Public Information Officer
When a tip came in that someone in Volusia County was writing emails about molesting two children, Sheriff’s Investigator Chastity Burke didn’t wait aroundfor subpoenaed records to identify the suspect.
She tracked him down.
The case, involving an Ormond Beach man who used a fictitious email account to discuss his child sex crimes with another person, was just one of many Burke has helped solve in her time with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Over the past two years, Burke has worked more than 500 cases.
Burke was one of several “employees of the quarter” recognized Tuesday by Sheriff Ben Johnson. The others were: Deputy of the Quarter Christina Chaves, Employee of the Quarter Samantha Collins, Telecommunicator of the Quarter Teddy Griffin, and Volunteer of the Quarter John O’Brien.
“What separates Chastity from her contemporaries is her tenacity and vigor to protect children,” her supervisor, Sgt. Kurt Schoeps, wrote in Burke’s nomination for recognition. “She does not give up until she knows that the child in the case is safe and the suspect is no longer in a position to exploit children.”
In the sex abuse case, Burke had received a tip that someone was exchanging emails about molesting one girl, with plans to molest another. The email was under a fake name, and few other details were available. Burke sent out numerous subpoenas for records, but knowing those would take a couple of days, she went out on her own to track down a suspect. The investigation quickly led Burke to the suspect’s home, and Burke discovered he was living there with three juvenile females.
Burke staked out the home. Within days, the subpoenaed records confirmed he was the suspect sending the emails, and Burke ultimately obtained a search warrant that led to suspect’s arrest and confession. An 8-year-old girl and a 3-year-old girl told investigators the suspect had abused them in the past.
“I’m so proud of what you have done,” Sheriff Johnson told Burke on Tuesday.
Burke was joined by:
Chaves, who helped rescue a driver who had crashed and become trapped in his vehicle in the frigid waters of a drainage canal. Chaves was off-duty when she arrived on-scene and, along with Sgt. James Day, jumped into the canal to rescue the driver. “It’s not often people can say they went out and saved a life,” Sheriff Johnson told Chaves. “But you all did.”
Collins, whose work with the Sheriff’s Office 100 Deputies/100 Kids program has given hundreds of Volusia children and their families a memorable and meaningful experience during the holidays. Collins has been volunteering with the program since she was a child. “Her dedication at this young age showed how strong her feelings were for the program,” Investigator Lily Efird wrote in her nomination.
Griffin, whose calm work on a call involving a combative, suicidal female armed with razor blades helped Daytona Beach police officers take her into custody swiftly and safely. No officers were hurt.
O’Brien, who’s become known as the first volunteer to step up when someone is needed. O’Brien, who works in Deltona in the Citizens Observer Program, routinely responds to emergencies and helps get the right people and equipment in place at the right time.
Sheriff Johnson also recognized the teamwork of all the Sheriff’s Office personnel (and one DeLand police officer) who solved and put a stop to a series of armed robberies that spread from Deltona to Orange City, DeLand and Sanford. The investigation involved 30 men and women working toward the the arrests of 13 suspects. In the end, the case “sent a strong message to the criminal element and community at-large that local law enforcement is dedicated and working together tirelessly to bring the bad guys to justice,” Capt. David Brannon wrote in nominating the group for recognition.
“We’re so proud and so fortunate to have a group of men and women like you in this agency,” Sheriff Johnson said. “To put this together, and work this way, and get some true thugs off the street, I really appreciate it, and the citizens of Volusia County appreciate it.”
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