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May 6, 2008 1:24 pm

Brandon Haught
Public Information Office

Dedication to keeping the public safe and informed is the theme connecting the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Employees of the 1st Quarter 2008 winners. There is a high level of professionalism and expertise exhibited by the five deputies and civilians honored by Sheriff Ben Johnson during a ceremony at the Deputy Stephen Saboda Center in Daytona Beach Tuesday morning. Awards were presented to a patrol deputy, an investigator, a pilot, a telecommunicator, and a Citizen Observer Program volunteer.

Patrol deputy James Greene is well known in his Ormond Beach district for his attention to detail and initiative. These traits get results, leading to solved crimes, arrests and an exceptional working relationship with other local law enforcement agencies. Greene always puts in the extra effort when investigating crimes such as auto thefts and burglaries. He identifies escape routes the suspects may have taken while also tracking down their homes, hideouts and hangouts. This information is then spread throughout his district, to include the surrounding police agencies, fostering an outstanding team effort. The sergeant in charge of the district’s investigators, Sgt. James Turner, praised Greene’s commitment in a letter nominating Greene for the deputy of the quarter award, and credited his meticulous police work in several recent arrests. The deputy’s efforts resulted in clearing three bank robberies last year, and that dedication continues to this day.

"Jim holds the distinction of being one of the best street cops I’ve ever seen," said Sheriff Johnson.

New technologies, coupled with the public’s heightened interest in local sexual offenders required a person in the Sheriff’s Office to take on multiple tasks in a short amount of time. Investigator Lilly Efird filled that role and then some. Upon being assigned to the Career Criminal Unit in August 2007, she quickly became the resident expert in the new database software OffenderWatch. She soon was recognized by other police agencies as a reliable point of contact concerning the program. She spent a large amount of her time helping with data migration, creating training materials and creating the OffenderWatch web page, along with her other daily tasks and responsibilities. Her supervisor, Sgt. Erik Eagan, credited her in an investigator of the quarter nomination for being "the driving force in the unit" to get the task of program implementation done. "Lily’s work product shows her enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication," he said.

Since 1996, Duty Pilot Michael Markovich has been in Sheriff’s Office helicopters, both as a flight paramedic and a pilot. One of Markovich’s most memorable flights had to have been on January 7, 2008, when catastrophic failure of the helicopter turbine resulted in loss of the aircraft’s power system and sent him and his flight paramedic plummeting to the ground. They had been on their way to a pick up a trauma alert patient near DeLand when a loud bang was heard and the helicopter yanked hard to the left while warning lights and alarms went off. Markovich drew upon his extensive training to maneuver the helicopter to a road construction area alongside a busy highway. He had to make split second adjustments to avoid hitting construction equipment, but his superior skills landed them safely. "The task – though trained for – is very rarely completed successfully, especially to level of textbook perfection, which he exhibited," noted Markovich’s employee of the quarter nomination.

"They salvaged that ship with cool heads, an excellent crew and fantastic training," said Sheriff Johnson. "I’m very proud of the job you do."

Telecommunicator of the quarter Nzinga Salcedo-Hutchinson hasn’t wasted any time accumulating expert knowledge in her field since her hiring in late 2006. She is currently a primary Fire Telecommunicator. She completed the Daytona Beach Community College Emergency Medical Technician program with high honors and obtained her National and State certification. Her supervisors say that she is a pleasure to work with regardless of the shift, and is creative in her learning and teaching methods. "She is always eager to learn and grow in her performance and is eager to share her knowledge with new employees," said her supervisor, Debbie Smith.

Establishing and maintaining a connection with the communities the Sheriff’s Office serves is vital to a working relationship that keeps everyone safe and informed. Citizen Observer Program volunteer Phillip Segalla has become a valuable link in that connection in the New Smyrna Beach area, earning him the volunteer of the quarter honors. In addition to his normal COP duties, Segalla spearheaded the local "Vial of Life" program, and is always eager to give presentations and answer questions. He willingly rearranges his personal schedule to make sure he is available for any Neighborhood Watch or community safety presentations that come up. Segalla’s ability to speak to the various audiences using gentle humor and relevant stories leaves a professional impression with citizens.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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

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