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February 7, 2020 5:02 pm

Laura Williams
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations

SHERIFF’S OFFICE HONORS OUTSTANDING WORK & CONTRIBUTIONS OF 2019

From several deputies who came under fire from an armed carjacking suspect, to a school guardian who stepped up for a report of a shooter on campus, to the officers and deputies who grabbed in mid-air a teenager attempting to jump off a building, last night Sheriff Mike Chitwood and members of the Volusia Sheriff’s Office gathered to honor some of the most outstanding work of 2019.

The annual awards event, held Thursday night at The Center at Deltona, honored sworn and civilian employees as well as a long list of volunteers and citizens who have supported our agency with their time, talents and financial gifts. “Every day I come to work, I learn something new about the talent and tenacity of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “What I keep seeing every day is that not only do we have great deputies, detectives, employees and volunteers – we have been blessed to be surrounded by a bunch of great people.”

Here’s a look at just some of the award winners:

Deputy of the Year: Deputy Robert McCabe

Detective of the Year: Detective Timothy Pullin

Civilian Employee of the Year: Lindsey Campbell

Telecommunicator of the Year: Kathy Chace

Citizen Observer Program Volunteer of the Year: Anthony Yebba

Citizens Volunteer Auxiliary Program Volunteer of the Year: Kenneth Fry

(Photo, L-R: Deputy Robert McCabe, Detective Timothy Pullin, Analyst Lindsey Campbell, Telecommunicator Kathy Chace, Volunteer Kenneth Fry, C.O.P. Anthony Yebba)

PURPLE HEART:  Sgt. Thomas Dane, for his heroic actions on a call involving an armed carjacking suspect who fired at and wounded Sgt. Dane during the ensuing gunfight. Sgt. Dane was wounded on April 11, 2019, soon after emerging from his vehicle. While returning fire, Dane’s head was struck by a round from a 32-caliber handgun. The bullet punctured his baseball cap and cut through his scalp. Fortunately, he was treated and released from Halifax Health Medical Center that same day. He downplayed his role in the incident and was eager to get back to work.

MEDAL OF VALOR: The agency’s second-highest medal, the Medal of Valor, was awarded to the five deputies who displayed extraordinary acts of courage during that same carjacking call.  The deputies who returned fire at the suspect who wounded Sgt. Dane acted without hesitation and according to their training and dedication to duty. Those honored were: Sergeants Thomas Dane and Joel Hernandez, Senior Deputy Adam Clausen, Detective Jordan McDaniel and Deputy Hector Rodriguez.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD:  Lt. Cody Cochran, Detectives Andrew Bayne, Stephen Corbin, Andrew Davis, Carl Eckberg, Julian Elmazi, Brian Howard, Adam Huffman, Timothy Maxwell, Timothy Pullin and Steven Wheeler; and Deputies Martin Fletcher, Devin Lafoucade, Necole Marsan and Corey Rittenour; and crime analysts Jessica Hudson and Lindsey Campbell were all honored for their perseverance in working together to identify an armed robbery suspect who held up two convenience stores two days apart, injuring one of the clerks. A break came when the Volusia County Crime Center (VC3) identified a possible suspect in both robberies, ultimately resulting in his arrest before he could commit further robberies.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD:  School Guardian Bruce Williams, for his actions Jan. 10, 2020, when sheriff’s deputies rushed to Heritage Middle School in response to a report of a possible shooter on campus. Williams quickly assisted deputies using his knowledge of the campus and ability to communicate with the school staff. He took immediate, effective action, proving the value of armed security on campus. After an extensive search of the campus, no suspects or weapons were found.

MEDAL OF TACTICAL DE-ESCALATION:  Deputy Tyler Lawrence and Deputy Kevin Barry were honored for their actions during a three-hour standoff with an armed suspect who refused to come out of a house on Sept. 15, 2019. As Deputy Lawrence tried to talk to him through a window, the subject produced two handguns and pointed them at both deputies. The deputies backed away and took cover. After extensive negotiations, the subject came out of the house with his hands up and was taken into custody without further incident. These deputies used their training to bring a potentially deadly situation to a safe resolution, and their actions were a credit to the agency.

LIFE-SAVING ACTIONS AWARD:  On Nov. 7, deputies responded to the parking garage rooftop of the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand, where a teenager was threatening to jump. The first responders on scene engaged him in dialogue, attempting to talk him down, while additional units responded. Eventually, those nearest him sensed he was about to jump and lunged forward just after he did so. The teen was physically grabbed in mid-air by DCF Investigator Thompson. The exceptional efforts of Thompson along with DeLand Police Department Officer John Cochran, Volusia Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Edgecomb, Senior Deputy Wayne Jones, Deputy Brent Jones, Deputy Kristina Welsh and Deputy Melissa Cunningham contributed to saving this young man’s life.

LIFE-SAVING ACTIONS AWARD: 

  • Telecommunicator Breanna Eckman and Telecommunications Supervisor Cydney Hunchard, who, in separate incidents in 2019, each led 911 callers through CPR and helped save a patient’s life.
  • Communications Supervisor Debbie Rego, who was on her way home from dinner with her husband Sgt. Chris Rego when they noticed a commotion in the Sonic Restaurant parking lot in South Daytona.  They pulled over and saw a male lying on the ground. As they approached, Debbie noticed he was not breathing and turning blue. She started CPR and continued performing lifesaving efforts until rescue arrived. Prior to leaving the scene, responders had his pulse restored. The patient was transported to the hospital, where he made a full recovery.

NURSE TRIAGE PROGRAM: This team of 15 professionals put together an innovative new Nurse Triage Program at our Communications Center. This involves a team of nurses trained as telecommunicators who talk on the phone with 911 callers to assess a medical emergency immediately, during the initial 911 call. This will lead to more efficient service, better outcomes and free up more resources and ambulances for major life-and-death emergencies.  Honored were:  Glenn Lopez, Claudine Boring, Christina Crane, Christie D’Ercole, Debbie Rego, Stefanie Levi, Jennifer Finigan, Laura Jewell, Kathy Chace, William Sterling, Katrina Lilly, Joseph Pozzo Jr., Jamie Mullaley, Roslyn Caban and Patricia Davis.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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