WATCH: Brevard Sheriff’s Office Award Ceremony Highlights Heroic, Inspiring Acts of Valor
By Space Coast Daily // March 9, 2019
SPACE COAST DAILY TV SPECIAL PRESENTATION
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily TV is was live at the 2019 Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony where, below, Alan Zlotorzynski was on the Red Carpet conducting interviews with the honorees.
DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Mike Spadafora
CORRECTIONS DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Lorenzo Hutchinson
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: Crime Scene Investigator Stephanie Haas
LUCY ROSS AWARD: Agent Meghan Cornett
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Charles Rutkowski
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Laura Neville
RESERVE DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Fernando Dominicis
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Mike Kelly
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Sheriff Wayne Ivey and his Command Staff hosted the annual Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony on Friday evening at the Church of Viera.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey issued this statement about the awards ceremony:
On behalf of the nearly 1,600 members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to personally thank the family members, friends and community leaders that have taken the time to join us for our Annual Awards Ceremony.
Your attendance and continued support for the outstanding men and women of our law enforcement profession is greatly appreciated by all of those who serve this community.
This is an opportunity to recognize the truly impressive actions of our agency members, volunteers and citizens who work each and every day to make Brevard County a safe place to live and raise our families.
While these recipients are being recognized for their outstanding achievements, they represent only a small percentage of the amazing work that the members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office collectively accomplish each year.
The event’s emcee, Commander Greg Purden, had the honor of introducing all of our award winners and a beautiful video presentation prepared by our friends at Space Coast Daily will share the stories of their amazing accomplishments during 2018.
As Sheriff of Brevard County, I get to see firsthand the incredible accomplishments that our team members achieve, but tonight it is our privilege to share with you how each act of courage, valor and passion made a difference in someone’s life.
I hope you enjoyed the event and remember, it takes a community to protect a community! This year’s award recipients are nothing less than your community’s real-life Superheroes!
Thank you again for attending and for all of the tremendous support you continue to give our agency.
2018 DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Mike Spadafora
The recipient was selected from one of the Deputies of the Month for 2018. This individual will receive a special gift from the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
After observing an online advertisement where a subject was inquiring about persons who were interested in necrophilia and cannibalism Agent Mike Spadafora jumped to action. Assuming an undercover role, Mike began an online conversation with the subject, advising he had access to a young female child.
Over the following days, the suspect described in great details his desire to murder and have sexual relations with the dead child’s body. The subject requested the child travel to Texas where the subject would meet them to commit the horrific acts upon the child.
Mike then traveled to Texas to meet the subject where an arrest plan was developed using multiple local, state and Federal agencies. During this time, Agent Spadafora continued to communicate with the subject who was arrested as he traveled to the meeting place.
Located on the subject at the time of arrest were a knife and plastic garbage bags. In his interview, the subject confessed his desire to kill and dismember the child. He completed his statement by thanking the agents for arresting him which prevented him from following through on his uncontrollable urges to harm a child. The subject was charged in State and Federal Court with multiple felony crimes and is awaiting trial and faces a sentence of life in prison.
This subject is one of the most dangerous and demented suspects the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has ever arrested. We may never know how many children were saved due to the incredible work done in this investigation.
For his unending passion in protecting children from sexual predators and his unparalleled expertise in this realm of investigation, Agent Mike Spadafora is being recognized as the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year.
2018 CORRECTIONS DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Lorenzo Hutchinson
The recipient was selected from one of the Corrections Deputies of the Month for 2018. This individual will receive a special gift from the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson was the Officer-In-Charge of a felony housing unit conducting a security check when he observed an inmate exit his cell on the upper tier of the catwalk with a sheet tied around his neck. The inmate rushed to the metal railing and secured the other end of the sheet to the railing before climbing over and standing on the ledge.
Corporal Hutchinson immediately rushed to the inmate while engaging him in conversation to establish a rapport in an attempt to “talk the inmate down.” As Corporal Hutchinson cautiously approached the inmate, Corporal Hutchinson’s partner, Corrections Deputy Stewart, also began to engage the inmate in conversation which served as a distraction in order for Corporal Hutchinson to move within feet of the inmate.
The inmate, intent on taking his own life, suddenly released his grip on the railing and leaned backward, which would have assuredly resulted in the inmate’s death. Placing the inmate’s life above his own safety, Corporal Hutchinson lunged forward and grabbed the inmate’s arm to prevent him from falling.
Corporal Hutchinson desperately clung to the inmate with one hand, while hanging onto the railing with his other arm in an effort to prevent them both from plummeting off the top tier. Corrections Deputy Stewart then sprinted up the stairs to the top tier and assisted Corporal Hutchinson in pulling the inmate back over the railing to safety.
For his actions, it is with great pleasure we recognize Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson as the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Deputy of the Year.
2018 EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: Crime Scene Investigator Stephanie Haas
The recipient was selected from one of the Employees of the Month for 2018. This individual will receive a special gift from the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
In August 2018, Crime Scene Investigator Stephanie Haas initiated a “firearms testing program” for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and specifically through the Crime Scene Unit (CSU). The program consists of our agency being trained by FDLE Laboratory personnel to test fire all firearms and capture two cartridge casings from each test fire.
The cartridge casings are then sent to FDLE to be entered into the nationwide NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) system, which matches cartridges from firearms to criminal investigations. One of the greatest benefits of the program is the quick turnaround for results. Instead of waiting for six to nine months from the time of delivery of the firearm to FDLE, results are received within days since agency personnel now only have to send the cartridge casings.
CSI Haas coordinated with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the BCSO Training Unit, the BCSO Evidence Unit as well as other agencies, to coordinate the implementation of the program.
She scheduled the training of agency personnel through the FDLE Laboratory Firearms Section. Additionally, CSI Haas coordinated/scheduled range time for the ongoing program and coordinated with the Evidence Unit for the transfer, tracking and disposition of firearms.
She also coordinated with the Evidence Unit to identify any firearms stored in evidence that have not been tested and initiated the testing of all firearms currently identified for disposition. Since the start of the program in November of 2018, the firearms testing program has test fired over four-hundred firearms, with four identified as being used in other crimes.
For her initiative in implementing this valued program, CSI Stephanie Haas is being recognized as the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year.
LUCY ROSS AWARD: Agent Meghan Cornett
This award signifies that the recipient has consistently demonstrated throughout their career the same qualities demonstrated by the late Sgt. Lucille (Lucy) Ross during her career.
The criteria requirements are dedication to community service, excellence in profession, compassion and high level of caring especially concerning children, and being of service to crime victims and their families.
As an Agent, Meghan Cornett has spent many hours investigating some of the worst crimes against children, but she still felt a desire to do more. In 2017, Agent Cornett became a Big Sister through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Florida.
Meghan volunteers each month mentoring, guiding, and directing a young female within our community. She takes great pride in being a Big Sister and for the past two years has made a significant difference in the life of her Little Sister. Through years of mentoring and leading, Meghan has been credited with helping her Little Sister improve not only academically and socially but in many other ways that will help her be successful in life.
Meghan also serves on the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. This committee meets on a regular basis and provides input on better ways to serve domestic violence victims within the community.
Even with this busy schedule, Meghan finds time to volunteer as team manager for a competitive soccer team through the Space Coast United Soccer Club. Meghan’s dedication and passion is very evident in both her personal and professional life. For her work in serving child victims and their families, mentoring children, and her volunteer service to the community, Agent Meghan Cornett is being recognized as this year’s Lucy Ross Award winner.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Charles Rutkowski
This award signifies that the civilian recipient has made a significant contribution to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office by volunteering for the Citizens Observer Program or other volunteer program within agency. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to have 241 active volunteers.
Charles Rutkowski is assigned to the Citizens on Patrol and volunteers over 40 hours a month at South Precinct. Charles covers the front desk and completes many other duties such as transporting vehicles to fleet maintenance, picking up supplies from Central Logistics. Charles has been volunteering with BCSO since 2011 and his job knowledge has vaulted him to trainer position for all new COP’s who join our team.
Charles does not limit his volunteerism to just the Sheriff’s Office, he also volunteers his time to his neighborhood community and spent several years as a volunteer for the Melbourne Police Department prior to joining the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. His superb performance sets the standard for others to emulate and we are very proud to recognize Charles Rutkowski for his dedicated service by awarding him the Volunteer of the Year award.
2018 COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Laura Neville
The recipient was selected from one of the Communications Officers of the Month for 2018. This individual will receive a special gift from the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Whether Laura is answering a call for assistance or dispatching a call, she consistently shows herself to be a leader and is conscientious when lives or property are in jeopardy. On April 5, 2018, at 9:07 pm, not just one, but two of these situations simultaneously presented themselves. While Assistant Supervisor Neville was working at the North Radio position, two significant calls presented at the same time.
The reckless driver crashed and the occupants fled on foot. Assistant Supervisor Neville immediately declared emergency traffic while the deputy pursued the occupants on foot. She documented the updated locations and copied all additional responding units, to include the K9s and aviation.
She checked with surrounding agencies to see if they had any incidents related to this vehicle, which was determined to be stolen and notified the entering agency of the recovery of the stolen vehicle. While continuing to log the activities on her primary radio as deputies searched for the third occupant who fled from the vehicle, she also monitored a secondary channel regarding a separate stolen vehicle.
As the deputies on her alternate channel were following the vehicle from the second call, Neville documented their radio traffic as well as the transmissions on her primary radio. The units on the second call conducted a felony stop and advised the suspect was detained.
Laura Neville is considered one of the best in the business by her peers and supervisors, she is committed to excellence and possesses a sincere desire for service to the citizens of Brevard and the entire law enforcement community.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Mike Kelly
This recipient is a member of the community selected for outstanding service and commitment to the citizens of Brevard County and for continued support of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Twenty-two years ago during the Christmas season, Mike Kelly noticed a giving tree that had eight remaining names on it. Mike decided to take those names home with him and was able to convince a few friends to buy presents for the families in need.
And so began, “Kids without Christmas.” The giving has not missed a beat since that first Christmas and continues to grow each year. The group depends on an annual fundraiser, donations from generous community members and businesses’, as well as local groups such as the Brevard County Public Safety Charity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Circles of Care, Serene Harbor and many more to support the effort.
Kids without Christmas spends approximately $125.00 per child, sometimes more, depending on the circumstances. Each and every child receives six pairs of socks, underwear, one or two full outfits, and whatever else they asked for on their list….within reason of course.
Volunteers begin purchasing the gifts in early December and hold an annual “wrapping party” on the Sunday before Christmas, the same day the families pick up the gifts. In 2018 over 8000 presents were wrapped for over 600 kids making Christmas the joyous day it is meant to be.
Along with his daughter, friends and volunteers, they have raised somewhere in excess of a million dollars, serving thousands of kids in our community. Mike is always in the background, never asking for anything more than to see the smiling faces of the grateful families when they pick up gifts for their children.
It is with great pleasure that we honor Mike Kelly as the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office “Citizen of the Year.”
PARTNERSHIP AWARD: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Brevard
This award signifies that the recipient has consistently demonstrated dedication to strengthening the relationship of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office with the community it serves through loyalty, honor, professionalism and community involvement.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Team is fortunate to work with dozens of rescue partners and community members throughout the county, the state and even nationally.
However, with all of our amazing partners, one clearly stands head and shoulders above them all, the SPCA of Brevard.
Since assuming Animal Services in October of 2014, this group has consistently been standing proudly by our side to mentor, encourage and provide whatever help was needed.
In late 2016, the decision was made to close our north animal shelter that was located in Titusville. The shelter was a converted residence that was in disrepair, was unhealthy for the animals and for our employees.
Closing the shelter was the right thing to do, but we needed to find a way to continue providing services to our north county residents. The answer, you guessed it, the SPCA.
The SPCA stepped up and offered office space for one of our employees as well as all of the resources necessary to bring in and care for stray, neglected and abused animals.
As if this wasn’t enough, they have also helped to save the lives of over 1100 animals by pulling them from our shelter and finding them forever homes. The SPCA of Brevard has been helping and protecting Brevard’s homeless animals for more than 30 years and it is without reservation we recognize this fine organization with the Partnership Award.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD: Corporal James Darville
This employee consistently demonstrated a willingness to volunteer to serve his/her community with selfless devotion, putting others first, and has had a profound impact on the lives of others.
Corporal James Darville has served as the School Resource Officer for Space Coast Jr/Sr High since 2015. He does not see his role solely as a deputy who is on campus to monitor for safety.
He genuinely cares about every student and is always available to assist, guide, and mentor any student in need. You might think this makes Corporal Darville sound like officer friendly.
However, in a school of 1600 students, there also has to be that element of respect for authority. Principal Sylvia Mijuskovic stated, “He has mastered the delicate balance between respect for law enforcement and the positive rapport that should exist with youth.”
Corporal Darville has a unique relationship with the students often playing surrogate dad to some of the neediest kids. He has been known to go home after work, change into his Viper attire, and return to work to root on the kids he’s mentoring, be it at a football game, basketball game or wrestling.
Corporal Darville has been instrumental at the school in the success of the “Speak Out” tip line where students can report incidents of bullying or criminal activity.
In an era where we are challenged to gain the respect owed to law enforcement and teachers, it is heartwarming that people like Corporal Darville do their job embracing and embodying our mission to serve the students of Brevard County.
2018 RESERVE DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: Fernando Dominicis
The recipient was selected from the 52 Reserve Deputies currently volunteering with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. This individual will receive a special gift from the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association.
Deputy Fernando Dominicis retired from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in May of 2016, with over 30 years of valued and dedicated service. With an inspirational desire to continue his service to the citizens of Brevard, he immediately became a member of the Reserve Unit.
Deputy Dominicis had previously served on the SWAT Team for over 22 years as a Team Leader, Hostage Negotiator, and a Technical Team member specializing in communications support. He also served the agency as an Agent for over 24 years. As a Reserve Deputy, Deputy Dominicis continues to support the SWAT Team and work within Criminal Investigative Services.
In 2018, Deputy Dominicis volunteered nearly 500 hours for our agency and citizens. Efforts that include charity events and dignitary protection details. Deputy Dominicis worked a protection detail for Vice President Mike Pence while he was visiting the Kennedy Space Center and often provides security services for Congressman Bill Posey all at no cost to our citizens.
Deputy Dominicis is always in the background, never seeking attention or recognition and is an absolute professional who proudly provides his services and expertise to assist in the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies and Staff alike are excited to see him on scene as his smile and enthusiasm are contagious!
2018 DEPUTIES OF THE MONTH
The recipients were selected from the 521 Sheriff’s Deputies who work as Patrol Deputies, Court Deputies and Investigative Agents throughout the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Agent Don Reynolds
Agent Don Reynolds began a homicide investigation into a brutal murder that occurred in Mims. Although the suspect was identified early in the investigation, there was limited evidence. Agent Reynolds interviewed dozens of witnesses, poured over telephone records linking the suspect and victim and meticulously pieced together the time before, during and after the victim was murdered. Investigative efforts linked numerous witnesses to the suspect and victim, as well as providing their current addresses. The investigation would span an entire year before the case was presented to the Grand Jury in February of 2018 where the suspect was indicted on a charge of murder. The suspect is currently in jail awaiting trial.
Corporal Jose Santos and Deputy Kelly Dobson
In February of 2018, Corporal Santos and Deputy Dobson were dispatched to a call in reference to a man who was attempting suicide. Deputy Dobson arrived on scene first and met with the witness who advised her husband was inside the residence acting irrationally and cutting himself with a box cutter. Corporal Santos arrived minutes later and the two deputies approached the residence in an attempt to make contact with the suicidal male. As they neared the house, the male appeared in the doorway, holding the box cutter with apparent self-inflicted injuries.
The deputies ordered the male to exit the residence and drop the weapon. Ignoring their commands, the male rushed toward the deputies with the bladed weapon, at which time Deputy Dobson deployed her Taser; knocking the male to the ground. The male quickly returned to his feet; however, and again rushed the deputies holding the weapon. Deputy Santos was left with no other choice other than to use deadly force to stop the threat from the armed subject.
Although Corporal Santos and Deputy Dobson were faced with imminent personal danger, they attempted to resolve this incident using less lethal force. The subject’s actions, however, left the deputies no other choice than to use deadly force. Both Corporal Santos and Deputy Dobson are awarded a Bar of Merit.
Agent Harry Bermudez
On March 7, 2018, Agent Harry Bermudez was assigned an investigation where the victim was convinced by a scammer to send three wire transfers, totaling over $250,000 to the Bank of China in Hong Kong. The suspect claimed to be with the Drug Enforcement Agency and convinced the victim that his bank account had been compromised.
To avoid losing his money, he was told he needed to transfer the funds to the Bank of China and his money would be returned to him in a different bank account. A short time after completing the wire transfer, the victim realized he was a victim of fraud and contacted the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office for assistance.
Due to Agent Bermudez’ quick follow-up on the case, he learned the victim’s wire transfer had not yet reached the Bank of China and was momentarily positioned at another financial institution. Although the bank representative stated it was unlikely the victim would recover his funds, Agent Bermudez realized the suspect had not yet received the wire transfers.
Without delay, Agent Bermudez contacted the “Duty Agent” with the United States Secret Service who he maintained in contact with throughout the investigation. Agent Bermudez successfully coordinated the investigative effort between the United States Secret Service and the Hong Kong Police Department.
As a result of Agent Bermudez’ persistence and determination, the suspects were not successful in their plan to steal more than $250,000 and all of the funds were returned to the victim. For his outstanding work, Agent Harry Bermudez has been awarded a Bar of Merit.
Deputy William Hammer
In April 2018, BCSO was advised of a vehicle pursuit that started in Indian River County and was traveling north into Brevard. The suspects were operating a stolen vehicle that had been taken during an armed carjacking and were reportedly armed with semi-automatic handguns.
Deputy Hammer became the lead car in the pursuit that eventually traveled through the cities of Palm Bay and Melbourne. A Melbourne officer was able to successfully deploy stop sticks; however, the suspect continued driving. Knowing the severity of the crime and potential threat these armed suspects posed to the community, Deputy Hammer successfully executed a PIT maneuver, overcoming the suspect’s attempt to counter the move, eventually bringing the pursuit to an end.
Both suspects were taken into custody and a handgun was recovered from the vehicle. Through a coordinated investigative effort, the suspects were charged in Indian River County with the armed carjacking incident.
Deputy Hammer did an outstanding job in bringing two violent suspects to justice and is being awarded a Bar of Merit for his efforts in this case.
Agent Sean Hawkins, Agent Jonathan Amick and Sergeant Jacqueline Hearon
Agents Sean Hawkins and Jonathan Amick culminated an investigation into a major drug trafficking organization. The investigation led to the issuance of twelve search warrants and twenty-three felony arrest warrants where they seized vehicles, firearms, kilograms of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine as well as $52,000 in cash.
The investigative efforts of these two agents led to the dismantling of a large drug trafficking organization and removed lethal amounts of dangerous drugs from the community. The criminal organization was also involved in money laundering.
Due to the complex nature, Sergeant Jacqueline Hearon was recruited to assist due to her extensive knowledge of economic crimes. She tracked the illegal proceeds of the group and issued numerous subpoenas that enabled her to obtain information that assisted with the issuance of multiple search warrants. For their outstanding efforts, Agent Hawkins, Agent Amick and Sergeant Hearon are each receiving a Bar of Merit.
Deputy Peter Chamberland and Deputy Michelle Kolker
In June 2018, Deputies Chamberland and Kolker responded to the area of Murrell Road in Rockledge after a male was struck by lightning. Despite the dangerous conditions of the storm, both deputies came to the aid of the victim.
Working together, the deputies began administering CPR to the victim despite multiple lightning strikes in the area. Upon the arrival of additional personnel, the victim was moved from the open area of the sidewalk to the side of a nearby Brevard County Fire Rescue vehicle where Fire personnel continued the rescue efforts.
The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition but had a strong pulse. Deputy Chamberland and Deputy Kolker placed their own safety at risk while providing expedient medical care that was instrumental in saving the victim’s life.
Field Training Officer Kevin Sherrill
In September 2018, FTO Sherrill responded to the Double Tree Hotel in reference to a suicidal male who was reportedly in the process of cutting himself while standing on one of the balconies. Upon entering the hotel room, a suicidal male was observed climbing over the railing to the outside of the balcony.
FTO Sherrill rushed toward the male, grabbing him by the arms as he let go of the railing attempting to fall six stories to the concrete pool deck. Each time an attempt was made to pull the male over the railing he would push away in hopes of falling to his death. FTO Sherrill summoned the hotel maintenance worker, who was in the room to assist, at which time he grabbed the male around his upper body. After several attempts, the male was safely pulled over the railing and back inside the room. The male was subsequently transported to the hospital for mental evaluation.
Without the quick response of FTO Sherrill to rush toward the male and grab his arms, he surely would have fallen to his death from the sixth story balcony. His actions put his own safety at risk in saving the life of this suicidal male. For his actions, FTO Sherrill is being recognized with a Life-Saving Award.
Agent Marissa Wright and Agent William Yearty
Agents Wright and Yearty distinguished themselves in their outstanding work, successfully handling multiple investigations that were conducted during the month of August 2018. The two agents worked together and played a key role in locating a missing endangered female juvenile who had been lured away by a 40-year-old man who took her to South Florida.
The agents also worked together in a stolen vehicle investigation that led to the closure of multiple vehicle burglaries, two residential burglaries and the recovery of a substantial amount of stolen property. During the interview of the suspect, the agents were able to gain a confession to an armed burglary as well as the location of the stolen firearm.
Additionally, Agent Wright uncovered an organized retail theft ring that was committing thefts along the east coast of Florida. Through her investigative efforts, multiple suspects were identified and arrested and information was exchanged with other law enforcement agencies who utilized the evidence to place additional charges on the individuals for crimes in their jurisdictions.
Agent Yearty was also successful in uncovering a significant organized theft ring that involved employees at a local retail store. The investigation revealed employees would remove security devices from items and place them throughout the store to be taken at the end of their shift or allow other customers to take the items without paying. It was determined, through the confessions gained by Agent Yearty that up to $16,000 of merchandise had been taken by this group.
For their outstanding dedication to duty in conducting these investigations, Agents Wright and Yearty are each awarded a Bar of Merit.
Corporal Breean Lewis
In September 2018, while assigned as the School Resource Officer at Cape View Elementary, Corporal Breean Lewis observed a parent in the car loop who she knew had a suspended driver’s license. Corporal Lewis approached the male and asked him to step outside of the vehicle. The male did not comply and attempted to drive forward. Corporal Lewis again ordered the driver to place the vehicle in park, which he did.
As the subject bent forward towards the glove compartment, Corporal Lewis observed a small black handgun in his lap. Corporal Lewis opened the driver’s door and ordered the male to stop reaching forward. When the driver refused, Corporal Lewis grabbed the firearm with one hand while restraining the subject with her other hand.
She was able to escort the subject away from the vehicle and place the firearm on the dashboard of the car and out of reach. As Corporal Lewis attempted to place the subject on the ground, he began to physically resist, intentionally striking her in the chest. With the assistance of a backup unit, Corporal Lewis was able to detain the subject without further incident.
An examination of the suspect’s firearm found that it was fully loaded, and a second magazine was found within the vehicle. Follow-up investigation determined that the subject was a convicted felon and was arrested for multiple felonies.
Corporal Lewis prevented a potentially dangerous situation on school grounds, keeping all four hundred students and staff safe during the incident. She is awarded a Bar of Merit for her actions in addressing this armed subject.
Agent Mike Spadafora and Agent Aja Stake
Agent Mike Spadafora observed an online advertisement where a subject was inquiring about sexually abusing and murdering a child. Agent Spadafora began conversing with the subject in an undercover capacity, where the suspect asked Agent Spadafora and a child to travel to Texas where he could commit these horrific acts.
Agent Spadafora traveled to Texas in furtherance of the investigation while maintaining online contact with the suspect. Agent Stake used her expertise to identify the suspect through an analysis of information provided during the online conversations. The suspect was taken into custody without incident through a coordinated investigative effort between federal and local law enforcement agencies.
The suspect was charged with multiple felonies by both the state court and federal court and is awaiting trial, facing life in prison. As a result of Agent Mike Spadafora and Agent Aja Stake’s investigation, one of the most dangerous suspects the Sheriff’s Office has ever addressed was arrested. Both Agent Spadafora and Agent Stake are receiving a Bar of Merit.
Agent Wendy Wheeler
In 2017, Agent Wheeler began an investigation into the unfortunate death of an eight-month-old infant. Initial investigation revealed the father of the infant routinely slept with the child in his bed while wearing Fentanyl patches that had been cut in half. The Medical Examiner ultimately determined that the infant died from a lethal dose of Fentanyl.
During the ten-month investigation, Agent Wheeler continually met with and gained information from the Medical Examiner, toxicology experts and the pharmaceutical company that makes the patches. This information was then provided to the State Attorney’s Office in order to prove that the infant’s death was caused by the infant coming in contact with the Fentanyl patches that had been cut. Agent Wheeler ultimately obtained arrest warrants for both the mother and father for the charge of manslaughter.
Agent Wheeler demonstrated exceptional dedication and perseverance during the investigation of this tragic death. For her extensive work in closing this significant investigation, she is awarded a Bar of Merit.
Deputy Joseph Wynn
On December 8, 2018, Deputy Joseph Wynn was in the Tampa, Florida, area for his monthly service as an active Member of the United States Air Force Reserve’s Security Forces. Deputy Wynn was off-duty and driving his personally owned vehicle when he observed a man running after a vehicle and shooting a handgun at it. Deputy Wynn also observed another man lying on the ground, holding his abdomen.
Deputy Wynn immediately followed the vehicle until it pulled into a gas station and he made phone contact with the Tampa Police Department’s 911 Communications Center. Deputy Wynn relayed what he was observing, where the injured person was and where he was located. Deputy Wynn was able to park his personal vehicle in a manner that allowed him to remain in sight of the suspect vehicle.
He observed the shooter exit the vehicle with the handgun and conceal it in his waistband. Deputy Wynn remained on the phone with the emergency operator giving constant updates until officers with the Tampa Police Department arrived at the business. The officers were able to locate the suspect and successfully conduct a felony takedown.
Shortly after giving a sworn statement on the scene, the Tampa Police Department case became a homicide investigation and officers requested Deputy Wynn go to their headquarters to speak to the lead detective. Deputy Wynn immediately responded to their headquarters and assisted in the homicide investigation.
Deputy Wynn’s determination and perseverance lead to the arrest of a violent offender and closure of a homicide investigation and he is awarded a Bar of Merit.
2018 CORRECTIONS DEPUTIES OF THE MONTH
The recipients were selected from the 307 Corrections Deputies who serve in the Jail Complex.
Corporal Craig Salie, FTO Michael Alley and Corrections Deputy Willian Pujol
Corporal Craig Salie, Field Training Officer Michael Alley and Corrections Deputy Willian Pujol responded to a medical emergency of an unresponsive male after attempting suicide. All three deputies worked together to remove the inmate from the cell and place him on the dayroom floor.
They immediately initiated CPR with Deputy Pujol administering rescue breaths while Corporal Salie and FTO Alley alternated with chest compressions. Throughout this stressful situation, each demonstrated teamwork by remaining calm, professional, and focused on their attempt to rescue the inmate. Corporal Salie, FTO Alley and Corrections Deputy Pujol are also each receiving a Commendable Service Award for their efforts.
Sergeant Juan Rodriguez and FTO Michael Nettles
Sergeant Juan Rodriguez and Field Training Officer Michael Nettles responded to an unresponsive male. Sergeant Rodriguez and FTO Nettles assisted in determining the male only had a faint pulse with very shallow breathing and his lips were turning blue.
As BCFR arrived on the scene, FTO Nettles also secured the scene and began to obtain witness statements while attempting to identify the individual. After medical attention by rescue personnel, the man was stabilized and transported to a local hospital where he later made a full recovery.
Corporal Jason Greene
While conducting a security check, Corporal Jason Greene was alerted to a broken shower light that had left electrical wires exposed. Realizing the missing and broken pieces could be fashioned into homemade weapons that posed a threat to officers and inmates, he acted quickly and secured all inmates in their cells.
He collected all of the remaining pieces and requested that surveillance footage be viewed to determine the cause of the broken fixture. Two suspects were identified and given additional charges for criminal mischief. Corporal Green is to be commended for his attention to detail and quick action.
Corrections Deputy Chad Crawford
On April 10, 2018, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were actively pursuing two suspects who had fled from a stolen vehicle in the area of Port St. John. Deputy Crawford was off duty at the time, at his residence, when he observed STAR flying overhead and began to follow the progress of the search via his radio.
As the chase continued, one suspect was taken into custody; however, the second suspect continued to flee in the direction of Deputy Crawford’s residence. Knowing that there were no deputies on his side of the ditch line that the suspect would need to cross, Deputy Crawford left his residence and assumed a position to intercept the suspect.
As the suspect came out of the ditch, Deputy Crawford was able to make the apprehension with minimal force. Due to Deputy Crawford’s determination and willingness to assist, this felony suspect was arrested and the stolen vehicle was returned to the owner. For his actions, Deputy Crawford is awarded a Bar of Merit.
Correction Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson and Corrections Deputy Lawrence Stewart
During a routine security check, Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson noticed an inmate who was attempting to commit suicide by jumping off the top tier of the cellblock. The inmate had one end of a bed sheet tied around his neck and the other end tied around the railing on the upper cat walk.
While Deputy Lawrence Stewart distracted the inmate, Corporal Hutchinson ran up the stairs, lunged out and caught the inmate by his right arm. Corporal Hutchinson with the assistance of Deputy Stewart, was successful in pulling the inmate back to safety. If not for the quick actions and response of Corporal Hutchinson and Deputy Stewart, this inmate might have successfully completed his attempt. Both Corporal Hutchinson and Corrections Deputy Stewart are also receiving a Life-Saving Award for their actions.
Corrections Deputy Bryan Mercer
Deputy Bryan Mercer was assigned as Booking Officer when he received an arrestee charged with drug paraphernalia. While having the inmate change into a jail issued uniform, Deputy Mercer conducted a thorough search and discovered a concealed bag of cocaine. Deputy Mercer is to be commended for his diligence, thorough search technique and for preventing dangerous contraband from entering the Jail Complex.
Corrections Deputy Tyler Frazee
As a Court Movement Officer, Deputy Tyler Frazee was escorting inmates when an inmate passed out and struck his head against the floor. Although he had only one year of experience, Deputy Frazee remained calm and attended to the unconscious inmate, who appeared to be having a seizure.
Deputy Frazee quickly removed the inmate’s handcuffs, placed him in the recovery position and put a clean uniform under his head to prevent any further injury. He applied direct pressure to the head wound until relieved by jail medical personnel and Brevard County Fire and Rescue. Deputy Frazee is to be commended for his quick actions and ensuring the safety and security of the injured inmate.
Lieutenant Brock Maggie
Lieutenant Brock Maggie responded to a critical incident involving an inmate needing immediate transport reference to seizures. With the inmate having no previous medical issues, Lieutenant Maggie reviewed video footage. During this review, he witnessed the inmate manufacture a concoction of hoarded medications.
Lieutenant Maggie made appropriate notifications to ensure everyone was aware of the circumstances surrounding the inmate, including hospital personnel. The inmate made a full recovery and Lieutenant Maggie is be commended for his initiative during this critical incident.
Corrections Deputy Brandon Leach
In September 2018, Corrections Deputy Brandon Leach was requested to assist the Palm Bay Police Department in the investigation of an attempted sexual battery of an 87-year-old victim, where the offender had broken a window to gain entry to the residence and fled on foot after the crime was committed.
Corrections Deputy Leach and his K9 partner Rollin were asked to run a suspect track from the residence of the victim. Although fourteen hours had elapsed since the incident, K9 Rollin followed a track that led to a residence that was approximately a mile from the crime scene.
Located at this residence was a male subject who had injuries that were consistent with the reported incident. The subject was arrested on a probation violation and subsequent investigation through DNA and fingerprint evidence confirmed that the subject was the perpetrator of this violent crime.
For his expertise and dedication to duty, Corrections Deputy Leach is awarded a Bar of Merit for his efforts in removing this violent criminal from our community.
Corporal Eric Firmin
Corporal Eric Firmin was receiving an inmate and was addressing the large amount of property accompanying the inmate. Corporal Firmin conducted a thorough scan and search through all the items, locating several items of contraband the inmate was attempting to bring into the jail complex to include a cellular telephone.
Due to Corporal Firmin’s attention to detail, he was able to prevent this contraband from entering the Jail Complex. Corporal Firmin is also receiving a Commendable Service Award for his efforts.
Corrections Deputy Ray Short
Deputy Raymond Short has played an integral role in the establishment of the OSHA 10 program at the Jail Complex due to his construction background and knowledge of OSHA regulations. As an OSHA instructor, he has certified approximately 100 inmates.
This certificate greatly assists inmates in the ability to work in the construction industry upon their release by providing them with a basic understanding of construction work site safety and injury prevention. Corrections Deputy Short is to be commended for his making this program a success, in addition to performing his other work responsibilities.
Corrections Sergeant Karl Pischinger, Corporal Edward Shear, Corrections Deputies Jason Rogers and Corrections Deputy David Buonocore
Sergeant Karl Pischinger, Corporal Edward Shear and Corrections Deputies Jason Rogers and David Buonocore, were tasked with the massive undertaking of a complete remodeling of the Jail Complex Visitation Center. These deputies completed this challenge while demonstrating exceptional planning and teamwork.
They actively coordinated with multiple contractors and organized the new layout of the building to improve quality and efficiency. While the project was being completed and the Visitation Center was closed to the public, they also developed an alternative way for the family members to visit inmates, ensuring operational continuity. They are to be commended for the planning and completion of the Jail Complex Visitation Center.
2018 EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH
The recipients were selected from the 426 civilians who serve in numerous capacities throughout the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Analytical Support Specialist Laura Cline
Analyst Cline was an intricate part of the successful resolution of a homicide investigation. She assisted by linking numerous witnesses with the suspect and provided information to locate these persons from as far away as New York and Colorado where by investigators were able to complete interviews to further the case. She also was instrumental in obtaining court orders for location data.
This information corroborated leads and assisted in developing a timeline that was successfully used in the Grand Jury presentation. Her attention to detail, organizational skills and dedication to the team effort of investigation were essential to assisting in the closure of this case. She is also receiving a Bar of Merit for her extensive work and determination that led to the closure of this significant investigation.
Analytical Support Specialist Dana Shabaneh
An investigation was initiated to safely approach a large number of people embarking on a dance music festival cruise that is known for an overwhelming amount of drug activity. Analyst Dana Shabaneh spent countless hours researching social media, internet websites, previous arrests and other sources in an effort to identify passengers carrying illegal drugs.
The information was vital and led to forty-six arrests of passengers attempting to transport drugs onto the ships. For her dedication and thoroughness during this operation, she is also being awarded a Commendable Service Bar.
Payroll Benefits Coordinator Katey Benne and Training Coordinator Diane Giordano
Each year the Sherriff’s Office completes an audit to ensure all employees are registered in the Automated Training Management System. The audit results reflected a 100% accuracy rate. Diane and Katey were absolutely critical to the process; tracking training and education for all personnel and entering the data into two systems.
The task of keeping accurate records in these systems ensures our deputies receive the educational and training incentives and certification recognition. For their attention to detail, both are also being recognized with a Commendable Service Bar.
Public Service Aide Kayte Herman
PSA Kayte Herman was conducting routine patrol when she observed a vehicle partially submerged in a canal. As she approached the vehicle, she observed an elderly couple trapped inside and unable to exit on their own. PSA Herman entered the canal assisting the passenger, who had just been released from the hospital and unable to walk before returning for the driver.
The amount of muck and visibility in the canal along with the limited mobility of the couple greatly increased the difficulty of the task. PSA Herman’s actions during this incident far exceeded the expectations of a Public Service Aide and for her actions she is being awarded a Commendable Service Bar.
Customer Support Specialist Stephany Thomas
The Customer Support Specialist Stephany Thomas receives all guests at the Animal Care Center. She is patient, allowing people to feel comfortable whether they are at the shelter to adopt or surrender an animal. Stephany also has displayed a unique skill when it comes to investigating stray and lost animals.
In one particular case, Stephany researched a microchip that was implanted in Okinawa, Japan and was able to find the owner who had been relocated with the military. Stephany has been instrumental in diverting nearly 77% of the animals whose owners had made surrender appointments from coming into the shelter, ensuring that these animals find homes rather than staying at the shelter. Saving animals is her passion and she is also being recognized with a Commendable Service Bar.
Evidence Technician Katie Moran, Evidence Technician Robyn Brant and Analytical Support Specialist Laura Cline
Evidence Technicians Katie Moran and Robyn Brant, along with Analyst Laura Cline have demonstrated unparalleled compassion and determination assuring that found cremains were identified and returned to their loved ones, or if none were found, receive a proper resting place rather than remain on an evidence shelf. In one such case, they were determined to provide a proper burial for a veteran.
Using the resources of the Veteran’s Administration and the Medical Examiner’s Office, they were able to obtain the necessary documentation to enable this veteran to be interned at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. In another case, a grandson was located who stated that he had not seen the “little lost box” since he was a very young boy.
The group has made extensive efforts to locate next of kin or make arrangements with funeral homes to provide the final resting place. Because of the respect displayed by these employees, each have found a proper resting place. For their efforts these employees are also awarded a Commendable Service Bar.
Property Control Agent Jessica Joca
Between the periods of July 15 – 30, 2018, Property Control Agent Jessica Joca discovered four separate incidents of incoming inmate mail containing narcotics. Her efforts restrict harmful contraband from entering the jail facility. In two instances, PCA Joca discovered mail that had been soaked in an opiate solution and dried out.
PCA Joca displayed keen observation skills in identifying a slight discoloration in this mail that could have easily been overlooked and mail that had been carefully split with a razor blade to insert strips of the narcotics. For her efforts in diverting dangerous narcotics from introduction into the Jail, PCA Joca is also receiving a Commendable Service Bar.
Inmate Program Specialist Louann Creasy
As an Inmate Program Specialist, Louann Creasy assists in completing inmate improvement programs such as: GED Testing, Anger Management, Alcohol 12 Step Recovery and Reentry Task Force Conference. Currently, there are 220 inmates participating in Inmate programs throughout the week. This requires updating countless attendance sheets, printing certificates, tracking class completion, returning emails and processing requests.
On a weekly basis, Specialist Creasy assists and coordinates the schedules of over 32 volunteers. She was also essential to the creation of the Reentry Conference, become a certified proctor, all of which is vital in making this program a success. Due to her efforts, twenty-two inmates received their GED in 2017-2018. Specialist Creasy is also awarded a Commendable Service Bar for her efforts.
Crime Scene Investigator Stephanie Haas
In August 2018, CSI Stephanie Hass suggested initiating a “firearms testing program,” to test fire all firearms and capture two cartridge casings from each test fire to be entered in the NIBIN system. Implementation of this program would return results to the agency in as little as five days. CSI Haas coordinated the training of personnel, tracked the disposition and test fired over one hundred firearms.
The program will have a tremendous impact on investigations. CSI Haas is being recognized for her initiative in implementing this program for the benefit of our agency and the citizens of Brevard County with a Bar of Merit.
Animal Services Enforcement Officer Christopher Mousseau
Officer Mousseau responded to a residence in reference to an animal complaint. While on the scene a physical altercation initiated at a residence next door. Officer Mousseau immediately called for a deputy to respond. Deputy Hanigan was the first to arrive and was confronted by six males.
While attempting to calm the subjects, the subjects began to approach the deputy in an aggressive manner. Fearing for the safety of the deputy, Officer Mousseau put himself between the approaching subjects and Deputy Hanigan. The males continued to approach to the point that Officer Mousseau had to physically interact to assist Deputy Hanigan. Officer Mousseau placed himself in harm’s way to assist the deputy. For his efforts, Officer Mousseau is also receiving a Commendable Service Bar.
Registration Specialist Heather Bailey
The annual Space Coast State Fair brings thousands of children and families to the Viera area from all over Central Florida. The fair site is located on property that is within the Sexual Offender prohibited “buffer zone.” Personnel from the Sexual Offender registration and tracking Unit attended the fair in search of sexual offenders and/or predators that violated the County Ordinance by their attendance.
During the event, Specialist Bailey observed two subjects she recognized as registered Sexual Predators. The predators were arrested and removed from the fairgrounds. For her outstanding performance in keeping the safety of those citizens attending the fair uncompromised, she is also being awarded a Commendable Service Bar.
Network Engineer Steve Anderson, Information Technology Specialist Scot Votava and Information Technology Special William McKinnon
Network Engineer Steve Anderson, Information Technology Specialist Scot Votava and Information Technology Special William McKinnon are being recognized for their role in completing the Information Technology portion of the Jail Complex Visitation Center remodel.
They were responsible for the network components of the project that included: network configuration, cable installation, live stream Roku installation and phone/printer installation.
The networking experience and innovative problem-solving techniques enabled this complicated project to be completed under strict deadlines. Each exemplified dedication and hard work, which was the cornerstone to the success of the challenging project.
This award is to recognize those employees, who under true emergency circumstances, act to prevent probable loss of life either by exercising appropriate first aid procedures or by direct intervention. It is awarded to an employee for competent and expedient action that is directly accountable for sustaining or saving a human life. The subsequent death of a victim after release to medical personnel will not preclude nomination.
Deputy Tyler Young
In March 2018, Deputy Tyler Young was fueling his vehicle at a convenience store when he attempted to enter the store to speak with the clerk. Deputy Young observed that the doors were locked; however, could see the clerk who was stocking the shelves. Deputy Young motioned for the clerk to open the doors and as the clerk opened the door, Deputy Young observed that the clerk’s face was pale.
Upon further questioning, the clerk advised that he felt pain in his chest. Deputy Young immediately called for an ambulance even though the clerk was adamant he did not need medical assistance. Upon arrival of the ambulance, it was determined that the clerk needed to immediately be transported to the hospital.
The clerk continued to refuse until Deputy Young advised that he would put the milk in the cooler and the other items in the case. Medical personnel who attended to the clerk advised that if Deputy Young had not interceded, the clerk would have certainly died within the hour from a heart attack. The quick response of Deputy Young without question saved this man’s life.
Field Training Office Mark Medley, Field Training Officer Christopher Waggoner and Field Training Officer Douglas McCarty
In April 2018, Field Training Officers Medley, Waggoner and McCarty responded to Judge Holcomb’s chambers to assist with a medical event. During a court hearing, one of the attorney’s began to have trouble breathing, eventually passing out. FTO’s Medley and McCarty immediately began CPR while FTO Waggoner retrieved an AED.
A shock was not advised and CPR continued until medical personnel arrived on scene. The victim was eventually stabilized and transported to the hospital where he made a full recovery. Medical personnel advised that the lifesaving actions taken by these deputies saved the man’s life.
Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson and Corrections Deputy Lawrence Stewart
In May 2018, while feeding in 400 Bravo, Corporal Lorenzo Hutchinson noticed an inmate who was attempting to commit suicide by jumping off the top tier of the cellblock. The inmate had one end of a bed sheet tied around his neck and the other end tied around the railing on the upper cat walk.
While Corrections Deputy Lawrence Stewart distracted the inmate, Corporal Hutchinson ran up the stairs, lunged out and caught the inmate by his right arm. Corporal Hutchinson’s actions prevented the inmate’s toes from slipping off the ledge and with the assistance of Deputy Stewart, they were successful in pulling the inmate back to safety before he could plummet below. If not for the quick actions and response of Corporal Hutchinson and Deputy Stewart, this inmate might have successfully completed his attempt.
Deputy Kimberly Reites and Deputy Carmine Siniscal
In May 2018, the Communications Center received a frantic call from a father who advised that his adult son had cut himself on his wrist in an attempt to take his life. Deputies Reites and Siniscal were in the area and immediately responded to the residence.
Upon arrival, they observed the male bleeding heavily from the wrist. Deputy Reites attempted to stop the bleeding using a washcloth and applying pressure to the wound. She also continued a dialogue with the male who was falling in and out of consciousness.
Noting that the bleeding was not stopping, Deputy Siniscal retrieved a tourniquet and applied it to the male. The deputies continued these rescue efforts for fifteen minutes when medical personnel arrived on the scene and assumed treatment of the male. Medical personnel commented that without the proper application of the tourniquet, the male would not have survived his injury.
Corporal Breean Lewis
In June 2018, Deputies from the North Precinct responded to a shooting on West Court in Titusville. Upon arrival, Corporal Lewis located the shooting victim who was seated in the driver’s seat of a vehicle. The victim was unresponsive from a gunshot wound to the neck and an injury to the back of the head. Deputy Lewis began immediate aid to the victim by applying pressure to the wounds.
With the assistance of Sergeant Helms, they were able to place the victim in a recovery position outside the vehicle, while packing the wound with “QuickClot” combat gauze. Medical personnel arrived on scene and began administering advanced care to the victim.
The immediate first aid and casualty care administered by Corporal Lewis was instrumental in assuring that the victim did not perish at the scene. Although the victim ultimately died from his wound, Deputy Lewis’ efforts during this volatile and dynamic event should be recognized.
Deputy Gaston Robin
In June 2018, Deputy Robin responded to a reported drowning incident in Cape Canaveral. Upon arrival, Deputy Robin utilized his AED, which administered a shock to the female victim. After the shock, Deputy Robin began CPR, at which time the victim took a shallow breath.
The victim was rolled to her side, which allowed a large amount of water to be expelled. CPR continued until a second shock was administered by the AED and a faint pulse was discovered. CPR was continued until the arrival of the Fire Department, who began advanced life support. The victim was transported to the hospital where she made a full recovery. Deputy Robin’s actions played a pivotal role in saving this woman’s life.
Deputy Michael Matteson
In June of 2018, Deputy Matteson responded to a call reference an unresponsive 84-year-old male. Upon arrival, Deputy Matteson found the male laying on the floor, not breathing and without a pulse.
The AED advised to begin chest compressions and Deputy Matteson immediately began CPR, continuing for approximately four minutes until the arrival of paramedics. The male was transported to the hospital in critical but stable condition. For his efforts in providing life-sustaining CPR, Deputy Matteson is being recognized with a Life-Saving Award.
Field Training Officer Michael Coppola and Deputy Brandon Bauernfeind
In September 2018, FTO Coppola and Deputy Bauernfeind responded to a call in reference to an injured male. Upon arrival, they were advised that the male was not breathing and had apparently suffered a heart attack. Deputy Bauernfeind began CPR while FTO Coppola attached the AED.
The AED advised continuing CPR, which the deputies continued for approximately seven minutes until relieved by paramedics. Due to the quick response of these deputies, the male survived. For their efforts, they are each being recognized with a Life-Saving Award.
Deputy Joseph Jenkins Jr. and Deputy Patrick Arquette
In October 2018, Deputies Jenkins and Arquette observed a vehicle being driven by an elderly male that was backing up traffic at the intersection of Interstate 95 and State Road 46 in Mims. The vehicle then stopped in the middle of State Road 46 where the deputies conducted a traffic stop for a possible intoxicated driver.
As they approached the vehicle, they recognized the driver was likely having a medical issue. With the driver being unresponsive, the vehicle began to roll forward toward a nearby Chevron Gas Station. Deputy Jenkins quickly used his baton to break the driver’s side window and he, along with Deputy Arquette, entered the vehicle, successfully placing it in park.
Located in the vehicle were two gas cans, one of which had spilled causing the driver to pass out as he was overcome by the fumes. The gas cans were removed from the vehicle and the driver was treated at the scene by Fire Rescue personnel.
If not for the quick actions of these two deputies, the driver would have likely died due to the inhalation and amount of gas fumes in the vehicle. For their efforts, Deputies Jenkins and Arquette are being recognized with a Life Saving Award.
Deputy Joseph Groski
While on foot patrol in Waterway Park in October of 2018, Deputy Groski heard the sounds of a person sobbing and screaming. He was able to determine that the sounds were coming from above him, on the Hubert Humphrey Bridge. There he observed a male on the edge of the bridge with one leg over the railing. As Deputy Groski observed the male attempting to throw himself over the railing, he began a conversation with him, urging him to stay on the bridge.
While other deputies were responding, Deputy Groski continued to talk with the male in an attempt to calm him down. Each time the male would attempt to go over the edge of the railing, Deputy Groski would convince him to remain safely on the bridge.
Deputy Groski used the arrival of additional deputies as a distraction, which enabled him to run up the bridge embankment and secure the distraught male. The male advised that he had walked onto the bridge with the intent of ending his life that night.
Deputy Groski had completed the Field Training Program only one month earlier, yet acted in a manner consistent with a deputy of much greater experience. Were it not for Deputy Groski’s quick and decisive action, the male would have surely ended his life that night. For his efforts, he is being recognized with a Life-Saving Award.
Corporal Colin Kearns
In December 2018, while assigned to the Viera Charter School as a School Resource Officer, Corporal Kearns was advised of a student that was possibly choking in the cafeteria. Corporal Kearns made contact with the student who nodded her head when asked if she was choking.
Corporal Kearns performed the Heimlich maneuver on the student, dislodging a piece of pizza that was obstructing her airway. Immediately the student began breathing normally again. The student was taken to the school clinic where it was determined that she had sustained no injuries from the event and she returned to her school activities.
Corporal Kearns effectively put his training to use in response to this choking incident. For his quick actions, he is being recognized with a Life-Saving Award.
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARDS
This award signifies that the recipient displayed unusual thoroughness, determination, and/or initiative while carrying out his/her duties. This award is for service rendered in the line of duty where the employee, because of his/her diligence and perseverance, performs a difficult task in which a serious crime is prevented, significant property is protected, human life is protected, or causes the successful closure of a significant criminal case in which the criminal is apprehended.
Agent Wayne Simock, Agent Craig Carson and Agent Jason Roberts
In January 2018, Agent Wayne Simock began an investigation into the overdose death of a female. The investigation found that the female had overdosed at a residence in Melbourne at which time the female was transported to a local fire station where it was advised that she had been found in a ditch unresponsive.
Agent Simock determined that this information was false and, through investigation, identified the suspect who had provided the heroin to the female.
Agent Simock coordinated a two prong, multi-agency investigation: a drug trafficking investigation spearheaded by Agent Roberts of the Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, and an undercover operation, overseen by Agent Craig Carson of the ATF Task Force, who was able to purchase illegal firearms from the suspect.
The investigation culminated with the seizure of multiple firearms, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from the suspect and his residence. The suspect was arrested on Federal charges that, if convicted, will lead to a sentence of Life in Prison. For their investigative work in this case, Agents Simock, Carson and Roberts are each awarded a Bar of Merit.
Deputy Michael Hriciso, Agent Tyler Patterson, and Corporal Marian Schwenn
On March 10, 2018, deputies responded to Gilson Avenue in Port Saint John, regarding a domestic dispute. The reportee, who was later determined to be the suspect in the case, informed responding deputies that her husband returned to the residence and she wanted him out of the house.
Agent Patterson and Corporal Schwenn were speaking to the husband outside the residence when they heard a muffled “pop” coming from inside the residence. Believing that the sound may have been a gunshot, all deputies retreated to a position of cover, escorting the male with them.
The husband confirmed that there was at least one loaded .22 caliber firearm inside the residence. As deputies worked on establishing a perimeter around the residence, another possible gunshot was heard from inside the home.
After arriving on the scene, Deputy Michael Hriciso was able to make contact with the female suspect by phone, who was still located inside the residence. Deputy Hriciso was able to establish a rapport with the female suspect and convinced her to exit the home. Following a search of the residence, two handguns were located in a front bedroom and there was also a bullet hole in the living room wall.
After additional follow-up investigation and a post-Miranda-confession, it was determined that the suspect was firing a .22 magnum revolver towards the front door of the residence. One of the rounds went through the wall separating the garage from the inside foyer and continued in the direction of where her husband was standing outside speaking with deputies.
The suspect was ultimately charged with Aggravated Battery-Domestic Violence, Battery on a Person over 65, Aggravated Assault with a Firearm-Domestic Violence, and Use of a Firearm under the Influence of Alcohol.
Through Deputy Michael Hriciso’s skilled negotiation, Agent Tyler Patterson’s thoroughness in processing the crime scene, and Corporal Marian Schwenn’s interview skills, human life was protected and a significant criminal case was closed by the arrest of the offender, protecting the victim from further abuse. Each of these deputies are awarded a Merit Bar for their actions and outstanding teamwork.
Deputy Joshua Ellison
On April 15, 2018, Deputy Joshua Ellison attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic infraction in the area of U.S. 1 in Sharpes. The vehicle did not immediately stop and continued to a nearby driveway where all the occupants fled from the car.
Deputy Ellison pursued the driver on foot, as the suspect ran toward a nearby home. As Deputy Ellison rounded the corner of the residence, he was confronted by the suspect, who was facing the back door of the house. Being startled by the presence of the deputy, the suspect turned toward Deputy Ellison, who observed him holding an AR-15 style rifle.
Due to the limited distance between himself and the suspect, Deputy Ellison engaged him physically, causing him to drop the weapon. After a brief struggle on the ground, the suspect was taken into custody.
Deputy Ellison apprehended an armed suspect utilizing his training and physical control, averting what could have been a potentially fatal confrontation between law enforcement and the suspect. For his actions, he is awarded a Bar of Merit.
Agent Randy Truitt and Agent Joshua Strait
During the month of April 2018, multiple felony crimes occurred in the West Precinct that appeared to be linked to a single suspect. After receiving a tip possibly identifying the suspect, Agents Truitt and Strait determined that he also had an outstanding warrant for a probation violation.
The agents were able to locate the suspect, who was arrested on the violation. Aware that there was little evidence against the suspect, Agent Truitt and Strait developed an interview strategy that enabled them to gain a confession not only to the crimes but also to the location of the stolen property.
The agents continued to foster their rapport with the suspect, eventually leading to the closure of six burglaries that occurred in West Precinct and ten felony crimes, including an armed home invasion robbery that occurred in another jurisdiction.
For their determination and investigative ability in clearing multiple felony crimes, many of which included a firearm, Agents Truitt and Strait are being recognized with a Bar of Merit.
Field Training Officer Jason Lewis
In May 2018, FTO Lewis conducted a traffic stop on a reckless driver in Port St. John. While speaking with the driver, FTO Lewis noticed that his shirt was inside out and his pants were unbuttoned and unzipped.
FTO Lewis recalled an earlier call where a man fitting the driver’s description was a suspect in a burglary and attempted sexual battery that occurred in the city of Titusville. FTO Lewis contacted the Titusville Police Department who responded to the scene.
The suspect was arrested on scene for Driving Under the Influence and then taken to TPD where he was interviewed as a suspect on the prior case. After the interview, the suspect was charged with Occupied Burglary, Attempted Sexual Battery and Aggravated Battery by Strangulation.
FTO Lewis is awarded a Bar of Merit for his outstanding work that assisted in taking a violent criminal off the street.
Agent Joe Martin
In April of 2014, Agent Joe Martin was assigned the investigation into the homicide of Joan Justis and quickly identified a suspect in the case. Through his diligent follow-up investigation, Agent Martin arrested the suspect for the murder. A
gent Martin maintained close contact with the victim’s family prior to and throughout the trial which took place in May of 2018. Agent Martin’s testimony was critical in the case against the suspect and while the jury was in deliberations, Agent Martin continued to comfort and educate the victim’s family on the judicial process. The jury eventually returned a guilty verdict and the suspect is serving a life sentence in prison.
After the trial was completed, family members expressed their gratitude for Agent Martin’s exceptional work and compassion. Agent Martin is being recognized with a Bar of Merit not only for his exceptional investigation in this case, but also for the compassion and empathy he showed the victim’s family.
Agent Aja Stake
In 2016, Agent Aja Stake conducted an investigation that resulted in a search warrant and a subject being arrested for possession of child pornography. After the subject was processed at the jail complex, he later bonded out pending his trial.
During the month of May 2018, Agent Stake was in an undercover capacity while online and observed the same suspect’s profile picture in a chat room designed for children. Agent Stake learned the same suspect from the 2016 case was posing as a 17-year-old child.
Agent Stake knew the danger the suspect presented and began conversing with him in an undercover capacity. The suspect believed he was contacting a young female child and Agent Stake continued the investigation with the goal of removing this child predator from the community.
After weeks of communicating, the suspect agreed to meet Agent Stake’s undercover persona in order to have sex. The suspect traveled to a predetermined location and was arrested by agents on the scene. Following his arrest, additional evidence was recovered on the suspect’s phone and agents learned of another underage female victim he was soliciting for sexually explicit photos.
Agent Stake was able to identify this female child victim, who lived outside of Florida, and contact her parents to inform them of what was found and to get the child the services she would need.
After processing all of the evidence, Agent Stake presented the investigation to the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida. The case was accepted and the suspect was charged with Enticement of a Minor Child and Possession of Child Pornography. The suspect entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 30 years in prison followed by 15 years of probation.
Agent Stake’s dedication and exceptional work brought a very dangerous criminal to justice where he can’t harm any more children and she has been awarded a Bar of Merit.
Deputy Joseph Spinelli
In June 2018, North Precinct deputies responded to a shooting incident in Titusville where a male had been shot while sitting in a vehicle. The victim was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. Deputy Joe Spinelli, who was at the hospital on an unrelated investigation, was tasked with seizing the victim’s clothing.
While at the hospital, Deputy Spinelli continued to assist in the investigation by locating a previous residence the suspect was known to frequent. Utilizing this information, Deputy Spinelli also located a prior call for service which led to the positive identification of the shooting suspect.
Not stopping there, Deputy Spinelli was able to develop information regarding a current location for the suspect which was given to agents of the GAMEOVER Task Force who were able to quickly locate and apprehend the suspect for an outstanding arrest warrant unrelated to the shooting. At this time, the homicide investigation is still pending.
Deputy Spinelli is being recognized with a Bar of Merit for his personal initiative and determination in identifying the suspect and gathering information that contributed to his quick apprehension.
Deputy Dillon Packard
In July 2018, Deputy Packard responded to Rotary Park in Merritt Island regarding a group of paddle boarders that had become stranded in the Indian River.
One person in the group had fallen off the paddle board and was struggling in the water. The other paddle boarders were also unable to make it back to shore due to the strong winds and were beginning to panic.
The Sheriff’s Office helicopter (S.T.A.R. Unit) was able to successfully drop a life vest to the person in the water to enable them to stay afloat. According to witnesses, the three individuals had been in the water for approximately 45 minutes and were moving farther from shore.
Since no boats were in the immediate area to provide assistance, Deputy Packard removed his gear and entered the water with a member of Brevard County Ocean Rescue.
The two swam out to the group and positioned themselves behind the paddle board and assisted the group to shore. Without the direct intervention of Deputy Packard and Ocean Rescue, this might have turned into a tragic incident since it was believed the group would not have made it back to shore against the strong current.
Deputy Packard is awarded a Bar of Merit for his actions in this event that led to the safe recovery of two juveniles and an adult female.
Deputy Kimone Edwards
On November 12, 2018, Deputy Kimone Edwards was dispatched to the report of a burglary and grand theft from a residence in Mims. After meeting with the victim, Deputy Edwards furthered the investigation by identifying a neighbor as the suspect in the case.
Instead of referring the case to the General Crimes Unit, Deputy Edwards established probable cause for the suspect and arrested him for the burglary and grand theft. During an inventory of his property at the jail complex, a pawn slip was located for the stolen property in the name of another person.
Deputy Edwards followed up on the lead and was able to establish probable cause for this suspect for Dealing in Stolen Property. Deputy Edwards further learned during the investigation that a roommate of the second suspect also pawned stolen property from the victim.
After conducting the necessary evidence gathering and recovery of the stolen property from the pawn shops, Deputy Edwards again took the extra initiative to author two arrest warrants for the additional suspects.
Through Deputy Kimone Edwards’ thoroughness and initiative, she was able to successfully close the case by recovering all the stolen items, returning them back to the victim and charging all three suspects with their role in the crime. For her excellent work, Deputy Edwards has been awarded a Bar of Merit.
Agent Jennifer Straight
As a result of her exceptional work over the past year in the fight against the Opioid epidemic, Agent Jennifer Straight has participated as an expert panelist during the screening of the Documentary, “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” aimed at educating children, students, young adults, and parents about the dangers associated with Opioid addictions.
Agent Straight was also the featured speaker at numerous events educating community-based agencies, educators, local law enforcement officers, Department of Corrections’ staff, and the general public, about Opioids and substance abuse.
Agent Straight was instrumental in the creation of the Brevard County Opioid Abuse Task Force and continues the fight to eliminate this deadly crisis by serving as the Chair of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
Additionally, as a member of the Homicide Unit, Agent Straight has helped identify and arrest numerous subjects who have either sold or delivered heroin and fentanyl to overdose victims, causing their deaths.
Agent Straight was also presented with the following prestigious awards in 2018: “2018 Children’s Hero of the Year” by Eckerd Connects, “Exceptional Citizen Award” by Space Coast Public Service Awards and Hall of Fame, and “Law Enforcement Distinguished Service Award” by Florida Council of Crime and Delinquency.
For her outstanding work in the fight against the Opioid epidemic, Agent Straight is receiving a Bar of Merit.
Agent Cyndi Young
On December 4, 2018, Agent Cyndi Young was assigned a case involving an injury to a three-month-old child. The local hospital diagnosed the child with a fractured skull, rib, and a brain hemorrhage.
The child was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for surgery and remained in critical condition, attached to various life support equipment. Agent Young was able to establish a timeline of events and, based on the mother’s account, the child would have been left in the sole custody of the father.
Additionally, it was learned the father had made statements via text messaging that could be deemed as admissions to harming the child. Agent Young was also able to obtain additional admissions from the suspect through recorded telephone conversations. With this information, agents responded back to Brevard County from Arnold Palmer Hospital and located the father of the child for an interview.
After changing his story, the suspect finally admitted to shaking the infant and ultimately throwing her into the bassinet where it’s believed the child’s head struck the hard surface. It was later learned that the child also had healing fractures in her left leg, indicative of past abuse.
The suspect made statements that would place him as the sole person responsible for the physical abuse of the child during those occasions as well. The suspect was subsequently arrested on scene for four counts of Aggravated Child Abuse and Child Neglect with Great Bodily Harm and transported to the Brevard County Detention Center.
Additional investigation determined the child’s mother also had culpability in the events that resulted in the injury of the child and was subsequently charged with Child Neglect. For her efforts, Agent Young is awarded a Bar of Merit.
2018 COMMUNICATION OFFICERS OF THE MONTH
The recipients were selected from the 39 Communications Officers who handle all emergency radio dispatch for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Communications Officer Peggy Human
Communication Officer Peggy Human answered a 9-1-1 call from a caller who reported that they had shot another person. The caller was very upset and had difficulty answering questions. Officer Human was able to calm the caller down and confirmed the location and that the caller no longer had the weapon. She kept the caller on the line and provided instructions on what procedures to follow upon the arrival of deputies, allowing them to take him in to custody safely.
Communications Officer Tadisha Samuel
On February 17, 2018, Field Training Officer Kevin Stanton was involved in a fatal traffic accident while on his way to work. Communications Officer Samuel was working the North radio console when the call was received. She had also received one of the calls from a motorist who observed the accident.
Communications Officer Samuel was able to gather the information and dispatch the call, despite the stress of knowing a deputy was the victim. She efficiently coordinated efforts between Sheriff’s Office personnel and the Titusville Police Department, patching channels and documenting all emergency radio traffic.
Her effort and diligence also ensured the many necessary agency notifications were made in a proper and timely manner. Communications Officer Samuel is being awarded a Bar of Merit for her composure and professionalism during this extremely stressful situation.
Communications Officer Greg Williams
Communications Officer Williams was working the West radio console when an Agent requested a query for a tag that revealed that the vehicle was stolen. Officer Williams made contact with and ascertained that the agent was in a safe location and provided the information on the stolen vehicle.
Officer Williams immediately initiated emergency traffic and contacted patrol units who responded to assist. As the occupants of the vehicle attempted to elude the deputies, Officer Williams coordinated the communication between the responding deputies and within four minutes both subjects were detained and an arrest was made. Due to Communication Officer Williams’ initiative and efficiency both the suspects and deputies were kept safe and a stolen vehicle was identified and recovered.
Assistant Shift Supervisor Laura Neville
Assistant Supervisor Neville was working North radio when she became involved in monitoring and updating units involved in a search for suspects who had fled a stolen vehicle. The search was being conducted by patrol with the assistance of K-9 and Aviation.
As she monitored these units on her primary channel, she also began monitoring a secondary channel regarding a separate stolen vehicle where a felony stop was conducted and the suspect was detained. Assistant Supervisor Neville showed unusual thoroughness in handling these significant calls simultaneously and for her actions has also been awarded a Commendable Service Bar.
Communications Officer Alicia Robin
Communications Officer Alicia Robin received a 9-1-1 Call from a 10-year-old child who advised that a female was trying to enter her residence. The child further advised that her father was attempting to keep the subject out of the home. Officer Robin remained on the line with the child throughout the incident, reassuring the child that deputies were on the scene and headed to the apartment.
Upon arrival, the deputies found that the suspect had bitten the homeowner prior to fleeing the scene. Within approximately 40 minutes, the suspect was located and arrested. For her actions that assisted in quelling the fears of this young child, Communications Officer Robin is also receiving a Commendable Service Bar.
Assistant Shift Supervisor Monica Mahl
A call was received from two children who advised they were on an island with an intoxicated male whose actions were making them very afraid. The girls were unable to provide their location and were advised to call back via 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 call was received by Assistant Supervisor Mahl who used the 9-1-1 call GPS coordinates to ascertain a better location for responding deputies.
The girls were able to flag down another adult on the island who was hesitant when Mahl asked them to transport the children back to shore. Assistant Supervisor Mahl patched the responding deputy into the 9-1-1 call and they were able to convince the adult to bring the children to safety. The male was located and taken into custody without incident. Assistant Supervisor Mahl has also been awarded a Commendable Service Bar for her expertise that led to the safe recovery of the girls.
Communication Officer Micaela Cunningham
Communication Officer Cunningham’s first day off training would prove to be eventful as within a couple of hours she would handle three high priority calls. In this short span of time, she dispatched an emergency call of a boat caught in a storm that was taking on water, a suicide threat that would require multiple database searches and a victim suffering a gunshot wound to the chest.
Although she was new, Officer Cunningham handled these high priority incidents seamlessly. She provided continuous updates to responding units, initiated emergency traffic and patched radios together when necessary, proving that she is and will continue to be a great asset to the Communications Unit and the Sheriff’s Office as a whole. She is also being recognized with a Commendable Service Bar.
August and December
Communication Officer Cherraine Eldemire
As deputies responded to a suspicious person call, they came into contact with a teenage autistic female with little to no verbal communication skills. Deputies were able to obtain a possible name from the female, which was relayed to Communication Officer Eldemire who began searching for information that might reunite the female with her family.
After approximately 30 minutes and with options running out, Officer Eldemire provided patrol with two possible addresses for the autistic girl’s family. The information would prove fruitful as the closest address reunited the female with her father who was unaware that she had left the residence.
Communication Officer Eldemire is also being recognized for her actions on the call where two children were stranded on an island with an intoxicated male. Officer Eldemire provided updates to the responding units, directed locations for assisting units to respond, monitored the channel responding units were using, all while maintaining a busy primary radio channel. For her efforts, she is receiving a Commendable Service Bar.
Communication Officer Holly Jones
Communication Officer Jones received a 9-1-1 call from a male who advised that he was going to kill himself. When questioned, the male advised that he was armed with a knife and his plan was to commit “suicide by cop.” The male would not volunteer his exact location, other than he was on Merritt Island.
The incident continued for approximately 40 minutes with the uncooperative caller disconnecting on several occasions. Through the continued efforts of Communications Officer Jones, the male was located and detained without injury to himself or the responding units. Communication Officer Jones’ determination assisted in ending this call successfully and she is also being recognized with a Commendable Service Bar.
Communication Officer Brittany Reitz
Communications Officer Reitz was working West Radio when she heard an active shooter call on the Cocoa Police dispatch channel. Although still in training, Officer Reitz took the initiative to create a call for service that included the location and suspect information.
Shortly thereafter, Cocoa requested assistance and Officer Reitz was able to quickly notify the Sergeant and other responding units of all pertinent information. This was all accomplished while she continued to maintain her primary radio traffic.
Communication Officer Jessica Heath
Communication Officer Heath received a frantic call from a frightened teenager. The caller advised they were babysitting and were in fear of a neighbor in the building. Unable to ascertain the exact address from the caller, Officer Heath was able to lead deputies to the location by having the caller give her directions from the caller’s home address to the place she was babysitting.
Awards for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of service are presented throughout the year.
35 Years of Service
30 Years of Service
25 Years of Service
20 Years of Service
10 Years of Service
Jeffry Bellinger II
Tom Case II
William Dasher Jr.
Robert Wagner Jr.
5 Years of Service
Cicero Carr IV
Benjamin Robles Lopez
Special Thanks To:
- Church at Viera – Pastor Mark Ragsdale and his wonderful staff
- Chaplain Corky Calhoun – Georgianna United Methodist – Opening Prayer
- Chaplain Roger Alexander – Closing Prayer
- Brevard Police & Fire Pipes & Drums
- BCSO Honor Guard
- Lisa Mick – National Anthem
- President Marlon Buggs and Representative Al Boettjer
Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association & Public Employees Association
- Ron Spangler and the Central Logistics Team for their hard work making all of this evening’s beautiful plaques
- C&R Designs Printing – Programs
- Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Explorers
- Giles Malone, Tom Palermo and the entire Space Coast Daily Team for the beautiful video presentation
- All of the Family, Friends and Community Leaders in Attendance
CSI Virginia Casey
CSI Lindsey Cox
CSI Erin Strait
2018 Awards Committee
Chief Michael DeMorat —Chairman
Commander Dan Singleton – Vice Chairman
Analytical Support Specialist Laura Cline
Sergeant Evelyn DeNardo
Lieutenant Byron Keck
Lieutenant Rob Lape
Sergeant Terry Laufenberg
Sergeant Steve McNatt
Communications Officer Abigail Sanders
Assistant to the Chief Jean Palmer
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