NATIONAL ORGANIZATION RECOGNIZES AVIS BURROWS
By Gary Davidson
With Avis Burrows’ infectious smile, big heart, love of children and passion for public service, we at the Sheriff’s Office have known for years that we have something special in our midst. And now, those beyond Volusia’s borders are finding out as well, thanks to a prestigious national award recently presented to Deputy Burrows.
"Volusia County Deputy Sheriff Avis Burrows has made a truly profound and positive influence in the lives of young people," Sheriff Ben Johnson wrote in his letter of nomination to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE for short. NOBLE obviously agreed, bestowing on Burrows its first ever Atkins Warren Award. The award, which recognizes the Officer of the Year, was presented to a stunned Burrows at a recent NOBLE regional conference in Jacksonville. Burrows had no idea that she would receive the award until she was called to the podium during the closing banquet on the final day of the four-day conference.
"Shock and surprise took over," said Burrows of her reaction upon hearing her name. "I’m still in awe to know that because of my job performance, I was selected by my Sheriff to be the recipient of this distinguished aware. I’m honored!"
With more than 50 chapters throughout the United States, NOBLE was formed in 1976 to address racial issues and ensure fairness in the administration of justice. Among its guiding principles, NOBLE promotes respect, integrity, accountability and mentoring in the law enforcement profession. In Burrows, NOBLE found a perfect blending of the organization’s ideals.
"Deputy Avis Burrows exemplifies the very best ideals of community policing as she blends compassion, common sense and professionalism," said Sheriff Johnson.
Burrows first joined the Sheriff’s Office as a civilian employee in 1980. In 1986, she went on to become the first African-American female deputy in the agency. Following assignments in court security and road patrol, Burrows found her current niche helping to mold young, impressionable students as a School Resource Deputy. Along the way, Burrows has earned numerous accolades, including her selection as the 2002 middle school SRD of the Year and deputy of the quarter honors in 2003. She also is an active volunteer with the 100 Deputies/100 Kids program and finds time amidst her hectic schedule to be a foster parent.
The NOBLE award is named after Atkins W. Warren, who worked for decades in law enforcement and the criminal justice arena on both the local and federal levels, dedicating his life to addressing race relations and discrimination.