Public Information Officer
When a victim from New Jersey sent $10,000 to a con artist in a “Publisher’s Clearing House” scam earlier this year, the clock started ticking on any chance to see any of that money ever again.
Luckily for the victim, the money went to an address in Deltona – where a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office investigator tracked down a suspect, got a confession from her, sifted through hundreds of recently purchased merchandise and even returned several of those items to retailers to recover most of the victim’s cash.
That work by Investigator Julian Elmazi was just one example of the dedication and tenacity shown by all of the latest, best Sheriff’s Office Employees of the Quarter. Elmazi was joined by Deputy of the Quarter Miguel A. Roman, Civilian Employee of the Quarter Tara Pronovost, Telecommunicator of the Quarter Jennifer Clay and Volunteer of the Quarter Alan Ponder.
“The job that you all do is outstanding,” Sheriff Ben Johnson said as he presented the awards Tuesday morning. “You’re a credit to this agency.”
The Clearing House scam happened in February, but Elmazi continued working (and solving) several tough cases through the second quarter of 2015. In April, his investigations led to arrests in a shooting case and two complex fraud cases – one involving about $74,000 and the other $200,000. In June, his work also led to pending charges against three suspects in the armed robbery of a Deltona bank. “These are just a few examples of the hard work and dedication Investigator Elmazi displays on each case he is assigned,” Sgt. Pat Leahy wrote in nominating Elmazi for the honor.
Similarly, Deputy Roman proved vital in solving several burglaries and other cases in the DeLand and northwest Volusia area. In May, as one of the first units on scene of a shooting, Roman carried a wounded 81-year-old woman to a safe area and performed CPR. While she later succumbed to her injuries, Roman’s efforts were commendable – and, like the rest of his hard work, representative of what it means to be a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy.
Pronovost, a Sheriff’s Office fingerprint technician, has made 114 identifications so far this year. Those have included old cases she’s reanalyzed – like a sexual battery case from 2000 and a home invasion and sexual battery case from 2010. Recently, Pronovost also worked relentlessly in analyzing a fingerprint on a safe recovered from a body of water – repeatedly running through possible matches and re-plotting all the unique characteristics of the print until she identified a match.
In April, Telecommunicator Jennifer Clay took a 9-1-1 call from a hysterical caller reporting that someone at a DeLand-area gas station wasn’t breathing. The reason turned out to be a heroin overdose, and Clay’s work getting deputies to the scene quickly and safely gave her a chance of survival. A deputy successfully performed CPR on the victim, and she was sitting up and breathing when medical units arrived. Of Clay’s part in the communications center, Sheriff Johnson said: “It’s a tough job, and once again, they did a great job.”
Alan Ponder, a volunteer in the Sheriff’s Office Citizen Observer Program (COP) since April 2013, has consistently volunteered more time than anyone else since he joined – 2,378 hours. He patrols on a 5-hour shift four to five days a week. “Alan is that extra set of eyes and ears that the VCSO can count on to help out under any given situation,” COP coordinator Tim Lamprey wrote. “He is a credit to Volusia County, the VCSO and to the community he serves by donating his time and experience to make it a safer place to live and work.”
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151