
Exceptional Duty Julie Casals, Melissa Sangster
Detective Ed LeBeau was assigned a sexual battery investigation with very few leads. The incident took place in a remote area of St. Lucie County in the early morning hours of Oct. 24, 2012. The female victim escaped her attacker by climbing a fence onto the Florida Turnpike and flagged down traffic for assistance.
Before regular work hours, Detective LeBeau contacted Melissa Sangster to compose two photo line-ups of possible suspects to show the victim. Melissa used several computer databases and not only located the suspect vehicle but also located traffic citations issued to the suspect in the same vehicle believed to have been used in the sexual battery.
Melissa found a telephone recording of the suspect contacting the Port St. Lucie Police Department requesting information regarding a woman he met on the internet, once week after the incident took place. Melissa obtained the recording of the phone conversation. She talked to the officer who spoke to the suspect and discovered that the officer completed a transaction report listing the suspect's name, Charles Koch, and the vehicle he was driving.
At the scene of the incident a pay stub and an aluminum can were recovered. The suspect's name was on the pay stub, and a fingerprint was lifted off the can. However, there were no criminal records or fingerprint information for the suspect.
Melissa learned that Charles Koch had a lewd and lascivious exposure of sexual organs charge as a juvenile. She was able to get the only set of fingerprints for the suspect from the Martin County Clerk of the Court.
This was one way the suspect was definitively linked to the incident. It enabled Detective LeBeau to obtain search warrants for the suspect's DNA and his vehicle.
DNA evidence was located in the suspect's vehicle that linked the victim to the vehicle. DNA evidence was also recovered from the victim's clothing, linking the suspect to the victim and the scene of the crime.
Julie Casals from our Crime Lab was contacted. Without Julie's excellent skills and the ability to quickly complete the DNA analysis in a timely manner, the suspect in this case might have continued to prey on the women of St. Lucie County. The DNA testing results Julie provided ensured a solid case against Charles Koch.
Because of Julie Casals' and Melissa Sangster's dedication, professionalism, and unique skills the suspect was arrest for sexual battery.
Exceptional Duty Donna Carmichael
Several months ago, Donna began preparing herself to take a test to achieve recognition as a certified latent fingerprint examiner by the International Association for Identification (IAI.) She sought this certification because there seems to be a national trend where the courts are more closely scrutinizing the qualifications of witnesses who testify during latent print identification cases.
Certification through IAI is based upon the candidate's personal and professional record of qualifications as well as an examination. This examination consists of a three-part written test to include the applicant's ability to compare and identify latent prints and an oral board testing relating to the ability to accurately and effectively communicate principles and findings.
Donna spent several months studying and preparing for this examination. Historically, the pass rate has been at or below 50 percent nationally. On Jan. 23, she received notification she passed the latent print examination and will receive her actual certification. She has earned our congratulations.
Detention Civilian of the Third Quarter and Year 2012 Charles Strickland
Charles Strickland has been employed with the agency since 2006. He has proven to be a valuable asset. He is very astute and conscientious.
One of his highlights last year was advising his supervisor about the inappropriate activity between an inmate and a volunteer. Mr. Strickland's attention to detail and intuitiveness to investigate suspicious activity is very beneficial. He has trained numerous new civilian clerks in the lobby, and they have since gone to different areas within the agency.
Mr. Strickland is the consummate professional. He has worked with numerous partners over the years, and we have never received one complaint against him. The switchboard area is an extremely busy area and can be a highly stressful place to work; however, Mr. Strickland's wonderful sense of humor keeps tension down and morale up at the switchboard.
Detention Deputy of the Quarter James Willingham
Sgt. James Willingham has been assigned to the Department of Detention since November 2008. When given a mission, Sgt. Willingham develops and pursues a course of action to complete the task.
In addition to his regular daily duties as a jail maintenance deputy, Sgt. Willingham managed to use his work crew sufficiently and effectively to assist with preparations for the Florida Model Jail Standards inspection. They took on extra details and facility projects in preparation for this inspection. During the inspection, we received many compliments on the cleanliness of our facility.
No job is too big or too small for Sgt. Willingham. He is always there to assist. He takes pride in each and every assignment given to him.
Detention Deputy of the Year David McKeever
Deputy David McKeever has shown himself to be a strong team player. He is always offering assistance without one asking. He takes command of a situation. His dominance in stressful situations has calmed many circumstances that could easily escalate to possible inmate or deputy injury.
He brought prior experience to the job, which has been a strong asset to all. He is viewed as an outstanding deputy with his supervisors and staff. He has added to his experience by taking additional classes and training to better his skills.
According to his supervisor, Deputy McKeever is one of those few deputies who with little to no supervision always excel at his position.
Detention Supervisor of the Quarter and Year 2012 Brian Buchko
Sgt. Brian Buchko is one of the most selfless supervisors Lt. Dan O'Brien has seen Sgt. Buchko often biting off what appears to be more than he can chew, but somehow getting it done flawlessly and in a timely manner.
Sgt. Buchko's areas of responsibility include: mandatory training for certified, civilian, and contracted personnel, and volunteers; management of the 324-hour detention FTO program; management of the jail's inmate telephone system, which consists of 240 phones; management of the inmate video visitation system, consisting of 125 inmate and visitor stations, FAST-PAST visitor management, and facility key control.
Sgt. Buchko has assisted with overseeing the wiring of the property room expansion, the SecurPass room, and the nurse's station in booking which was completed in a few days.
Sgt. Buchko was assigned as the project manager for the inmate video visitation upgrade. The video visitation upgrade had been in the planning stages for 10 years. The project was very intricate and normally would be managed by someone of higher rank.
Sgt. Buchko managed the stem installation inside of our 186,000 square foot security facility with ease, while maintaining his previously assigned duties.
Commendation Deputy Trevor McKnight, Heather Jackson
The Sheriff's Office hosts an annual clergy appreciation luncheon each year in October. For the October 2012 luncheon, Deputy Trevor McKnight created a DVD for the event.
Deputy McKnight produced a professional quality video, including designing and making a case for the DVD, making over 350 copies of the DVD. Much of the work was done on his own time.
Heather Jackson was instrumental in making over 350 covers for these DVDs. She had to print, size, cut, and assemble each case, as well as organize and assist with the distribution of the disks.
Their combined efforts saved the agency at least $6,000. Thank you both for your hard work and dedication.
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter Darrel Murphy
Deputy Darrel Murphy is assigned to work at the Delaware School in Fort Pierce. This school is unique. It is an alternative school setting for students with a wide range of social, emotional, and learning issues. Many of the students are incapable of functioning in a traditional school setting due to behavior issues that often require the intervention of Deputy Murphy.
Almost on a constant, daily basis, Deputy Murphy is forced to put his police and personal diplomacy skills to work dealing with students that often behave in such a way that requires them to be removed from the school either by arrest or Baker Act.
Deputy Murphy serves as a member of the Underwater Search and Recovery Team. In November he planned and created a multi-agency, one-day training program for members of the office as well as other agencies from Palm Beach County.
Recently, he has been working with the Gang Intelligence Team and has been involved in the team's street operations.
In addition to his normal assignments, Deputy Murphy performed the duties of Explorer advisor while Deputy Anicito was out on medical leave this quarter. Deputy Murphy scheduled and attended Explorer meetings. He was the lead mentor for the youthful members of the group.
He served the Explorers in a number of off-duty events and functions providing direction and guidance. The hours he put in were numerous and in addition to his regular duties as a school resource deputy. As always, he performed utmost professionalism.
Patrol Support Deputy of the Year 2012 Michelle Hernandez
Deputy Michelle Hernandez was with the School Resource Unit for four years. In mid-2012 she transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division. Prior to her transfer, she was recognized as patrol operations deputy of the first quarter.
One highlight during that quarter took place on March 26. It was one of the most tragic days in St. Lucie County history. A school bus with over 30 students was involved in a major traffic crash. Michelle responded to the scene and was called upon to reprt to Lawnwood Hospital to work with other agency members and the victims' family members.
She was compassionate and professional and called upon her experience as a victim's advocate. On an extremely trying day for all, she performed above and beyond the expected level of professionalism.
On Sept. 19, 2012, Detectives Angela Flowers and Michelle Hernandez were assigned sex offender checks. During one of their checks, the defendant became highly aggressive, so much so that he injured Detective Hernandez's hand and fingers, and he broke Detective Flowers ankle. Detective Hernandez received a meritorious service award for her actions. This award is also being presented at today's ceremony.
In addition, Detective Hernandez serves as a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team.
Deputy Hernandez deserves our congratulations.
Volunteer of the Quarter Rita Gonsalves
Rita became a member of the Sheriff's Office as a part-time clerk in March 1999, went full time in 2000, and was promoted to the position of secretary for the Crime Prevention Unit in 2001. Rita then retired on January 31, 2006.
During her retirement, Rita found pleasure taking care of her grandchildren and volunteering with fraternal organizations. Somewhere along the way, she realized she missed the office environment and the comradeship. Rita expressed these feelings and acted upon the suggestion to become a volunteer.
With the new project of scanning, Rita eased the burden of the staff by putting her office skills back into action, assisting the Human Resources Unit one morning a week. Soon, the staff in Records realized the prize that HR had and asked Rita if she would be willing to assist them as well. Once again, Rita stepped up to the plate and agreed to give Records four hours a week as well.
In Human Resources, she not only scans but does not hesitate to answer the phones, greet the public at the window, or assist an employee with a simple request. Quite often, Rita surprises her co-workers with her home-baked sweet treats as well.
Rita Gonsalves is truly an asset to the agency.
Volunteer of the Quarter and YEAR Sharon Hill
Sharon Hill has been a volunteer with our agency for about three years. She has spent almost her entire time volunteering with the School Resource Unit.
In the fourth quarter of 2012 the unit's secretary was forced to be away from her duties for an extended amount of time for an unforeseen circumstance. Sharon stepped up and filled in for this vital position.
In addition to volunteering during regular office hours, Sharon also volunteered in a number of extra roles by putting in time at the annual NOPE Candlelight Vigil and working with the SRDs on Halloween night with Pumpkin Patrol.
Sharon also assisted with this year's Christmas families toy drive, which was a tremendous success. Sharon spent time gathering information of families in need, collecting donations, and shopping for presents. Sharon spent hours organizing, coordinating, and preparing for the day when people would come together to wrap the collected gifts.
Sharon is truly a team player and has become a valued member of the school resource unit.
Commendation Betty Scheely, Kathryn Bryant
On December 17, 2012, Citizens Observation Ptrol members Betty Scheely and Kathryn Bryant were on patrol in the Spanish Lakes Riverfront community when they noticed a vehicle on fire in the clubhouse parking lot. The driver was still inside the vehicle. They immediately call 9-1-1 and reported the fire. Before the Fire Department arrived, Ms. Scheely stated that two unknown men came running over to the burning vehicle and helped the victim out. Once the Fire Department arrived, they put out the fire.
Thanks to Betty and Kathryn and the two unknown men, the victim was saved from the burning vehicle.
Commendation Sal Anicito and Explorer Post 400
The task of providing meaningful law enforcement services is a complex endeavor. The ever-changing needs of our society require professionals to be on the cutting edge of knowledge and skills. Most often, these skills are used for the detection and suppression of crime.
It is only when we become proactive in the prevention of crime and other self-destructive activities that we experience the true meaning of service.
The Narcotics Overdose Prevention Education (N.O.P.E.) vigil held on Oct. 25, 2012, was the pinnacle of public service. Bringing together law enforcement resources to comfort, encourage, and provide hope to those who are hurting is the best of what we have to offer as human beings and as an agency.
Deputy Sal Anicito and representatives of Sheriff's Explorer Post 400 played a significant role in touching the lives of those who gathered for this solemn occasion. All who were present felt the tremendous burden borne by many in the room. It was difficult to imagine the impact on the young lives of the Explorers.
Deputy Anicito's dedication and leadership as well as the hard work of Explorers from Post 400 should not go unnoticed. The sincerity, respect and professionalism shown by each of the Explorers not only reflect well on each of them, but also reflect on Deputy Anicito's leadership as well as the mission and values of the Sheriff's Office.
Human Resources Unit Citation Kim Briglia, Mary McCaffrey, Lori Pereira, Cheryl Sands
During the past year, the members of the Human Resources Unit have received a total of 152 applications for job postings for various entities of the Sheriff's Office. Out of these applications they processed and hired 46 individuals. Then they processed 38 members who retired and resigned.
These are just a couple of the tasks that the Human Resources personnel handle. They work hand-in-hand with all members of the agency to assure their benefits are being used in the manner which is required by the employee. This, in itself, is a complicated undertaking. On a daily basis a problem arises with insurance or some question about our benefits. These women work tirelessly to address the issue and resolve it.
Lt. Scavuzzo has observed these women working hard to assist our personnel and perform in the highest level of service. We thank them for all that they do.
Records Unit Citation Jean Bridges, Jo Burger, Dottie Cardillo, Anita Dalia, Carrie Fage, Kay Long, Diana Morgan, Carrie Rayl, Natalie Smith, Esther Thelusma
During the fourth quarter, the Records Unit received and verified 3,130 original offense/incident reports as well as 342 follow-ups. These reports and follow-ups are coded and counted for the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system and then verified for accuracy by the members of the Records Unit. In addition to receiving the offense and incident reports produced by the agency, the unit receives every arrest affidavit from the jail.
The unit is tasked with the job of filtering through each arrest affidavit and determining if it is to be counted for UCR. The unit received 2,704 arrest affidavits for the fourth quarter. If the arrest is one that was originated by the Sheriff's Offic, then the arrest affidavit is scanned into the OnBase system and indexed so that it can be retrieved for future reference. Along with arrest affidavits, the Records Unit scans and indexes every attachment for original offense reports.
They are now in the process of scanning past case files into OnBase so they may continue to access these records for years to come without maintaining the actual paper copy.
For the fourth quarter the Records Unit scanned and indexed a total of 5,685 documents. The main function of the Records Unit is to assist the public, either by mail, phone, fax, or in person at the window. They answered 1,120 record requests along with answering numerous phone calls and requests from individuals within the agency.
These women are always willing to assist any and all entities of the office with reports, crime reporting issues, and questions. = = =
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