Public Information Officer
Last week, a DeLand man was sentenced to 50 years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl for years. On Tuesday, Steve White, the officer who helped send the culprit to prison, was named the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s top investigator of the quarter. Honored along with White on Tuesday were deputy of the quarter Bobby Blackwell, civilian employee of the quarter Cheryl Stettler and volunteer of the quarter Roy Morrison.
White led the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into a series of sexual abuse allegations lodged against Robert Reyes, Jr., resulting in Reyes’ conviction in August. Last Thursday, a judge sentenced Reyes to spend the next 50 years in prison. Despite the lack of physical evidence due to the time that had elapsed since the abuse ended, White was able to seize corroborating evidence from Reyes’ computer, including incriminating e-mail messages and nude photographs of the victim. White was nominated for the award after the prosecutor in the case sent a letter to Sheriff Ben Johnson praising the investigative efforts that helped bring the case to a successful resolution. “It is often difficult for juries to take the word of a child victim,” wrote Assistant State Attorney Tammy Jaques. “This is an example of how computer forensics helped us crack a case involving five years of contact offenses.”
As with any law enforcement agency, the quality of the training is one of the most critical success factors at the Sheriff’s Office. So it was only fitting that deputy Blackwell, the agency’s FTEP coordinator, was honored Tuesday as the deputy of the quarter. The FTEP, or field training and evaluation program, is a grueling, in-house training program that all new deputy recruits must complete before getting their job assignment. As a U.S. Army retiree with 17 years of law enforcement experience before coming to the Sheriff’s Office, deputy Blackwell’s command presence sets the standard for every new officer who comes into the agency. “You’ve definitely earned this award,” Sheriff Johnson told Blackwell. “I’m very proud to call you my friend and a valued member of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.”
Civilian employee of the quarter honors went to Stettler, a telecommunicator at the Sheriff’s Office’s dispatch center. Stettler was nominated for the award by Sergeant Jim Whittet, who had high praise for Stettler’s professionalism and efficiency. “She is always pleasant on the radio, even during stressful moments,” sergeant Whittet wrote in his letter of nomination. “Whenever a unit is on a call, Cheryl seems to be one step ahead at all times. …With all the changes and growing pains at the Communications Center lately, it’s comforting to have someone like Cheryl looking after the troops.”
For Morrison, a longtime volunteer, this marks the second time in the past five years he’s been singled out as the volunteer of the quarter. “The department has many outstanding volunteers,” said one of the Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer coordinators, Carol Keesecker. “However, Mr. Morrison is exceptional.” Morrison has volunteered as a jury assistant for many years and also over the past year has volunteered in Traffic Court as well. He has donated more than 6,500 hours of volunteer labor over the past 10 years. “We thank you for your dedication,” added Sheriff Johnson.
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