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 February 8th, 2008  
Sheriff Mascara to present agency awards Feb. 14
 
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara will present awards to members of the agency Thursday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m. at Sheriff's Office headquarters on Midway Road in St. Lucie County.

Here is a web link to a locator map:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=4700+W+Midway+Rd,+Fort+Pierce,+FL+34981&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.489543,58.447266&ie=UTF8&ll=27.375502,-80.372865&spn=0.009165,0.014269&z=16&iwloc=addr&om=0

Here are the details:

Fourth Quarter
Civilian of the Quarter -- Shelia Randazzo
Detective of the Quarter -- Santiago Martinez & Angela Flowers
Detention Civilian of the Quarter -- Helene Fego
Detention Deputy of the Quarter -- Peggy Wesley
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter -- Joseph Trevisol
Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter -- Shirley Lindstadt
Supervisor of the Quarter -- Rich Ziarkowski
Volunteer of the Quarter -- Jack Raisch
Yearly
Civilian of the Year -- Tammy Schwab
Detective of the Year -- Jon Verna
Detention Civilian of the Year -- Helene Fego
Detention Deputy of the Year -- Mary Lou Puchala
Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year -- Bob Margerum
Patrol Support Deputy of the Year -- Travis Cox
Supervisor of the Year -- Barbara Smith & Patrick Vachon
Volunteer of the Year -- Al & Laurie Pigozzi
Previous Quarters
Patrol Operations Deputy, 3rd Quarter -- Vincent Sokol

Civilian of the Quarter
Shelia Randazzo

We would like to recognize Mrs. Shelia Randazzo for the civilian of the fourth quarter. Shelia goes above and beyond for the success of the Christmas Families Program and School Resource Section.

During this past quarter, Shelia has worked extremely hard researching and contacting local businesses for Christmas Families donations. On many occasions, Mrs. Randazzo picked up the donations personally. After an age-group and food inventory, Shelia would make several shopping trips to buy gifts and/or food to fill in the gaps. Once all of the donations had been collected, sorted, and stored, Shelia then recruited volunteers to help with wrapping and distributing the presents.

Mrs. Randazzo had come up against many new obstacles and new challenges which she quickly overcame to ensure the success of the Christmas Families Program. The most challenging was that the number of needy families had doubled over last year.  Through the Christmas Families program, the Office was able to provide gifts to 375 children from 176 families. Through Shelia’s efforts, $31,000 was donated from members of our community for the program. And, during this time, she still served her primary role as the secretary to 35 school resource deputies and was able to manage the Christmas Families Program. This is a tremendous accomplishment to her dedication to this program.

 Civilian of the Year
Tammy Schwab

Tammy is what is known as a real team player. Most would never know all of the volunteer work she performs when the need arises.

Some of the projects Tammy assisted with during 2007 included several explorer events, the golf tournament, the bicycle safety event, and the accreditation conference.

She has taken on my responsibilities as the secretary/ treasurer for the Treasure Coast Chiefs and Sheriffs Association. The association meets every other month and is comprised of 80 law enforcement officials from the four-county area. For each meeting she sends out the meeting notice, arranges the menu for the luncheon, takes the minutes of the meeting, and balances the association’s checkbook.

She will do whatever it takes to complete any job.

Detective of the Quarter
Santiago Martinez and Angela Flowers

I would like to recognize Deputy Santiago Martinez and Detective Angela Flowers for Detective of the Quarter.

On September 13, 2007, the Special Investigations Unit embarked upon a large investigation. Various agencies identified an organized group of individuals who were involved in drug activity, money laundering, and fraud. Detective Santiago Martinez was assigned as the case agent. Detectives identified a business (Global Homes) with a group of approximately 25 suspects who were building residences with the sole purpose of cultivating marijuana. The group purchased the residences then constructed them to grow marijuana in excess of 100 plants in each house. These plants would harvest 70 to 100 pounds of extremely high grade marijuana, which sells for $6,500 per pound in markets all over the eastern seaboard, making revenue generated from each residence millions of dollars a year.

The second stage of the investigation was to identify and find the assets from the criminal enterprise. Detective Flowers diligently worked and identified bank accounts, property and vehicles which were being used to facilitate the criminal enterprise.

On November 27, 20 individuals were arrested for an assorted amount of felony charges along with a 50 count indictment, for charges of racketeering and RICO. These charges are commonly used to dismantle organized groups such as mafia organizations and drug cartels.  Seized during this investigation were over 500 marijuana plants, 400 pounds of marijuana, guns, cocaine, vehicles valued in excess of $250,000 and over $320,000 in cash. 

Detective Martinez and Detective Flowers were the driving force and responsible for the tremendous outcome of this investigation.

Detective of the Year
Jon Verna

During the past year Detective Jon Verna was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division. Though his primary assignment is the Domestic Violence/Misdemeanor Review Unit, he is also in the on call rotation for the Crimes Against Persons Unit.

Here are a couple of highlights of Detective Verna’s 2007 cases:

In February 2007, Detective Verna was assigned to investigate the solicitation to commit first Degree Murder on a victim of a high profile robbery. Through the use of confidential informants, Detective Verna was able to obtain a digital recording of the suspect making this solicitation. This led to the arrest of a suspect in reference to the charge of solicitation to commit first degree murder.

On August 2, 2007, members of the Office responded to the area of Cardinal Estates in reference to the shooting death of two people. Detective Verna was the lead investigator on this case. This investigation led to the arrest of the suspect (full confession) and to obtaining a search warrant for the crime scene. This case resulted in the suspect being indicted for two counts of first degree murder.

Detective Verna is a member of the Dive Team and an instructor with the Use of Force Training Staff.

In 2007, Detective Verna was assigned to investigate 540 cases, while maintaining an astounding clearance rate of 71.11%.  Detective Verna was recognized as Detective of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2007 for his excellent work. As illustrated above, Detective Verna has maintained this level of excellence throughout the entire year of 2007.

Detention Civilian of the Quarter & Civilian of the Year
Helene Fego

Since joining the classification unit, Helene has done a tremendous job in the hard and sometimes unpleasant tasks required to run an efficient classification unit.

For instance, maintaining the files for an average of 1,300 inmates a month. The speed at which this is accomplished is testimony to how she dedicates and manages her time to fulfill the office needs. The retrieval of old classification files from storage for litigation purposes are always found quickly and copied back to the requesting department. The mail runs are never late and picked up for other clerks when circumstances prevent them for doing the delivery.

Helene has made sure that the bond hearing information is gathered together and transported early each morning to the courthouse for first appearance. This paperwork has to be accurate and in the correct order to help the judge make the right decision on finding probably cause and giving out the appropriate bonds.

In addition, Helene has a great attitude and exemplary work ethic. A task is never too much and she can be relied on to accomplish any directive given to her.

Detention Deputy of the Quarter
Peggy Wesley

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Deputy Peggy Wesley as Deputy of the Quarter. Sgt. Brian Buchko has worked along side of Peggy as her peer for a few years and has had the privilege of becoming her supervisor within recent months. Deputy Wesley’s knowledge of her job and her dedication is exemplary. She consistently performs her job tasks at a rate higher than most of her peers and never complains. She always lends her expertise to others both within booking and in areas outside of her normal duties. Several times, Deputy Wesley has found and corrected mistakes that have saved the Detention Department both time and headache had it gone unnoticed.

Deputy Wesley is hard working and is reliable throughout the shift, performing all the tasks given to her without question or complaint. Deputy Wesley lends a certain spark to the shift that every one of her coworkers can appreciate. Deputy Wesley makes the mundane task of work seem leisurely and is a joy to work with. The Department of Detention values her as an outstanding employee and the backbone of the booking shift.

Detention Deputy of the Year
Mary Lou Puchala

The classification/confinement status unit has been operating with minimum staff despite an ever increasing level of inmates. 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.

Patrol Operations Deputy of the Quarter
Joseph Trevisol

Deputy Joseph Trevisol became a deputy sheriff in June 2005. He is a member of the training staff as well as the SWAT team.

Over the past three months, Deputy Trevisol has generated the following:

33 felony arrests
29 misdemeanor arrests
7 warrant arrests
15 traffic citations

Deputy Trevisol was enroute to a call on North Beach in reference to a reported shooting. Dispatch advised the suspect was driving a black SUV and was last seen westbound toward the bridge. Deputy Trevisol began observing traffic leaving the island and spotted a black Blazer. He conducted a traffic stop and placed the driver into handcuffs. A revolver was recovered from the front seat of the vehicle. Had it not been for Deputy Trevisol’s keen observation skills, the suspect may have gone unidentified.



 

Patrol Operations Deputy of the Year
Bob Margerum

Deputy Bob Margerum is assigned to the Traffic Unit and is an 18 veteran of the Office. He has become well known for his patrolling habits especially on Indian River Drive. It is not too often that one vehicle can make such an impact as D/S Margerum has but members of the Office often receive comments about his enforcement and he has even been posted on the internet.

For 2007 Deputy Margerum investigated 198 crashes, issued 158 citations and 33 written warnings. His activity has been the epitome of quality. The majority of the citations were in excess of 25 mph over the posted limit! D/S Margerum’s traffic enforcement also rounded up 46 additional criminal traffic violations ranging from reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident to DUI. He made two traffic stops that resulted in the confiscation of 296.5 grams of cocaine, 28 grams of marijuana, 6 warrant arrests, and several other drug related felony charges. From his traffic enforcement efforts, D/S Margerum made a large impact on the local drug operations and helped the Special Investigations Unit turn up valuable information that aided their investigations. D/S Margerums traffic law knowledge is often used by the local magistrates for his insights into the traffic laws. These accomplishments and qualities are the reason that Deputy Bob Margerum has been awarded the honor of Deputy of the year.

 Patrol Support Deputy of the Quarter
Shirley Lindstadt

Deputy Shirley Lindstadt transferred from an Elementary School setting to a High School setting in August of this year. The transfer from an Elementary School setting to a High School can oftentimes be a challenging experience to say the least. She immediately began compiling different training programs. One of which was a training video called “Consequences”, which is about a senior in high school who went out drinking at a party and ended up driving drunk and causing an accident in which two people were killed and the lone survivor was seriously burnt over 98% of her body. The video displays the traumatic accident and struggle of the survivor and realistic “Consequences” of a young man who is currently serving a 25 year prison for his actions. Deputy Lindstadt also shared her personal stories of investigating horrific accidents during her tenure with the Florida Highway Patrol.

The results were very obvious shortly afterward, because there were no noted fatalities or serious accidents during several Homecoming events, which took place within just a few weeks after her presentation.

Deputy Lindstadt has displayed a high level of dedication to the community as well. She has spent several years as a board member of the Mako Soccer league. During her tenure she has coached, assisted and became a cherished mentor to many young children.

Patrol Support Deputy of the Year
Travis Cox

Deputy Cox has been in Court Security since January of 2003. He has consistently shown what an asset he is to the unit. In his service as the assigned deputy for the 7th Street Courthouse, he and Deputy Steve Harless have ensured a safe and appropriate judicial environment for judges and magistrates, as well as judicial staff, defendants and public alike.

In Court Security, what really makes a difference is how deputies offer themselves to service. Given the environmental and geographical confines of Deputy Cox’s assignment, he must make arrangements to do much more than is expected, letting supervisors know of any potential problems, and keeping the Sheriff’s Office in a positive light. The 7th Street Courthouse has a high number of people who pass thorough the doors and Deputy Cox handles the load with ease. Monitoring both the courtrooms, inmates and coordinating with DJJ with juvenile inmates, Deputy Cox still remains proactive. This year Deputy Cox has served 149 civil papers; fingerprinted 748 people; collected 228 DNA samples; 29 arrests, and transported 600 inmates to and from court.

Deputy Cox has been instrumental in the planning and design of future courtroom space. Deputy Cox is very dedicated and loyal.

Supervisor of the Quarter
Rich Ziarkowski

There are unique challenges associated with the position of crime prevention supervisor. It requires a person who not only can carry out the mission and goals of the Sheriff but someone who can easily relate to the public. Sgt. Z oversees one of the largest volunteer programs on the Treasure Coast and the enormous responsibility of several high profile crime prevention programs. The unit serves the crime prevention needs of county residents and businesses.

During the fourth quarter, Sgt. Z represented the sheriff by hosting two episodes of the 10-8 Show, appeared twice on WTCE where he discussed the importance of crime prevention and appeared in a public service announcement regarding personal safety. These television appearances were and are still viewed by thousands of county residents.

    He was responsible for bringing the residents of Portofino Shores together and establishing a neighborhood watch program. The community completed the required classes in this quarter. This community has witnessed less criminal activity since the community banded together.

Supervisor of the Year
Barbara Smith

Sgt. Barbara Smith started volunteering her time with the Explorer Post in 1990 and is currently the senior advisor for Post 400. Throughout the year, she coordinated 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.

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. Congratulations.

Supervisor of the Year
Sergeant Patrick Vachon

Sgt. Patrick Vachon has proven himself to be a leader and an asset to the Detention Department.

In April his actions and instructions to staff were essential in preventing an attempted suicide from succeeding. His ability to remain calm, perform and instruct responding staff helped keep their composure at what was a very messy, blood covered scene. His leadership was the key in preventing a death while maintaining the integrity of a crime scene.

In June, he organized and executed a contraband sweep of both the Alpha and Delta wings, housing over 1,100 inmates. Not only was the resulting contraband amount huge, much of this contraband was needed by the supply section to be re-stocked.  More importantly, the entire action was completed with no inmate related incidents, no use of force, and no disciplinary reports issued, which is not the typical results we normally have in these situations.  

Numerous times throughout the year, Sgt. Vachon was responsible for completing the lieutenant’s duties as well as his own for extended periods.

It is for these reasons we are recognizing Sgt. Patrick Vachon today as the supervisor of the year.

Volunteer of the Quarter
Jack Raisch

Mr. Raisch is an ordained Catholic deacon who has served as a chapel volunteer to the inmates at the jail for the last ten years. He conducts weekly chapel services for our Catholic inmates and heads up a team of Catholic volunteers that assist him with the services. He is also our liaison with the local Catholic parishes in St. Lucie County that do jail ministry.

He schedules various priests to conduct mass and hear confessions. Jack also does pastoral counseling and ministry on a one-on-one basis for the inmate population. Deacon Raisch is one of the auxiliary chaplains who takes emergency calls for our deputies and staff when there is a crisis and our staff chaplain is out of the area.

Jack has been a real team player with the Sheriff’s Office in his many capacities both to our staff and the inmates at the jail. He is a very outgoing person, who always has a smile and kind word to pass on to whomever he comes in contact with. He is well thought of by the inmate population who see him as a great mentor and a good shepherd.

Volunteer of the Year
Al and Laurie Pigozzi

Pastor Al Pigozzi has been an active chapel volunteer since the fall of 2004. Initially, he put together a Friday night service for substance abusers entitled “celebrate recovery.” It was not long before he became aware that many of the inmates in his services had no place to go once they were released from jail. He opened his first half-way house in 2005. Pastor Pigozzi became very active in helping the men find work and providing transportation to and from work. Soon his half-way house expanded to a total of ten homes with several more in the development stages.

Responding to a big gap in the number of homes for women seeking help, Laurie Pigozzi opened two half-way houses. Laurie also assists with the Tuesday night women’s service at the jail. She is planning to offer a bible study for the women in our drug dorm at the jail. Al and Laurie have been pioneers in the development of community-based recovery ministries along the Treasure Coast.

Al and Laurie are the ‘real deal’ when it comes to assisting those in need. He or one of his staff have made many midnight trips to the jail to pick up a person being released who had nowhere to go. They have helped hundreds obtain work and reconnect with their families.
 
Al is also an auxiliary chaplain who steps up and takes calls when the senior chaplain is out of the area.

The biggest asset these two possess is their commitment and willingness to help individuals rebuild a life of meaning and hope.

For these reasons we are recognizing Pastor Al and Laurie Pigozzi today as Volunteers of the Year.

 

Commendation
Tracy Gillespie

Deputy Tracy Gillespie keeps the other deputies motivated while on the job. She’s always looking for ways to improve her work performance. When she completes headcounts, she makes sure every inmate is in the assigned bunk and has everything authorized by policy. She’s on the go displaying care, custody, and control of her assigned area.

She designed a chart to assist booking with assigning inmates in Pod Delta Two West. She was tired of reassigning inmates from the floor to a bunk or their proper bunk after the first headcount, so she came up with a chart with every available bunk in the pod. She keeps the inmates taken care of in the pod. Thank you for taking the initiative to ease the workload for everyone.

 

Commendation
 Michael Hocker, James O’Brien, Mark Nyman, Kim Weisner

On November 9, 2007 at about 1815 hours, Deputy Kim Weisner was alerted to an inmate attempting to hang himself. She immediately notified and dispatched her floor deputies, Michael Hocker and Mark Nyman. Deputy James O’Brien was in the area and also responded. They found the inmate with a noose tied around his neck hanging from the upper bunk. They rapidly called for assistance and began rendering aid to the inmate. The dorm was secured and the noose was removed prior to medicals arrival.

Commendation
Gary Gonsalves

Gary has developed a pro-active crime prevention initiative by filming a series of public service announcements and filming parts of the 10-8 Show that airs on St. Lucie County Television. These public service announcements address crime trends and give preventative measures that can be taken. Gary does not have any formal training in videography or editing. He is self taught and spends countless hours during his off time researching and learning all he can to produce quality work. Professionals who have seen his work are amazed at the quality.

Additionally, Gary has several other responsibilities within the crime prevention unit. He attends many of the homeowners’ association meetings as a liaison for the Sheriff. During the year he attended 53 homeowners meetings, 5 neighborhood watch meetings, 3 COP meetings and gave several presentations to civic organizations.

Gary is often placed in charge of the office during Sgt. Ziarkowski’s absence. Deputy Gonsalves’ 23 years of experience and knowledge of crime prevention has made the sergeant’s job easier.

Commendation
David Waugh

On January 6, 2008, Florida Highway Patrol arrived at the jail with an unruly inmate. Deputy Waugh spoke to the agitated inmate and began to remove the inmate from the car. At that time, Deputy Waugh noticed the inmate’s wrists were bloody. The inmate became aggressive and Deputy Waugh took him to the ground for his safety. The trooper had found two knives on the inmate and recovered a third from his car. A medical ASAP was called and first aid was performed to stop the bleeding from the inmate’s wrists. Deputy Waugh is commended for a job well done.

 

Commendation
Dan Arcentales,
Christopher Cheslock, Lucius Harris, Johnny Hubbard, Doug Laury, Ed Oxley, Dexter Scott, Cory Todd, Robert T. Wolff

These deputies demonstrated exceptional achievement and teamwork to complete all tasks without incident or injuries. They did it without complaining, with great regard to safety, policy, and procedures.  The transportation unit accomplished the following in 2007:

Court transports – 18,291
DOC transports – 660
Outside medical transports – 216
Re-admits – 908
Reserve stings – 1,375
Warrants – 698
Trustee work details – 1,161
New Horizon to court – 68
Males transported – 20,558
Females transported – 3,288
Juveniles transported – 357
Total inmates transported – 24,203
Total miles driven – 132,644

Exceptional Duty
Tracy Agin

Tracy is currently assigned to the Department of Finance and Technology / Purchasing Unit.

At the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) referred Tracy to the School Resource Deputy Unit to assist in a video presentation entitled “Consequences.” Tracy’s personal experiences with drunk drivers and their impact on her family would become invaluable to us as a tool to reach our high school students in an effort to educate them about the dangerous reality of driving while intoxicated.

Deputy Shirley Lindstadt and Tracy worked together in numerous presentations throughout the county’s high schools. Tracy willingly shared her personal experiences of losing her mother to a drunk driver and her sister’s arrest the same night for driving under the influence. Tracy’s courage knew no bounds as she shared her painful account of the events that unfolded the night her mother was killed. The impact could be seen on the faces of each student in the audiences.

Words cannot describe the dedication that Tracy has to educate others about the dangers of driving drunk. One would not fault her for a decision to not speak of that night. But that is not Tracy’s character. She is willing to step up and share her story so that others would not have to experience the pain and horror that she had to face several years ago and every subsequent day of her life.
 
Distinguished Service Award
Timothy Peregoy

Mr. Peregoy noticed a suspicious vehicle go north along the ditch bank just east of Atlantic Coast Recycling. He called 911 to report the suspicious incident that turned out to be a burglary in progress. Without the help of Mr. Peregy the three persons responsible would still be on the streets. Thank you for taking the time to call 911.

crime stoppers