WATCH REPLAY: Brevard Sheriff’s Office Awards Honor Outstanding Performance, Agent Dan Magill Is Deputy of the Year
By Space Coast Daily // April 22, 2023
BCSO Deputy of the Year: Agent Dan Magill
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Sheriff Wayne Ivey and his Command Staff hosted the annual Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony at the Church of Viera on Friday night. On behalf of the nearly 1,700 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 tonight for our Annual Awards Ceremony.
ABOVE VIDEO: 2022 Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Award Ceremony Red Carpet interviews.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office held its annual awards ceremony on Friday evening, recognizing the many achievements accomplished during 2022 by our sworn and civilian employees. Also recognized were members of the community who had a profound impact on Brevard County during the year.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Sheriff Wayne Ivey and his Command Staff hosted the annual Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony at the Church of Viera on Friday night.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey issued this statement about the awards ceremony:
On behalf of the nearly 1,700 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 tonight 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.
Tonight 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 tonight’s 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.
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 enjoy the event and remember, it takes a community to protect a community!! Tonight’s award recipients are nothing less than your community’s real-life Super Heroes!
Thank you again for being here tonight and for all of the tremendous support you continue to give our agency.
Deputy of the Year: Agent Dan Magill
Throughout the past year Agent Dan Magill has used his thoroughness and investigative knowledge to bring successful closures to investigations ranging from fraud to a complicated explosive device case. The following cases are representative of the tenacity and investigative ability displayed by Agent Magill.
After deputies broadcast the description of three suspects who had passed counterfeit bills at a local convenience store, Agent Magill took it upon himself to search the area on the chance he might observe the suspects. Agent Magill observed three possible suspects and upon talking with them used his interview skills to identify the vehicle they had been using. As the investigation continued, probable cause was gained to search the vehicle during which multiple counterfeit bills were located. The case was ultimately turned over to our Economic Crimes Unit where the suspects were identified as convicted felons operating an organized counterfeiting operation.
Agent Magill made such an impression on his superiors that even though he was not a seasoned investigator a decision was made to assign him to the Special Investigations Unit. Agent Magill hit the ground running, setting his sights on a large-scale drug trafficker that had proved untouchable for years. Although no informant would work with the police, Agent Magill was undeterred and began using surveillance and other investigative techniques over a four-month period that eventually paid off with the evidence gained to obtain a search warrant for the target’s residence. The search led to the seizure of nearly 200 grams of methamphetamine and $8,000 dollars in cash. His interview skills enabled him to gain a confession from the suspect that led to the dismantling of the organization and successful prosecution of the suspect.
Perhaps the finest example of his abilities was displayed during his investigation of an explosive device case. Upon the initial response to an exploding mailbox call, deputies quickly located evidence which they perceived to be the remnants of an improvised explosive device. Agent Magill was briefed on the incident, then expanded the crime scene perimeter and contacted the on call BCSO Bomb Squad technician.
Immediately, Agent Magill began interviews and learned the victim just moved into the residence 48 hours prior and the landscaper for the property was owed money by the prior tenant. Agent Magill obtained residential video surveillance which showed a black sport utility vehicle, driven by a white male with a beard, exit the truck at the neighbor’s residence. Agent Magill was able to identify the owner of the SUV who was on felony probation.
Crime Scene Investigators and Explosive Ordinance Disposal members determined the device used to destroy the mailbox was a manufactured destructive device, which was not constructed hastily. The maker would have needed ample time to construct the device in a clandestine manner, to avoid detection by witnesses, or law enforcement. Throughout the night and into the early morning hours, Agent Magill developed probable cause and drafted an arrest warrant for the suspect and a search warrant for his residence. Later that morning during the execution of the search warrant, the suspect was located and arrested. During the search of the residence, two suspected explosive/ incendiary devices were located.
Agent Dan Magill represents the highest ideals and finest example of the men and women of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, his investigative knowledge and determination have helped protect the citizens of Brevard County and punished the criminals who violated their safety. It is our privilege and honor to name him the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy of the Year.
Special Recognition Award: Corporal Hannah Polito
Since joining the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in May of 2017, Corporal Hannah Polito has displayed a sincere commitment to our agency’s mission, our citizens, our community, and her fellow team members!! Hannah joined our agency to make a difference and make a difference she has in every aspect of her job!! From climbing through windows to save an injured senior citizen who was moments from death, to dropping everything she is doing to come to the aide of her teammates, Hannah shines as a member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to being a great Deputy Sheriff who represents our agency with pride, perhaps Hannah’s most valuable commitment to the profession of law enforcement, is her compassion for others, her “can do” attitude, and her willingness to sacrifice her own-self for the benefit of others.
Throughout the past couple years, Corporal Polito has been asked on multiple occasions to step outside of her normal duties to assist Sheriff Ivey with everything from taking on a new role as his handler, to being called out late at night to assist with various critical incidents that deeply impacted our agency. On each occasion, Hannah immediately took on the challenge, as she knew it was exactly what the agency needed. Challenges that ranged from helping family members of our agency deal with tragedies, to being called upon during the agency’s Hurricane Ian response, to travel to the West Coast to be “Deputy Mama Bear” as she not only took care of our team, but helped protect those in need following the impact of the storm.
Throughout her time with our agency, Hannah has demonstrated her passion for our profession, her love of our agency, her commitment to protecting others, and her true faith in God!! We are proud to recognize Corporal Hannah Polito’s dedication to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Brevard County, as this year’s recipient of the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award.
Lucy Ross Award: Sergeant Cory Jackson
The Lucy Ross Award is presented to the Sheriff’s Office employee who best exemplifies the outstanding qualities and spirit of our lost family member, Sergeant Lucille Ross. Throughout her career, Lucy demonstrated an unwavering dedication to community service and excellence in her profession. Lucy was a genuinely compassionate person who never hesitated to assist others in need regardless of the situation. Her talents really became obvious when she was helping crime victims and their families. Despite the rigors and demands of her work, Lucy could always be counted on to arrive with sincere compassion and an always cheerful disposition. Lucy made people feel better, regardless of their circumstances. Lucy’s high level of caring was probably the reason children loved her so much.
This award recognizes the Sheriff’s Office family member, who throughout their career, has best honored Lucy’s memory by the consistent demonstration of these same qualities. No one exemplifies these characteristics more than Sergeant Cory Jackson.
Sergeant Jackson has dedicated his life to public service, serving not only the residets of Brevard County, but as a retired Police Officer from the Pawtucket Police Department in Rhode Island and also as a member of the United State Marine Corps.
Sergeant Jackson’s care for his community has positively affected individuals from all walks of life. The theme throughout his career is that of compassion and a high level of caring, especially concerning children with special needs and disabilities. During his previous assignment with the Special Victim’s Unit, Cory worked closely with both adults and children who were victims of domestic or sexual violence.
Outside of work, Sergeant Jackson volunteers’ countless hours with children with special needs and disabilities. Cory found his passion a number of years ago when his son was diagnosed with a disability. As his son grew older, he wanted him to enjoy the same outdoor sporting events as every other child. Cory started volunteering for the Special Olympics as an assistant track coach.
From there, he helped create the Fellowship of Christian Athletes All Abilities Team, which helps people of all ages with disabilities participate in athletic events throughout Brevard County. This was the second group to be created in the nation.
If that wasn’t enough, Sergeant Jackson also volunteers his time with the Space Coast Health Foundation helping those with mental illness and other disabilities receive the counseling they need.
When he is not busy working with his community, he is working with his fellow law enforcement officers. Cory works with the Sheriff’s Office Critical Incident Stress Management Team and the Florida Crisis Intervention Team. Having previously served as a Marine during the Gulf War and seeing some of his brethren come back with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sergeant Jackson wanted to be at the forefront of PTSD in law enforcement. He spends countless hours of his own time counseling officers from all over the nation and is also working with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create a mental health response course.
Sergeant Cory Jackson truly embodies the qualities of Lucy and we are honored to recognize him as this year’s Lucy Ross Award recipient.
Volunteer of the Year: Denise Dabrowski-Buchanon
Denise Dabrowski-Buchanon is not only a valued educator for a local middle school, but a dedicated advocate for animals. She spends her time enriching the lives of pets throughout Brevard County.
Denise began her journey volunteering with BCSO Animal Services in June of 2015. Denise spends the majority of her time volunteering by walking, running, and socializing the pets in our care. Denise is at the shelter almost daily after school, and never misses a holiday, including Christmas and Christmas Eve. Occasionally she even talks her running club into joining her on holidays to run with our dogs.
In addition to helping the dogs while at our shelter, Denise actively recruits fosters for dogs with mange, hospice cases and others that are medically necessary. For instance, she facilitated a medical foster for a sweet, senior dog, MJ, that was riddled with cancer. MJ is being cared for medically and emotionally, and is living the rest of her days peacefully.
Recently, a gentleman called our shelter about a medical emergency with his dog, Bailey. He took her to the vet but could not afford the necessary care. His veterinarian recommended reaching out to us for assistance. He was distraught and heartbroken thinking he may have to say goodbye to his beloved pet. Without hesitation Denise contacted the owner and then made an appointment, the same day, with a local veterinarian and covered the costs of this dog’s emergency vet care. Because of Denise, this dog’s life was saved, a man did not lose his best friend, and a dog stayed in their loving home and out of the shelter.
Friends of Freddy, is a foster based rescue that Denise founded and operates. Not only does Friends of Freddy pull dogs from us, but she also does everything in her power to help pets in the community. By doing this, she has helped hundreds of dogs stay out of the shelter and stay in their loving homes. Keeping dogs in their loving homes is just as important as getting dogs into homes. Without Denise, we would not be able to have the impact that we do. Her hard work, support and commitment should not go unnoticed which is why Denise Dabrowski-Buchanon is our Volunteer of the Year.
Partnership Award: Roger Handberg
For the past 15 years, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Secret Service and the FBI by providing Task Force Agents to work on child exploitation cases.
Agents from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office have served as lead case agents, undercover officers, and forensic examiners on more than 100 child exploitation cases that have been successfully prosecuted in federal court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida and the United States Attorney’s Office have consistently demonstrated their commitment to keeping our communities and children safe.
In a Federal Press Release from November of 2022, U.S. Attorney Handberg stated, “Protecting our children from those who would seek to do them harm is a top priority of the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners. We have had an excellent partner in the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. Their investigators are skilled and dedicated professionals who are committed to protect children from sexual exploitation. The prosecutions have served to protect children in Brevard County and across the United States. We look forward to many more successes working together with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on these important cases.”
It is an honor to present U.S. Attorney Handberg and the United States Attorney’s Office with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Partnership Award.
Citizen of the Year: Ken Gregg
The Citizen of the Year Award recognizes a member of the community who has provided outstanding service and commitment to the citizens of Brevard County and for continued support of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
There is no doubt that Ken Gregg has helped the citizens of Brevard County from a business perspective, as his business, Orion180 not only employees over 100 of our local residents but also has helped inspire others to dream big and pursue their passions.
Even with that, what truly sets Ken apart is his unwavering belief in the power of giving back. He has exemplified the true spirit of philanthropy by allocating a portion of the proceeds from his business to the Star Outreach Program, a program designed to help others achieve their dreams. Through this program, Ken has donated over half a million dollars to various charities in Brevard County alone while also making significant contributions to schools and programs such as Palm Bay Elementary, Stone Middle School, and Palm Bay High where he learned to strive for success.
Since moving Orion180 forward at the national level, Ken has also been a strong supporter of numerous other local charities in our community like Family Promise, Neighbor Up, New Life Mission and of course our very own, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Charity.
Ken’s unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others has made a tangible difference in our community, and his generosity and kindness are truly commendable.
A humble man, Ken embodies the values of family, love, and respect, and he sets a shining example of what it means to be a dedicated and loving spouse, parent, and soon to be grandfather.
Ken’s tireless efforts to give back to his community, his exceptional leadership in business, and his unwavering dedication to his family and personal growth all make Ken a true community champion and this year’s Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Citizen of the Year.
Reserve Deputy of the Year: Reserve Deputy Dylan Lemoine
Reserve Deputy Dylan Lemoine joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2020 as an Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff. While serving as an Auxiliary Deputy and working full-time for a large corporate health care provider, Dylan still found time to continue his law enforcement training, earning his Law Enforcement Certification in 2021. He joined the Reserve Unit and completed the Field Training Program on May 19, 2022.
His intense desire to serve the citizens of Brevard is reflected this past year as Reserve Deputy Lemoine has volunteered over 1000 hours to the agency of which 928 were hours worked in an enforcement capacity. He handled or assisted with 960 calls for service while also making 10 arrests, including an arrest of a suspect for drug trafficking. Dylan has also assisted in charity events, traffic enforcement and scene security, all at no cost to our citizens.
Reserve Deputy Lemoine never seeks 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. It is with great pride we recognized Dylan Lemoine as Reserve Deputy of the Year.
Public Safety Telecommunicator of the Year: Andrew Polk
Throughout this year, Public Safety Telecommunicator Andrew Polk has been involved in multiple high-priority incidents, all of which were handled professionally and efficiently.
In May 2022, Andrew helped coordinate units who were attempting to locate a suspect that fled on foot from a vehicle crash with injuries in East Precinct. After Andrew directed units to assess the extent of injuries of the victims, he assisted with road units setting up a perimeter for over 45 minutes. The suspect was eventually detained and taken into custody without further incident.
In the same month, Andrew answered a 9-1-1 call where the caller had been shot. He not only obtained vital information for those responding, but dispatched zone units while he was working West radio. For over an hour, he maintained emergency radio traffic for this incident. A warrant for attempted murder was issued for the suspect, who agreed to meet and turn himself in while units were still on scene.
Shortly after the previous shooting, Andrew was working South radio when an influx of calls came into the Communications Center in reference to a shooting in Malabar. He had units dispatched within a minute of the first call coming in and coordinated with surrounding agencies for over three hours while units secured the scene.
In June 2022, Andrew was working West radio when a call came in regarding an escaped prisoner from the Florida Department of Corrections Work Release facility. In less than 30 seconds, PST Polk had multiple units responding to this call. Over 30 deputies from different units responded to this incident; not only did Andrew maintain his primary radio channel during and after emergency traffic, but also monitored the Ops and specialty channels, all while fulfilling every unit’s request and documenting their traffic.
Throughout each and every high priority, stressful incident, PST Andrew Polk maintains his professional and calm demeanor, which assists in information being disseminated quickly. He consistently proves how valuable he is to the Communications Center, the deputies he dispatches, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, and the citizens of this great county.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to name Andrew Polk as this year’s Communication Officer of the Year.
Employee of the Year: Austin Severson
While traveling northbound on I-95, Fleet Maintenance Mechanic Austin Severson observed what he believed to be a crash with a possible ejection. The driver was laying on the ground next to the vehicle on the side of the roadway.
Mechanic Severson immediately stopped to render medical aid when the male driver leapt up and grabbed a large shard of broken glass. The driver then attempted to cut his own throat with the glass and began waiving it at Mechanic Severson in a threatening manner, in an attempt to keep him away. At this time, another passerby, seeing what was transpiring on the side of the highway, sprinted across three lanes of Interstate 95 to aid Mechanic Severson.
As the male driver continued to waive the glass at Mechanic Severson, making suicidal comments and threats, Austin recognized the seriousness of the situation and the potential for harm not only to themselves, but to the male driver as well, due to being on the side of a busy highway. In an attempt to contain the male, Austin assisted by the citizen, tackled and subdued the driver, getting the glass away from him, holding him down until deputies arrived on scene. It was ultimately determined the male driver had intentionally wrecked his vehicle with the intent of committing suicide, which was ultimately prevented by Mechanic Severson.
Mechanic Severson placed himself in harm’s way without regard to his own safety to save the life of another citizen of Brevard County. As a direct result of his actions, the male driver only received minor lacerations from his attempt to take his own life. Austin’s actions went far above and beyond anything expected or required of a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office employee.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to recognize Austin Severson as the agency’s Employee of the Year.
Corrections Deputy of the Year: Corporal Michael Peterson
Corporal Michael Peterson has been employed with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office since December 2016. He began his career as a Corrections Deputy and was promoted to the rank of Corporal in August of 2019. It is not uncommon to respond and participate in a lifesaving event at the jail, however responding and saving the lives of two inmates during one shift displays a high level of skill and professionalism.
On September 27, 2022, Corporal Peterson was the Officer in Charge for the 500 Pod of the Brevard County Jail Complex. During his shift, Corporal Peterson was alerted to a possible medical emergency in 500 Echo. Corporal Peterson responded to the scene and observed an inmate in respiratory distress who ultimately became unresponsive. Corporal Peterson was able to communicate with other corrections officers to ensure that EMS would be notified and respond to the jail facility. As the inmate’s medical condition continued to decline, Corporal Peterson began life saving measures by providing rescue breaths via an Ambu Bag. After several minutes of providing rescue breaths, the inmate’s breathing began to improve and the inmate was placed in the recovery position. Corporal Peterson continued to monitor the inmate until the arrival of EMS. The inmate was transported to a local hospital where he made a full recovery.
During the same shift, Corporal Peterson responded to the 400 Pod where other Corrections Deputies had just begun to administer CPR on another inmate. Corporal Peterson immediately began chest compressions while other deputies administered breaths and prepared an AED. CPR was performed for several cycles and Narcan was also administered which did not change the condition of the inmate. The AED delivered one shock and CPR was continued until deputies were able to feel a pulse and the inmate began to breathe on his own. The inmate was ultimately transported by Brevard County Fire Rescue to a local hospital where he recovered.
The life saving measures provided by Corporal Peterson to both inmates during the same working day were not only instrumental in saving their lives, but also demonstrated his professionalism and dedication to duty.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to recognize Corporal Michael Peterson as our Corrections Deputy of the Year.
Deputy Josh Chamberlain
Deputy Josh Chamberlain was dispatched to a wooded area in Grant in reference to an off-road vehicle crash. Upon arrival, he was advised the crash site was located deep in the woods and a male had sustained serious injuries to his arm. Knowing that an emergency vehicle could not reach the scene due to the terrain, Deputy Chamberlain entered the woods on foot in an effort to find the victim. After several minutes, he was able to locate the crash site after observing the headlights of the overturned vehicle.
Upon assessing the victim’s injuries, Deputy Chamberlain observed his left arm was maimed to the point of near amputation. Deputy Chamberlain immediately applied a tourniquet to the victim’s injured arm to stop the bleeding. Recognizing the victim was in shock and in need of immediate medical care, Deputy Chamberlain placed the victim in the back of a modified off-road jeep that was at the scene and transported him out of the woods to the roadway where emergency medical personnel were waiting. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he was stabilized, giving the medical team the opportunity to save his arm.
The quick response and immediate life saving measures taken by Deputy Chamberlain directly resulted in the saving of this man’s life.
Deputy Robert Bennett and Deputy Kyle Reinhardt
Deputy Robert Bennett and Deputy Kyle Reinhardt responded to a residence in Merritt Island in reference to a house fire where four occupants and a dog were reported to be trapped inside. Deputy Bennett arrived first to find that two of the occupants had made it safely out of the residence. In an effort to reach the remaining occupants, Deputy Bennett attempted to enter the front door of the residence but was unable due to the billowing smoke. Upon Deputy Reinhardt’s arrival, both deputies again moved toward the front door where they could hear the occupants yelling for help. As they reached the door, they observed one of the occupants had dragged an elderly female into the front part of the residence, however was unable to continue further.
Both deputies entered the residence and were successful in locating the female who they were able to move to the safety of the front yard. Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and began extinguishing the fire at which time they observed the family’s dog crawling on the ground toward the rear of the residence where he too was pulled to safety.
Deputies Bennett and Reinhardt’s courageous actions placed their own personal safety in great danger in order to save the life of this elderly female.
Corporal Michael Oldham, Corporal Anthony Moore and Field Training Officer Corey Grubbe
While working at the Brevard County Jail Complex, Corporal Michael Oldham and Field Training Officer Corey Grubbe were alerted to a possible medical issue with an inmate in one of the cells. As they arrived at the cell, they observed an inmate laying on the ground unresponsive. Corporal Oldham requested medical assistance while FTO Grubbe placed the inmate in the recovery position and attempted to clear the airway. Corporal Anthony Moore responded and assisted with CPR on the inmate. In addition to CPR, an AED was also utilized to deliver four shocks to the unresponsive inmate. Brevard County Fire Rescue responded and transported the inmate to an area hospital where additional medical care could be provided.
Due to the quick response, poise and teamwork of these corrections deputies, the inmate was able to survive this emergency medical event.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Corporal Hannah Polito
Sheriff Ivey received a telephone call from a citizen advising that they had not seen or heard from their elderly family member and were concerned for their welfare. Being near the area, Sheriff Ivey and Corporal Hannah Polito responded to the residence to conduct a well-being check. Upon arrival at the residence, they were able to hear a faint voice calling for help.
In order to gain access to the residence, Sheriff Ivey assisted Corporal Polito through a rear kitchen window. Once inside, the resident was discovered laying on the kitchen floor in medical distress. Sheriff Ivey and Corporal Polito provided immediate first aid to the victim until medical personnel arrived at the scene. Further investigation found that the resident had fallen several days earlier and had dragged himself into the kitchen.
The victim was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for head injuries, fluid on his lungs and dehydration. Hospital personnel confirmed that without the immediate intervention of Sheriff Ivey and Corporal Polito, the male would not have survived.
Corporal Travis Cooper and Corrections Deputy Shavonne Cook
While working at the Brevard County Jail Complex, Corrections Corporal Travis Cooper and Corrections Deputy Shavonne Cook were alerted to an issue in one of the housing units by inmates asking for assistance. Corporal Cooper and Corrections Deputy Cook immediately responded and found an inmate hanging from the top tier with a sheet tied around her neck. Corporal Cooper and Corrections Deputy Cook immediately grabbed the inmate’s legs and lifted her up, relieving the pressure from her neck.
While Corporal Cooper continued to hold the inmate’s legs, he instructed Corrections Deputy Cook to go upstairs and remove the sheet from around her neck. Corrections Deputy Cook quickly ran up the stairs and successfully removed the sheet allowing Corporal Cooper to gently lower the inmate to the ground where he immediately began to assess her for injuries.
Corporal Cooper initiated CPR until the inmate became responsive. The Jail Complex medical team took over care until the arrival of Brevard County Fire Rescue. The inmate was transported to an area hospital where she was medically cleared and returned to the Jail Complex with no significant injuries. The quick response and immediate life saving measures taken by Corporal Cooper and Correction Deputy Cook directly resulted in saving the inmate’s life.
Automotive Technician Austin Severson
While traveling northbound on I-95 in the area of mile marker 206 in Cocoa, Automotive Technician Austin Severson observed what he believed to be a crash with a possible ejection. The driver was observed laying on the ground next to the vehicle on the side of the roadway. Technician Severson immediately stopped to render medical aid at which time the male driver leapt up and grabbed a large shard of broken glass. The driver then attempted to cut his own throat with the glass and began waiving it at Mechanic Severson in a threatening manner.
At this time, a citizen travelling in the opposite direction, stopped and crossed the Interstate median to aid Technician Severson. As the male driver continued to waive the glass at Technician Severson and the citizen, he continued to make suicidal comments and threats. Recognizing the seriousness of the situation and the potential for harm not only to themselves, but to the male driver as well due to being on the side of a busy highway, Technician Severson and the citizen tackled the male. During the ensuing struggle, they were successful in getting the glass away from the subject and held him down until deputies arrived on scene.
It was ultimately determined the male driver had intentionally wrecked his vehicle with the intent of committing suicide, which was ultimately prevented by Technician Severson. Technician Severson and this citizen placed themselves in harm’s way without regard to their own safety to save the life of a suicidal subject. As a direct result of their actions, the male driver only received minor lacerations from his attempt to take his own life. Technician Severson’s actions went above and beyond anything expected or required of a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office employee and are deserving of recognition.
Deputy Cliffton Dasher and Deputy Mitchell Hannon, 22-093 Corporal Megan Andrews and Lieutenant Jason Hart
These deputies were involved in events a day apart with the same victim. During the initial encounter, Deputy Cliffton Dasher and Deputy Mitchell Hannon responded to a residence in Titusville after a relative advised they had not heard from a family member for several days. The caller stated this was very unusual and that the resident had no family in Florida to check on him.
Upon their arrival to the residence, Deputy Dasher and Deputy Hannon noted a vehicle was parked in the driveway. After continuous knocking on the front door and windows, no one answered. Deputy Dasher and Deputy Hannon spoke with neighbors who stated if the vehicle was present the resident should be home.
Based on this information, they looked for alternative ways to gain entry to the residence without causing damage, if possible. Deputy Hannon was able to manipulate a window to open near the front door. Deputy Hannon then climbed through the window and unlocked the front door. Once inside the residence, Deputy Dasher and Deputy Hannon located an unresponsive male in his bedroom, laying on the floor near his bed. Deputy Dasher and Deputy Hannon summoned Brevard County Fire and Rescue (BCFR), who arrived on scene and determined the male was suffering from several severe medical problems. The male was transported to the hospital where he received medical treatment and was released.
The following day, Lieutenant Jason Hart and Field Training Officer Megan Andrews responded to the same residence in an attempt to contact the male. Upon arrival, the deputies were unable to get a response from the resident. Due to the previous call, forced entry was made into the residence where the male was found unresponsive on his bed with labored breathing. Lt. Hart and FTO Andrews attempted to wake the male and continued to do so until BCFR arrived and transported the male to the hospital.
Deputies Dasher, Hannon, FTO Andrews and Lt. Hart were relentless in their attempts to assist a caller in locating his brother. After realizing their call for service was potentially life-threatening, all personnel acted quickly to enter the residence and render aid, saving the life of the male on two different occasions.
Sergeant Jason McMillin
Sergeant Jason McMillin was dispatched to a residence in the city of Cape Canaveral in reference to a male who was not breathing normally and had a history of traumatic brain injury and seizures.
Upon arriving on-scene and assessing the situation, Sgt. McMillin quickly realized the male was having some sort of cardiac episode and had stopped breathing. Sergeant McMillin determined the male had no pulse and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Cape Canaveral Fire Rescue arrived on-scene and requested Sergeant McMillin continue his life saving efforts. As CCFR began to evaluate him, they realized the male regained a pulse and transported him to an area hospital.
Contact was made with the male’s mother who was extremely grateful for Sergeant McMillin’s quick response. She commented that if he had not started CPR when he did, there was a high likelihood her son would not have survived.
Field Training Officer Josh Mancini
FTO Josh Mancini was among multiple deputies who were dispatched to a call of a collapsed trench at a construction site located in the area of Camp Road and US1 in Cocoa.
The caller was unable to provide an exact location of the trench as FTO Mancini and others responded to the area. After scouring the area, deputies located a large hole, approximately 15 feet deep and several feet wide. At the bottom of this hole, they were able to observe a male up to his neck in muddy water. Due to the consistency of the soft ground and the water in the hole, the male was slowly sinking.
Fearing the victim would drown without assistance, FTO Mancini directed workers on scene to lower a harness off of a boom crane to the male. Once the harness was under the male’s arms, the crane put enough pressure on the male to keep him from sinking further.
As Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) started to arrive on scene, FTO Mancini observed that water was slowly filling the hole and again, was putting the victim’s life at risk. FTO Mancini requested dive equipment be brought on-scene to provide air to the victim. A Scott Air Pack was delivered to the scene until members of the Dive Team could respond with the requested dive equipment, which was used by BCFR to provide the victim with air until he could be raised higher out of the hole.
After approximately two (2) hours, the victim was removed from the hole and moved to a nearby landing zone where Life Flight transported him to an area hospital where he made a full recovery.
This incident is an outstanding example of the team work employed each and every day from the various units of our agency to preserve the life of a citizen in a life-threatening situation.
FTO Mancini’s response to this accident and his actions prevented the probable loss of life due to his direct intervention.
Deputy Sean Maze
Deputy Sean Maze responded to the area of Via Salerno Court, Merritt Island, in reference to a report that two female juveniles had been struck by lightning. Dispatch further reported one female patient was awake and breathing, while the other patient was unresponsive and turning blue.
Upon arrival, Deputy Maze observed two female juvenile victims laying on the ground next to a palm tree. As Deputy Maze approached the girls, he observed one was responsive and gasping, “help me.” The other juvenile’s face was blue/purple in color and had blood around her mouth. Deputy Maze immediately assessed the unresponsive juvenile and found she had no pulse and was not breathing.
Deputy Maze retrieved an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from his patrol vehicle and returned to the victim to render aid. Deputy Maze then initiated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) until he observed the lips of the victim begin to move. Upon the arrival of Brevard County Fire Rescue, the victims were transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. Both victims are expected to recover from their injuries.
The swift response and life saving measures employed by Deputy Maze were essential in preserving the life of the juvenile female initially found to be unresponsive at the scene.
Deputy Kaitlyn Applegate
Deputy Kaitlyn Applegate responded to a call for service where a male was on the top of the Hubert Humphry Bridge straddling the guardrail preparing to jump off. Deputy Applegate was the first to arrive on scene and began talking with the male who was visibly distraught and stating he wanted to commit suicide. After several minutes speaking with the male, she convinced him to take her hand, assisting him to the side of the road preventing him from jumping off the bridge. She was able to calm him and convince him to get into the back of her car where she transported him off the bridge.
Deputy Applegate investigated further and determined he was suffering from severe depression that has gone untreated. He stated he did not want to live because of life circumstances and her actions saved his life. Deputy Applegate transported him to a medical facility where he was able to receive the necessary treatment.
Deputy Applegate’s ability to establish a rapport with the male and calmly speak with him prevented a potential life-ending tragedy. Her direct intervention and expedient action stopped this suicidal individual from following through with his intentions.
Deputy Niclas Woltman and Reserve Deputy Dylan Lemoine
Deputy Niclas Woltman and Reserve Deputy Dylan Lemoine responded to a residence in Cocoa in reference to an injured/ill person. Deputy Woltman, who was the first to arrive on scene, began performing life-saving measures and initiated CPR due to the person being unresponsive. Upon arriving on scene, Reserve Deputy Lemoine deployed his AED while Deputy Woltman continued CPR. Upon attaching the AED to the patient, a shock was administered. The Cocoa Fire Department and Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived soon after and took over life saving measures. The patient was ultimately transported to an area hospital for further treatment.
Brevard County Fire Rescue advised the actions of Deputy Woltman and Reserve Deputy Lemoine were directly responsible for saving the life of the victim.
Deputy Shannon Hooper and Deputy Marc DeLaughter
Deputy Shannon Hooper responded to Culver’s in Viera in reference to a medical incident. The Communications Center advised that an 86-year-old male lost consciousness and was possibly having a heart attack. Once on-scene, Deputy Hooper assessed the male patient and began CPR while requesting another deputy to respond with an AED.
Deputy Hooper continued to perform chest compressions on the male until Deputy Marc DeLaughter arrived on scene with an AED which was quickly applied and two shocks were administered. Brevard Fire Rescue responded and transported the male to an area hospital.
Had it not been for the quick actions of Deputies Hooper and DeLaughter, it is unlikely the male would have survived.
Deputy Joe Batch, Deputy Christina Cea, Field Training Officer Matt Bialobrzeski and Public Safety Telecommunicator Andrew LeBeau
East Precinct deputies responded to an apartment complex in Merritt Island in reference to a frantic call to 911 about a male that was actively hanging himself while the caller was on the phone. While the dispatcher was attempting to gather information about the incident, the caller abruptly ended the call. Public Safety Telecommunicator Andrew LeBeau completed a cross reference on the phone number and was able to determine the caller’s exact location. Based on previous calls, PST LeBeau was able to direct deputies to the location where the incident was occurring in the large apartment complex.
Deputy Joe Batch responded to the location and quickly located the residence in the complex. Deputy Batch observed the back door to the residence ajar and announced his presence. He heard the caller yelling in distress from within and quickly entered. He observed a female in the residence yelling and moving frantically, telling him the father to her child was hanging in the living room. As he approached the male, he observed him hanging from a bed sheet that was attached to the second floor bannister. The male appeared to be deceased based on the lack of body movement, color of his body and the tightly bound sheet around his neck.
Deputy Batch checked the male and was able to detect a faint pulse. Deputy Batch then positioned himself where he could pick the male up to relieve some pressure from the knot around his neck, holding him in this position until other deputies arrived.
Upon arrival, Deputy Christina Cea assisted Deputy Batch with holding the male while FTO Matt Bialobrzeski cut the sheet. They lowered the male down to the floor where he started to breathe but was still unconscious. The male was moved into the recovery position until Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and assumed medical care. Once stable, the male was transported to an area hospital where he eventually made a full recovery.
Without PST LeBeau’s diligence and experience, deputies would not have been able to locate the exact residence within the large apartment complex as quickly in a call where seconds count. There is no doubt the actions of PST LeBeau, Deputy Batch, Deputy Cea and FTO Bialobrzeski directly attributed to the successful outcome and preservation of life.
Corporal Michael Peterson, Field Training Officer Ryan Hummel
While working at the Brevard County Jail Complex, Corporal Michael Peterson was alerted to a possible medical emergency. Corporal Peterson contacted Field Training Officer Ryan Hummel who responded to the sleeping area of a housing unit where he found an inmate displaying labored breathing and unresponsive to verbal commands. FTO Hummel delivered a sternum rub which also was met with no response. He immediately requested assistance and continued to evaluate the inmate whose condition was worsening, ultimately needing to perform CPR.
During these life-saving efforts, FTO Hummel aided in movement of the inmate from his bunk to the floor and delivered 5 rounds of chest compressions, assisted by Corporal Peterson who responded and provided rescue breaths. Ultimately, their efforts resulted in the inmate regaining consciousness.
During this incident, Corporal Peterson and Field Training Officer Hummel utilized their training and experience to provide the inmate with life-saving care.
Corporal Sharonda Haynes, Corporal Michael Peterson, Corporal Phillip Winston, Corporal Adam Turco, Corrections Deputy Brianna Figner and Corrections Deputy Lindsey Martinez
While working at the Jail Complex, Corrections Deputy Brianna Figner was alerted to a possible medical emergency in one of the housing units. Upon responding to the area, Corrections Deputy Figner found an unresponsive inmate that was blue in the face and appeared to not be breathing. Corrections Deputy Figner performed multiple sternum rubs before requesting medical assistance.
Corrections Corporal Phillip Winston was first to respond and assisted Corrections Deputy Figner with moving the inmate from his assigned top bunk to the floor where life-saving efforts could be conducted. Immediately after moving the inmate, Correction Deputy Figner began providing chest compressions. Corrections Corporal Adam Turco responded with and applied the AED as Corporal Winston began delivering the next round of chest compressions. Corporal Winston, Corporal Peterson, Corporal Turco, Corporal Haynes and Corrections Deputy Lindsey Martinez all performed life-saving measures during the incident which ultimately resulted in the AED administering one shock to the inmate.
The collective efforts of these corrections deputies resulted in the inmate receiving additional medical care and ultimately making a full recovery.
Deputy Chris Matthias, Deputy Kyle Reinhardt and Deputy Robert Bennett
East Precinct Deputy Chris Matthias, Deputy Kyle Reinhardt, and Deputy Robert Bennett, responded to a Merritt Island residence in reference to an unresponsive female.
Upon arrival, Deputy Chris Matthias was met in the driveway of the residence by the victim’s daughter, who informed him which bedroom her mother and her grandmother were located in within the house. As Deputy Matthias made his way into the bedroom, he observed the victim laying on the ground. Her mother was observed kneeling beside her performing chest compressions. Deputy Matthias instructed her to step away from the victim to allow him to continue life saving measures, which he did until Deputy Kyle Reinhardt and Deputy Robert Bennett arrived on scene.
Deputy Reinhardt activated his automated external defibrillator (AED) and Deputy Bennett subsequently applied the AED pads in the appropriate positions on the victim. The AED evaluated the victim and advised no shock was required and to continue with chest compressions. Deputy Matthias and Deputy Reinhardt continued to administer chest compressions until Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived and took over all life saving measures. BCFR informed on scene deputies the victim now had a pulse when they assumed treatment and subsequently transported her to an area hospital for further medical care.
Contact was made with the attending physician who informed deputies that the victim’s condition was currently stable and she was being admitted into the intensive care unit for further treatment.
During a true emergency, Deputy Matthias, Deputy Reinhardt, and Deputy Bennett’s actions prevented the probable loss of life by exercising appropriate first aid procedures. The deputies’ actions were directly responsible for sustaining the victim’s life.
Corporal Willard Freeman and Deputy James Christoffel
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office received multiple 9-1-1 calls from residents hearing gunshots in the area of Cypress Avenue, Mims. The callers indicated they heard rapid gun fire, possibly from rifles. Several North Precinct deputies responded immediately and were told via the radio that children were walking home and someone had been chasing them and shooting at them.
Deputy James Christoffel arrived in the area and found a juvenile laying in the roadway with gunshot wounds. Deputy Christoffel called for the immediate response of Brevard County Fire Rescue and retrieved his AED. As Deputy Christoffel returned to the victim, Corporal Willard Freeman arrived and assisted with the lifesaving measures. While applying the AED, the deputies assessed the victim’s wounds and discovered he had suffered multiple gunshots. When the AED advised not to shock the victim, Deputy Christoffel began chest compressions with the assistance of Corporal Freeman until Brevard County Fire Rescue arrived and took over the medical treatment of the juvenile. Deputy Christoffel immediately began taking pictures of the crime scene and the paramedics working on the victim in order to preserve evidence of the crime scene.
As Fire Rescue was caring for the patient, Deputy Christoffel obtained information on the likely identity of the victim as he continued to check the area for evidence and witnesses. Deputy Christoffel learned the victim was a sixteen-year-old male who had been ambushed while walking home from a friend’s house.
Due to the efforts of the deputies on scene and BCFR, the victim regained a pulse and was able to be transported to the hospital for emergency treatment. Unfortunately, due to the severity of his wounds the young man passed away several days after the shooting.
Corporal Freeman and Deputy Christoffel entered what could have been an active shooting scene, risking their own safety, to immediately tend to the medical needs of a child victim. Their actions prevented the immediate loss of life by exercising the appropriate first aid procedures competently and professionally. Had they not taken immediate action, the child may have died prior to the paramedic’s arrival, thus not giving him the opportunity to receive advanced medical care.
Deputy Kevin Tesmacher
While off-duty, Corrections Field Training Officer Kevin Tesmacher responded to a medical emergency which involved a long-time friend. During a pool tournament, the male suddenly collapsed and began to have a seizure. Field Training Officer Tesmacher quickly placed the male onto his side in the recovery position. After a few minutes, the man’s health declined and he stopped breathing. Field Training Officer Tesmacher immediately assessed the situation, and with the help of another friend, began administering CPR until Brevard County Fire Recue arrived on scene. Due to Field Training Officer Tesmacher’s quick response, the life of his dear friend was saved.
Field Training Officer Tesmacher’s poised demeanor under stressful circumstances was instrumental in saving the life of a valued friend. His response not only saved a life, but reflected the highest standards of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Andrew Schoener, Deputy Christian Portocarrero and Deputy Tyler Conway
Deputy Andrew Schoener, Deputy Christian Portocarrero and Deputy Tyler Conway responded to Indian River Colony Club in reference to a golf cart that crashed into a canal. While deputies were enroute, dispatch advised a golf cart had driven over a hill and landed in a water filled canal. They were further advised an elderly female was trapped under water, under the golf cart, and an elderly male was trying to get her out.
Deputy Portocarrero was first to arrive on scene and was directed by the reporting person to the location of the golf cart. Deputy Portocarrero observed a canal, filled with water and steep sides, making ascent or descent into the canal very difficult. Deputy Portocarrero rapidly accessed the situation and noticed an elderly male sitting in the water, with water rising to the level of his upper chest. The elderly male was leaning against the golf cart, using the golf cart as support to keep from going under the water. Deputy Portocarrero also observed an elderly female submerged, face down in the water, at the front of the golf cart. Deputy Portocarrero did not hesitate and descended into the canal to render aid at the same time providing updates over the radio to responding units.
Deputy Portocarrero approached the elderly female and attempted to pull her out of the water. He quickly discovered her right shoulder was pinned under the golf cart and her right arm was stuck underneath the floorboard area. Deputy Portocarrero lifted the front end of the golf cart, high enough to free the elderly female’s shoulder and arm. After freeing her, Deputy Portocarrero rolled the female over and observed her eyes were open but she was not breathing and did not have a pulse. At this time, Deputy Schoener arrived on scene and descended into the canal without hesitation, and immediately assisted Deputy Portocarrero in moving the female to the bank of the canal. Once on the bank, they began life saving measures by performing CPR.
Deputy Conway soon arrived on scene, jumping into action by assisting Deputy Schoener and Deputy Portocarrero in moving the elderly female up the steep embankment in order to better provide medical treatment. Deputy Conway and Deputy Portocarrero continued to perform CPR, as well as initiating the use of the AED, until the arrival of Brevard County Fire Rescue, who assumed the lifesaving measures on the elderly female. As this was occurring, Deputy Schoener descended back into the canal to assist the elderly male that was still in the water.
Deputy Schoener discovered the elderly male was injured and did not have the strength to stand up. Deputy Schoener entered the water and assisted the elderly male in standing up, to prevent his head from going under water. The elderly male did not have the strength to ascend out of the steep canal, so Deputy Schoener held the male up, until more units arrived to assist. Deputy Portocarrero assisted Deputy Schoener with the elderly male. Deputy Schoener, with the assistance of Deputy Portocarrero, and a medic with BCFR, lifted the elderly male out of the water and carried him up the steep embankment to safety.
Deputy Portocarrero, Deputy Schoener, and Deputy Conway displayed outstanding abilities by effectively working together, as a team, to assist in providing lifesaving measures for two elderly persons, by removing them from harm’s way to receive proper medical treatment.
Deputy Scott Falla
Field Training Officer Ummel and Deputy Scott Falla responded to a residence in Melbourne, in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival, they witnessed Corporal Hannah Polito outside the residence saying she needed gloves, that there was a lot of blood. Corporal Polito started running towards the back yard of the residence and they followed after her.
Deputy Falla and FTO Ummel located a male sitting near the edge of the pond, with what appeared to be a deep laceration on his wrist. Deputy Falla immediately obtained his agency issued tourniquet and applied it to the male’s upper arm. Deputy Falla and FTO Ummel helped the male walk to the front of the house to meet BCFR paramedics who transported him by ambulance to an area hospital.
Further investigation determined that the victim attempted to take his own life utilizing a box cutter to slice his wrist. According to paramedics who responded to the incident, without Deputy Falla’s crucial tourniquet application, the victim would have very likely died from the injury due to loss of blood volume.
Deputy Falla acted swiftly and calmly to provide effective lifesaving treatment despite only being in his second week of phase 1 of field training. As a result of his actions, the male recovered from his injuries and received treatment for his emotional distress.
Field Training Officer Greg Matthews, Deputy Kyle Fitzgerald, Deputy Josh Chamberlain and Deputy Marissa Wright
FTO Greg Matthews along with Deputy Josh Chamberlain and Deputy Marissa Wright responded to Jetty Park in reference to a possible drowning. Upon their arrival, the deputies observed a subject partially on the beach, who had been recovered unresponsive from the water.
Noting the subject was unresponsive, Deputies Wright, Matthews, and Chamberlain all took turns performing CPR while Deputy Kyle Fitzgerald applied AED patches to the patient. During his break from chest compressions, Deputy Chamberlain responded to the Jetty parking lot to identify the subject by querying his vehicle’s tag.
Paramedics arrived on scene, taking over for deputies who were all sharing CPR responsibilities. The male was transported to an area hospital where Deputy Chamberlain and Deputy Wright followed to obtain a status on his condition. Once at the hospital, they were informed the patient was in critical condition however was likely to survive.
According to hospital personnel, the male undoubtedly would have succumbed to injuries on scene if not for the quick response of these deputies and their teamwork in performing lifesaving measures.
Deputy James Christoffel
Deputies were dispatched to a residence in unincorporated Cocoa where a distraught male was threatening to commit suicide with a firearm. As deputies arrived on scene, they observed a male seated on the steps of a travel trailer in the back yard of the residence. While maintaining a perimeter position, Deputy Christoffel began speaking with the male and convinced him to stand up and surrender himself.
The male left the travel trailer, at which time he was observed to be armed with a firearm. The male then placed the barrel of the firearm against the side of his head while saying he was not going to hurt deputies but that he intended to end his life.
Deputy Christoffel continued speaking with the male for approximately 20 minutes until he successfully convinced the male to lower the firearm. Once the firearm was lowered, he was taken into custody and transported to a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.
Deputy Christoffel did an outstanding job deescalating a potentially deadly situation, using his communication skills to save the life of an armed male suffering a mental health crisis.
Chief Pilot John Coppola and Aviation Mechanic Mike Ryle
Hurricane Nicole impacted the east coast of Florida causing severe wind, rain and intense surf conditions in the Atlantic Ocean, Banana River and Indian River.
During the height of the storm, the Communications Center received a call from a male who was riding out the storm on his 36-foot sailboat. The male advised that his sailboat had broken free from its mooring and was now sideways in the Indian River with the keel of the boat stuck in the bottom of the river. As the wind continued to produce large swells, the boat began to fill with water. Hearing the call for assistance, Chief Pilot John Coppola and Aviation Mechanic Mike Ryle responded to the area with an inflatable Zodiac boat.
Upon arriving in the area, Chief Pilot Coppola and Mechanic Ryle launched the inflatable boat and battled the rough conditions while making their way to the sailboat. Once at the sailboat, they had to position their inflatable boat to ensure they could rescue the male while also ensuring their safety as well. They were able to safely bring him aboard their inflatable boat and return to the shoreline while continuing to battle the rough conditions. The male was turned over to the Cocoa Fire Department and Brevard County Fire Rescue who provided medical care.
During this event, Chief Pilot Coppola and Mechanic Ryle placed their own safety in danger in order to conduct the water rescue. Their efforts most likely saved the life of this boater during a natural disaster.
22-014 Deputy Don Eri
Deputy Don Eri received information from a foster parent in reference to a juvenile who was possibly setting fires. The foster parent had become concerned after learning the juvenile had started a fire at the home of his grandparents and had been caught by the foster parent setting a fire in a garbage can at the residence.
Upon learning this information, Deputy Eri found that the juvenile had been questioned in reference to a recent fire at a skate park in Merritt Island. Deputy Eri also located two additional suspicious fires reported in the area. Deputy Eri contacted the arson investigator from the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives, who advised they were having trouble locating the juvenile who had been suspended from school and left the foster home. Deputy Eri was able to locate the juvenile, who during the interview with the Fire Investigator, confessed to setting the fires at the skate park and a local park restroom.
Due to the initiative and thoroughness of Deputy Eri, the arsonist was identified, located and arrested. The arrest of this juvenile likely prevented other potential property and life-threatening arsons. For his actions, Deputy Eri is receiving a Bar of Merit.
22-055 Agent Mike Spadafora
Agent Mike Spadafora began investigating a CyberTip received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reporting that a user of Yahoo e-mail had uploaded over 600 images and videos of suspected child abuse material to their servers.
During his review of the material, Agent Spadafora observed numerous images of child pornography that contained unidentified victims. Agent Spadafora suspected these images were being produced by a suspect living in Merritt Island. Further investigation revealed the suspect had access to a 3-year-old and 5-year-old, who were believed to be the children in the images. Due to the immediate need to protect these children from further abuse, a search warrant was obtained and served at the suspect’s residence. During the search of the residence, a computer was located in the suspect’s bedroom that showed he was actively viewing and sharing child pornography. Based on the material and other evidence collected from the search, the suspect was arrested.
Through his efforts and dedication, Agent Spadafora saved two young children from further abuse by their family member and was able to provide them with counseling and other services needed. Agent Spadafora is being recognized for his investigation with a Bar of Merit.
22-092 Sergeant Kristina Isbell, Field Training Officer Brian Claudius, Corrections Deputy Brian Stevens and Corrections Deputy Zachary Sornberger
When a brush fire erupted east of the Jail Complex and quickly spread to the north with many homes in its path, the Communication Center called for any available unit to respond and assist with evacuating homes in the path of the fire. Sergeant Kristina Isbell, Field Training Officer Brian Claudius, Corrections Deputy Brian Stevens and Corrections Deputy Zachary Sornberger responded to the area.
While on scene, Sergeant Isbell, Corrections Deputy Stevens and Corrections Deputy Sornberger assisted other patrol deputies and Brevard County Fire Rescue with evacuating homes, helping citizens with special needs and directing traffic away from the affected area. Field Training Officer Claudius (a volunteer fireman) assisted BCFR Station #28 with extinguishing structure fires and saving several other structures from fire damage.
Due to the quick actions of Sergeant Isbell, Field Training Officer Claudius, Corrections Deputy Stevens, and Corrections Deputy Sornberger, they were able to help prevent any further loss of property and assist our citizens to safety.
22-097 Sergeant Sean Wilkin, Corporal Josh Williams, Agent Aaron Becker, Deputy Justin Edgar, Deputy Bobby Smith, Deputy Alexandria Zeglen and Deputy Mitchell Hannon
Agent Aaron Becker and Deputy Justin Edgar responded to a call for service regarding a wildfire behind Woody’s BBQ in unincorporated Cocoa. Upon Agent Becker and Deputy Edgar arriving on scene, they guided Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) in with a brush truck, which was the only fire equipment capable of traversing the terrain. The responding BCFR brush truck only had two fire fighters, so they asked for the deputies’ assistance. Agent Becker and Deputy Edgar assisted BCFR by operating fire hoses on the truck in an attempt to extinguish the flames.
On the northeast perimeter of the fire, in the neighborhood adjacent to Broadway Boulevard, deputies and Fire Rescue were evacuating homes. Sergeant Sean Wilkin, Corporal Josh Williams, Deputy Bobby Smith, Deputy Alexandria Zeglen and Deputy Mitchell Hannon began evacuating residents along Akorn Street. As the fire progressed, it grew from three acres to approximately fifteen acres in size. While the fire was increasing in severity, several items such as old cars, lawn equipment, propane tanks, and debris, were also set ablaze and began randomly and violently exploding. Sergeant Wilkin, Corporal Williams, Deputy Smith, Deputy Zeglen and Deputy Hannon continued to work feverishly to evacuate residents and pets that had been left behind.
Upon approaching 371 and 367 Akorn Street, in the direct path of the center of the fire, Sergeant Wilkin was made aware of three dogs and a parrot left inside two of the residences. Both residences were ablaze with 50-foot flames erupting from the structures and trees in the backyards. Sergeant Wilkin breached the front doors and entered the houses to save the animals (with the assistance of Corporal Williams and Deputy Hannon). As a result of these courageous efforts, the three dogs and a parrot trapped inside the homes were quickly rescued unharmed and returned to their owners. If not for the quick, diligent action of the involved deputies, the animals would surely have perished in the fire.
Without the determination of the involved deputies, the outcome may have been drastically different resulting in the loss of human life as well as the beloved pets which were rescued.
22-102 Agent Harry Bermudez
Between January 2021 and April 2022, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force received thirteen (13) case reports involving jet skis/jet boats as an investment scam that defrauded Brevard County victims out of $209,000.00. Agent Harry Bermudez was assigned and investigated all the Brevard County cases. During the investigation, Agent Bermudez identified the suspect and determined he had three different ways to scam victims out of money.
Agent Bermudez’s investigation led him to more victims and other affected jurisdictions. He was able to deconflict with GCU agents and deputies from Volusia County to build a better overall case of scheming to defraud. Agent Bermudez determined all the stolen money was used to support the suspect’s gambling addiction. Agent Bermudez was able to follow all the money from the victims, to the suspect and ultimately to the Casinos and/or Kennel Clubs. Agent Bermudez’ investigation was on-going for approximately one year, but ultimately cleared all of the opened Brevard County Sheriff’s Office cases with an arrest.
As a result of his investigative efforts, Agent Bermudez was able to provide other jurisdictions with information needed to clear their open cases. This was a difficult and time-consuming investigation that ended in the arrest of a suspect for an organized fraud that occurred in multiple jurisdictions.
22-112 Agent Dan Magill
East Precinct deputies responded to a residence in Merritt Island in reference to a mailbox that had been blown up. Deputies quickly located evidence which they perceived to be the remnants of an improvised explosive device. Agent Dan Magill was contacted and responded as the on-call agent for the East Precinct General Crimes Unit. Agent Magill was briefed on the incident, then expanded the crime scene perimeter and contacted the on call BCSO Bomb Squad technician.
Immediately, Agent Magill began interviews and learned the victim just moved into the residence 48 hours prior and the landscaper for the property was owed money by the prior tenant. Witness interviews confirmed the suspect arrived at the neighbor’s residence earlier in the day asking about money he was owed. The suspect drove away, stopping next to the mailbox that exploded within a minute of him leaving. Agent Magill obtained residential video surveillance which showed a black sport utility vehicle, driven by a white male with a beard, exit the truck at the neighbor’s residence. Agent Magill was able to identify the owner of the SUV who was on felony probation.
Crime Scene Investigators and Explosive Ordinance Disposal members determined the device used to destroy the mailbox was a manufactured destructive device, which was not constructed hastily. The maker would have needed ample time to construct the device in a clandestine manner, to avoid detection by witnesses, or law enforcement. Throughout the night and into the early morning hours, Agent Magill developed probable cause and drafted an arrest warrant for the suspect and a search warrant for his residence. Later that morning during the execution of the search warrant, the suspect was located and arrested. During the search of the residence, two suspected explosive/incendiary devices were located.
Throughout this long and extensive investigation, Agent Magill showed great thoroughness, determination and outstanding investigative skills. His efforts led to the arrest of the suspect and the recovery of evidence to substantiate the initial crime as well as the recovery of additional improvised explosive devices.
22-146 Agent Gary Haas
Agent Gary Haas and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement initiated a joint investigation into a potential human trafficking ring affecting multiple jurisdictions. As a result of the very complex investigation, agents found evidence the suspects had recruited three juvenile females to perform sex acts with them for money. Further investigation also revealed the suspects, on multiple occasions, had video recorded the sex acts being performed with the victims.
As a result of the investigation, both suspects were arrested for multiple counts of human trafficking, use of a minor in a sexual performance and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The expertise of Agent Haas in investigating this case removed two dangerous sexual predators from the community and allowed the healing process to begin for the juvenile victims.
22-151 Corporal Michael Coppola
While driving home at the conclusion of his shift, Corporal Michael Coppola noticed a vehicle stuck on the railroad tracks approximately fifty yards south of the intersection at Viera Boulevard and U.S.1. He immediately stopped his patrol car and went to render aid. Upon approaching the vehicle, he discovered a very disoriented ninety-three-year old man sitting in the driver’s seat. Corporal Coppola’s investigation revealed the elderly man had taken a wrong turn and was stuck on the railroad tracks. Corporal Coppola was able to remove the man from the vehicle and carry him to safety while making notification to the Florida East Coast Railway to stop any trains in transit until the vehicle could be moved. At the time of this incident, there was a northbound train that would have collided with the vehicle without Corporal Coppola’s intervention.
The actions taken by Corporal Coppola averted a potentially dangerous situation that would most likely have resulted in the serious injury or death of the elderly male.
22-183 Agent Mitch Matthias
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit was notified of a homicide that occurred on Oriole Circle, in Barefoot Bay. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a female deceased from an apparent gunshot wound in her living room. They also discovered the decedent’s boyfriend, who claimed an unknown intruder entered their residence and shot his girlfriend. Agent Mitch Matthias was assigned as the lead investigator.
Agent Matthias established an investigative plan that maximized the productivity of the Homicide and Crime Scene Units. Despite the efforts of the suspect to create investigative hurdles and distract the investigators, Agent Matthias stayed with his plan and trusted his investigative instincts. As a result of his efforts, Agent Matthias gathered enough evidence and testimony to prove the decedent’s boyfriend killed the victim in their home. Despite his use of multiple K9 searches, drone and grid searches, the firearm used in the homicide was unable to be located. Agent Matthias’ dedication and leadership was unmatched as he motivated his team to continue the search until the murder weapon was found hidden near an adjacent property.
Agent Matthias interviewed the suspect, who ultimately confessed to shooting his girlfriend and as well as his attempts to hide the evidence and distract the investigators. Had it not been for Agent Matthias’ refusal to give up, the case may have gone unsolved. Instead, in less than 48 hours, Agent Matthias arrested the suspect for 2nd Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
22-184 Agent Neil Lee
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit was notified of a homicide that occurred on West Ridgewood Drive, in Cocoa. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a male actively attempting to bury a body in the backyard of the residence. Deputies secured the male and requested the assistance of the Homicide Unit. Agent Neil Lee was assigned as the lead investigator.
Despite his limited tenure with the Homicide Unit, Agent Lee was quick to formulate an investigative plan and organized the efforts of his fellow investigative agents and crime scene investigators. Upon entry into the residence, Agent Lee was confronted with a vast amount of blood evidence throughout the home. Agent Lee did not allow the challenging crime scene to dissuade him from paying attention to the smallest details. This attention to detail proved invaluable in understanding the complexity of the situation that led to the homicide.
Through his tireless efforts to find the truth, Agent Lee conducted extensive interviews and spent hours working with crime scene investigators to use the blood evidence to reveal how and why the homicide occurred. Agent Lee meticulously assembled the evidence and crime scene details until he ultimately determined the suspect, who entered the country from Mexico the day prior, used an edged weapon to repeatedly strike the homeowner, who allowed him to live in his home. The continued attack culminated when the victim died from his wounds. The suspect then dragged the decedent’s body out of the residence and into the backyard, where he began to bury the decedent in an attempt to hide the murder.
Agent Lee’s relentless pursuit of the truth not only proved the suspect committed the murder, it also revealed that no other person could have committed it. As a result of his work, Agent Lee arrested the suspect for Second Degree Murder and Tampering with Evidence.
22-185 Sergeant Cory Jackson
In January of 2021, Sergeant Jackson was assigned to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit as an investigative agent. Sergeant Jackson was assigned an investigation in which Department of Children and Families alleged that an adult male suspect engaged in sexual intercourse with a fourteen-year-old female.
Sergeant Jackson’s investigation revealed the suspect met the victim and established an online relationship with her with the intent to groom her for future sexual encounters. On one occasion, the suspect contacted the victim and instructed her to sneak out of her residence and meet him in a public park on Merritt Island. The victim agreed and met the male at the park. The male lured the victim into his van and drove her to an abandoned warehouse. While at the warehouse, the male provided the victim with drugs and engaged in sexual relations with her throughout the night, during which he photographed and video-recorded the sessions.
During the course of the 22-month investigation, Sergeant Jackson drafted and served multiple search warrants and conducted multiple interviews to ensure he could obtain as much evidence as possible to bring the suspect to justice. Sergeant Jackson worked tirelessly with multiple BCSO units and other agencies to prove the multiple sexual attacks of the 14-year-old victim. Sergeant Jackson ultimately presented the case to the State Attorney’s Office to ensure the suspect would not be free to sexually batter any other children in the future.
22-186 Agent Mitch Matthias
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit was notified of a homicide that occurred on Hunt Drive, in Merritt Island. Upon arrival, deputies discovered an adult male victim, deceased in his garage from an apparent gunshot wound. Agent Mitch Matthias was assigned as the lead investigator.
From the onset of the investigation, Agent Matthias had minimal evidence or leads to follow. With no known witnesses, Agent Matthias demonstrated creative thinking to canvass additional neighborhoods for any information. This led Agent Matthias to multiple security cameras that ultimately revealed the suspect’s vehicle arriving and departing from the victim’s residence. Although Agent Matthias was new to the Homicide Unit and had yet to lead a homicide investigation, his training and experience helped him to maintain a positive outlook which kept the investigation moving forward. His tenacity for finding more leads eventually led to a nearby convenience store, where the suspect was captured on surveillance video and used his personal customer rewards number to conduct a transaction.
Agent Matthias used these leads to positively identify the suspect and determine he not only shot and killed the homeowner, he also took items from the victim’s home after he shot and killed him. Agent Matthias utilized multiple agency resources to locate the suspect and continue to gather evidence. Due to his tireless efforts, he successfully arrested the homicide suspect and recovered the victim’s stolen property, as well as the property of the victim’s roommate.
22-214 Agent Kyle Pemberton
Agent Kyle Pemberton initiated an investigation into a major drug trafficking organization. This investigation would span six months and culminated with a search warrant at the main suspect’s residence and the arrest and federal prosecution of this distributor of dangerous narcotics.
During the course of the investigation, Agent Pemberton was able to cultivate two informants that could purchase heroin/fentanyl and methamphetamine from the suspect of this investigation. Throughout March and into August 2022, Agent Pemberton worked diligently with the informants as they were able to make the multiple controlled purchases of methamphetamine and heroin/fentanyl from a residence in Titusville.
Based on the above information and because of the great investigative efforts of Agent Pemberton, Special Agent Brian Lammers with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) adopted the case federally. The case was brought before a Federal Grand Jury on September 14, 2022, where an indictment was issued for multiple federal charges for the distribution of dangerous narcotics.
Immediately following the indictment, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team executed the federal search warrant at the suspect’s residence. During the search of the residence, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine were located. Multiple handguns were also recovered with one being reported stolen from Titusville.
Because of his hard work and countless hours on this investigation, Agent Pemberton removed a dangerous convicted felon off the streets of Brevard County who was poisoning the citizens and contributing to the drug pandemic we face in our country every day.
22-253 Lieutenant Brandon Gish, Corporal Jose Santos, K-9 Deputy Andrew Johnson, K-9 Deputy Josh Hardy and Deputy Kirby Gobeli
On the evening of June 25, 2022, South Precinct deputies received radio notification that
Indian River County Sheriff’s Office personnel were pursuing a vehicle being driven by an individual who had taken two hostages and had discharged a firearm several times at their deputies. Several Brevard County deputies responded to the area to assist in apprehending the suspect and rescuing the hostages that he had taken.
The suspect’s vehicle ultimately came to a stop in the area of Foley Lane in Grant Valkaria. Lieutenant Brandon Gish, Corporal Jose Santos, K-9 Deputy Andrew Johnson, K-9 Deputy Josh Hardy and Deputy Kirby Gobeli arrived on scene becoming involved in the standoff that ensued.
After a brief time of failed negotiations, the suspect emerged from the vehicle with one of the hostages being held closely to his body with a firearm pushed against the female hostage’s head. The suspect was able to retreat with the hostage into the wood line under the cover of darkness.
These deputies, along with personnel from the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and Sebastian Police Department, formed a hostage rescue team and pursued the suspect on foot into the woods.
As the pursuit continued, the rescue team came into contact with the suspect and his hostage in a clearing. Once the suspect was illuminated by the light of STAR, gunshots were exchanged by Corporal Santos, the suspect, and other members of the rescue team, resulting in the suspect being killed and the hostage being rescued. Deputy Gobeli immediately began to render medical aid to the rescued hostage who was relatively unharmed and escorted her away from the scene to safety.
Throughout the entirety of the incident, in spite of being fired upon and having no visibility in the darkness, these deputy sheriffs displayed a calm and collected demeanor which directly contributed to the success of the rescue mission described. Because of their resolve, bravery, and fearlessness, there was no further injury or loss of life to the hostages.
22-264 Deputy Thomas Farragher
During the past year, Deputy Farragher has conducted numerous traffic stops in an effort to educate the citizens of Brevard County on traffic laws while searching for impaired drivers and illegal drugs. As a result of his efforts, Deputy Farragher made over one hundred Driving Under the Influence arrests as well as several other arrests for the possession of illegal drugs.
Deputy Farragher’s passion for DUI enforcement is also evident in his willingness to educate and develop new deputies assigned his shift. In addition to mentoring others, he has taken it upon himself to attend advanced DUI trainings to help with his own education and experience. His growing knowledge, passion and experience for DUI investigations directly reflects in his work product, as nearly all of his arrests have been successfully filed by the State Attorney’s Office without issues. The State Attorney’s Office is also recommended for Deputy Farragher to submit his application to the Drug Recognition Expert School, which requires State Attorney’s Office approval.
Deputy Farragher is a highly proactive and self-motivated member of the Cape Canaveral Precinct. Because of his actions, over 100 impaired and potentially dangerous drivers were apprehended and removed from the streets of Brevard County. Additionally, he is the first BCSO deputy since 2017 to make over 100 Driving Under the Influence arrests within a single year.