Office of Media Relations & Public Affairs
SHERIFF’S OFFICE HONORS BEST IN ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY
From a telecommunicator who saved a life by talking the patient’s wife through CPR, to a deputy who saved the life of a fellow deputy under fire, to a team of deputies and Edgewater police officers who refused to give up rescuing a crash victim trapped in his burning vehicle, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is proud to honor some of the most outstanding work of the past year.
The third annual awards event under Sheriff Mike Chitwood was held at the Sanborn Activity Center in DeLand. The event recognized both sworn and non-sworn members of the VCSO, as well as citizens who have supported the agency and its causes with their time and financial gifts.
Here’s a look at the award winners:
DEPUTY OF THE YEAR: William Weaver for his solid work all year long, including two particularly complex fraud cases that involved coordination with the Secret Service and detective units. Weaver has since become a detective and is putting his skills to work in his new assignment.
DETECTIVE OF THE YEAR: Andrew Calkins, in part for his work bringing to justice those responsible for the murder of Carlos Cruz, a military veteran who was killed to prevent his testimony in a criminal case. The teamwork that went into the Cruz case ensured his murderer and those who participated in the plot to kill him will face justice.
TELECOMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR: Roslyn Caban, in part for her work coordinating the response to a shooting that wounded a Daytona Beach police officer, as well as her calm and composed handling of calls all year long.
CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR: Nina Revels for her diligence and dedication to accuracy in the agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting practices, for which she’s become recognized as an expert. Her work in the agency’s Records Unit ensures Volusia County has a reliable record of crimes reported to law enforcement.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Roselyn Stewart, who has put in valuable hours working closely with victims of crime, and particularly with older citizens who have been affected by fraud and theft.
CITIZENS OBSERVER PROGRAM MEMBER OF THE YEAR: John O’Brien, a longtime C.O.P. who currently coordinates the program in Deltona, including neighborhood safety programs that are key to preventing crime.
MEDAL OF BRAVERY: Deputy Brandon Watson demonstrated courageous efforts while responding to an extremely dangerous, chaotic domestic violence call on Aug. 2, 2018. Deputy Watson managed alone in an increasingly escalating and hazardous scenario with an actively resisting male suspect, children screaming and the suspect’s friend present, presenting another potential threat. Deputy Watson acted with bravery and calm professionalism under extremely dangerous conditions and averted a deadly situation for the victim and her children.
MEDAL OF VALOR: Deputy Devin LaFoucade for his extraordinary courage, without regard for his own safety, while pursuing an armed suspect wanted for multiple violent felony charges in an incident Oct. 31, 2018. After a short foot chase, the suspect pointed a firearm at Deputy LaFoucade and Port Orange police officers. Deputy LaFoucade displayed couragous actions while protecting the public and the other officers in this incident.
MEDAL OF VALOR: Senior Deputy Kevin Moss, Deputy Wesley Blum and DeLand Police Corp. Tony Tagle for their heroism Nov. 19, 2018, when a suspect wanted for attempted murder was located in Pierson. The suspect’s vehicle stopped in a median on U.S. 17. He exited and began firing. Deputy Wesley Blum fired at the suspect from within his vehicle while accelerating toward the suspect, placing himself between the suspect and Deputy Moss. These three officers displayed exemplary and heroic actions while apprehending an armed, dangerous felon and averting a deadly situation for the other officers involved.
MEDAL OF LIFESAVING ACTIONS: Sgt. Nicholas Shephard and Senior Deputy Randy Post are commended for their immediate response and professional skills in saving the life of felon Dillon Parker on Nov. 19, 2018, who sustained two gunshot wounds while firing on officers on U.S. 17. These two honorees were instrumental in saving the felon’s life.
MEDAL OF LIFESAVING ACTIONS: Sgt. Roy Galarza is recognized for his immediate response and professional skills in handling a life-threatening incident involving an armed subject in a domestic disturbance with a child present. The man severely mutilated his left arm in a suicide attempt. Sgt. Galarza applied a tourniquet that likely saved the subject’s life. His skills were instrumental in saving a life.
MEDAL OF LIFESAVING ACTIONS: Telecommunication Supervisor Jennifer Clay, VCSO Sgt. Richard Hansard, Deputies Tim Maxwell and Joshua Patsch; along with Edgewater Police Sergeants Stephen Binz and Myles Lawler, and Officers Sam Epitropoulos and Kevin Nugent, are honored for their immediate response, perseverance, heroic courage and determination in saving the life of an accident victim whose vehicle was on fire. The crash involved a wrong-way driver Jan. 9, 2019, on I-95, who hit a Cadillac, entrapping a single male subject. The officers worked to control the vehicle’s fire. As the fire raged, the victim and law enforcement personnel inhaled heavy smoke and were hampered by the intense heat. They frantically pulled on the Cadillac’s doors to no avail and subsequently used an axe to access the driver’s door. With assistance, Deputy Maxwell pulled the victim from the burning vehicle.
UNIT COMMENDATION: Deputies Daniel Berriozabal, Brandon Goggin, Blaine Lewis, David McIntosh and Patrick O’Melia are also honored for their actions in contributing to the successful apprehension of the armed suspect Nov. 19, 2018.
MEDAL OF TACTICAL DE-ESCALATION: Lt. Corey Piser is recognized for her discernment and tactical proficiency that defused a potentially volatile situation Oct. 4, 2018, in which a man threatened to harm himself. Lt. Piser’s training, ability and communication skills helped her to calm the man, who eventually surrendered without incident.
MEDAL OF TACTICAL DE-ESCALATION: Sgt. Richard LeCates and Deputies Stephen Crammer, Wayne Miller, Bradley Schindelheim and Stephen Spencer are honored for their exemplary use of professional training and non-lethal force to end a potentially tragic situation May 11, 2018.
MEDAL OF TACTICAL DE-ESCALATION: Sgt. Matthew Ihnken is honored for his professional actions Nov. 17, 2018, when he responded to assist deputies with a disturbance call. His approach and expert techniques defused a potentially deadly situation.
MEDAL OF TACTICAL DE-ESCALATION: Sgt. Steven Edgecomb and Deputy Steven Eisen are recognized for their professionalism and real-world experiences in dealing with a person in distress Sept. 28, 2018. Their actions helped defuse the situation.
TELECOMMUNICATOR RECOGNITION – LIFE SAVING: The following telecommunicators were honored for their professionalism, compassion, discernment and calm demeanor in helping callers through life-threatening situations: Tara Baronoski, Jessica Delgrippo, Breanna Eckman, Kaitlin Jett, David Jewell, Destiny Johanson, Fawwaz Massoom, Aimee Morgan, Bryan Alan Mozo, Grace Phillips, Brittany Reve, Keki Schnoor, Jessica Wager and Aimee Morgan and Aimee Gamble. Aimee Gamble, (pictured with former VCSO Deputy Rob Wallace), is credited with helping his wife save her husband’s life when he was experiencing a life-threatening medical episode and she called for help Feb. 18, 2018.
HURRICANE MICHAEL DEPLOYMENT TEAMS: Four teams of sworn members sacrificed their time to travel to Florida’s Panhandle to assist amid the devastation. Some served for up to two weeks at a time; some served on more than one deployment to help care for the hurricane victims.
Among others receiving awards were several volunteers with long records of service to the agency, as well as citizens like:
--Karen Neher, who comforted and helped rescue a distraught man who was threatening to commit suicide by jumping into traffic.
--Jill Beatty, who donated her own time, property and money to care for horses that were involved in an animal neglect case.
--Michele Shepard of No Worries Vacation Rentals in Mexico Beach, who provided a roof over the head of deputies who deployed to assist in the Hurricane Michael recovery effort; and Brian Neal and Alberto Abreu of Trader Joe’s Distribution Center, who donated food to feed them.
--Representatives of local Walmart stores for their contributions to youth outreach programs, along with Tomoka Correctional Institution’s Warden Jeremy Harris and Lt. Derrell Hatcher.
--Major contributors Samuel and Maria Royer, Vanacore Homes, Thomas Gergen, Greg Fretwell, Rick Abercrombie, Gib Dannehower, John Hamlin, and members of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Foundation and Youth Foundation.
Congratulations everyone for an outstanding job!
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