Each year, we hold an annual awards ceremony where we recognize PCSO members for the
extraordinary deeds they accomplished during the previous year. This year's award recipients
went above and beyond in their respective jobs, whether it was working long, hard hours to
successfully dismantle an organized crime ring, or saving someone's life after a horrific car
crash, or creating innovative programs to fill vacancies with qualified personnel.
We also gave recognition to our reserve deputy sheriffs and volunteers, for we would not be
nearly as successful as we are without the invaluable time they donate to us and the
community. Several other members were commended for overcoming obstacles in their lives,
and for going the extra mile when circumstances called for it.
The awards ceremony is our opportunity to thank all of the award recipients for going the
extra mile to keep our agency one of the best in the nation.
It was a pleasure to see that many of you from our community attended our awards ceremony to join us in recognizing
the hard-working deputies, detention deputies, and civilians who strive to make Polk County a great place to live each
and every day. Thank you for coming, and we look forward to celebrating future accomplishments with you.
God Bless You All,
Grady Judd, Sheriff
2008 Annual Awards Ceremony Recognizes Outstanding Members
On Tuesday, May 20, 2008, Sheriff Grady Judd and the Executive Staff recognized
a number of agency members for their outstanding contributions to the agency
and community during 2007, at the Annual Awards Ceremony held at Nora Mayo
Hall in Winter Haven. The awards included the Meritorious Service Medal, the
Medal of Valor, the Marshall Anderson Award, and our Members of the Year. We
hope you enjoy this special edition of the Shining Star as we recap the winners of
the 2007 awards:
2007 Civilian Member of the Year
Ms. Donna Parker, Human Resources Employment Services Manager, was named Civilian of
the Year. Donna and her team have taken great strides in reducing the open number of
positions in the agency, reducing Department of Detention vacancies from 23 to 1 in a single
year. Also, Donna created a new hiring program that increased the new hires into Detention
and provided a career path to new and existing Detention members who wanted to cross over
to Law Enforcement. Donna was a key member in several other projects, and she constantly
goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure all sections of the Human Resources Division run
smoothly. Congratulations, Donna!
Ms. Marilyn Craig, Mr. Bobby Graham, and Ms. Becky Touchton were all runners-up for this award.
Congratulations to you all!
2007 Detention Deputy of the Year
Detention Deputy James LaChance came upon two separate vehicle crashes in
May 2007 and assisted victims in both crashes until EMS arrived, without regard for
his own personal safety. Later that month he happened upon another very serious
crash and treated a victim with multiple injuries and a head wound until she could be
airlifted from the scene. Deputy LaChance demonstrated brave and selfless conduct,
exemplifying the agency's unofficial motto "service above self." Deputy LaChance was
also named the American Legion Post #8 "Correctional Officer of the Year."
Detention Deputy David Andress and Detention Deputy Michelle Threat were both runners-up for this
award. Congratulations to you both!
2007 Deputy Sheriff of the Year
In the wake of the investigation surrounding the deaths of Deputy Matt Williams and his
K-9 partner Diogi in September 2006, Detective T.J. Edmiston was a critical member
of a multi-agency task force aimed at identifying and dismantling the drug trafficking
organization surrounding killer Angilo Freeland. In an investigation that lasted several
months, T.J. worked with several outside agencies gathering information that linked
Freeland with a large Belize-based drug trafficking organization, who have been
smuggling trafficking amounts of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and firearms into the
United States. As a result of the initial investigation that surrounded the killer Angilo
Freeland, an elaborate smuggling group was identified, which led to multiple drug and trafficking arrests and seizures of
guns, money, and drugs. Her efforts also sparked successful investigations in other parts of the United States that
continue efforts to dismantle this drug trafficking organization. For her hard work, skill, and tenacity, Detective T.J.
Edmiston was awarded Deputy Sheriff of the Year. Congratulations, T.J.!
Detective Alex Angulo, Detective Tim Sanders, Deputy Sheriff Jack Sirera, and Detective Jeremy Wharton
were all runners-up for this award. Congratulations to you all!
2007 Reserve Deputy Sheriff and Volunteer of the Year
For the past 25 years, Reserve Deputy Sheriff Yener Tugrul has been a highly
esteemed member of the agency. He consistently presents a positive attitude towards
law enforcement and the Sheriff's Office, and is highly respected by his peers and
supervisors. In 2007, Deputy Tugrul volunteered 2,285 hours to the Sheriff's Office and
the citizens of Polk County. He spent 958 hours transporting arrestees and over a
thousand hours patrolling the streets of Polk County. He backed up 282 deputies on
calls, made 226 warrant arrests, and wrote 141 traffic citations. His eagerness to assist
made it possible to free up deputies and allow them to have quicker response times to
in-progress calls. For his hard work and dedication and saving thousands of dollars with
his volunteer work, Reserve Deputy Sheriff Yener Tugrul has been named Reserve
Deputy Sheriff of the Year. Congratulations, Yener!
Mr. Peter O'Neil began his volunteer career with the Polk County Sheriff's Office as a
member of the Indian Lake Estates Citizen's Assisted Patrol (CAP) program in 2006. Since
that time, he has worked hard to make the program a success and presently serves as
the coordinator for a group of 51 volunteers. Over the past year, Mr. O'Neil has built
upon what past coordinators had put into motion at the start of the program. It is
through his efforts that routine home checks and an increase in volunteers in the CAP program has become a success.
For his dedication to both his community and PCSO, Peter O'Neil is named the Polk County Sheriff's Office Volunteer of
the Year for 2007.
Medals of Valor
The Medal of Valor is the second highest award presented by
the Sheriff and is awarded to members who display bravery
or heroism above and beyond the call of duty, in life-saving
or life-protecting situations for the members placed at risk.
The act must demonstrate professional judgment which does
not jeopardize the mission.
This year's Medal of Honor recipients, D/S Joe Murphy and D/S Shannon Rimes, responded to the River Ranch
Hunt Club to apprehend an out-of-state fugitive. The suspect engaged both deputies in a gunfight before fleeing into a
heavily wooded area. Thanks to their quick actions and willingness to place themselves in danger, these deputies were
able to prevent the suspect's escape and take him into custody without injury to themselves or others.
Meritorious Service Medals
The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded for individual service to the Sheriff's
Office. It is awarded to members who demonstrate exceptional performance of
duty and who have distinguished themselves by performing exceptional service
in a duty of great responsibility of critical importance to the Sheriff's Office.
Guidelines for nominations are: substantial cost saving, increased efficiency,
increased effectiveness, enhanced public image, improved safety of members, or
This year's recipients are:
Lt. Rick Holland, Sgt. Larry Traylor, Sgt. (retired) Byron Worthington, D/D John Angleton, D/D David
Chant, D/S Shawnee McCawley, and D/S Carrie Powers for their outstanding research and coordination of the
distribution and training on the new Glock Model 22 handguns.
Captain Craig Smith, Lt. Linda Johnson, Ms. Lynn Dombrowski, Dr. Eileen Holden, and Mr. Stephen Hull for
the massive undertaking of achieving accreditation for the Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety at PCC.
D/D William Lassiter and D/D Robert Scott for their demonstration of exceptional performance of duty in
attempting to save the life of an inmate in peril.
Ms. Ashlei Aycock, Crime Scene SSO, for her hard work, dedication, willingness to help others, and positive attitude
both on and off duty.
Mr. Vince Bazemore, Animal Control Officer, for his passion and creativity in creating a beautiful mural to enhance the
public image of Animal Control, at no cost to taxpayers.
Ms. Karen Evans, Crime Analyst, for routinely going above and beyond in an effort to prevent crime in Polk County
and assist in identifying and apprehending criminals.
Mr. Eric Holm, One Day STAR Program Coordinator, for his dedication and commitment to helping and mentoring
community youth both on and off duty.
Ms. Erica Jouppi, Crime Scene Technician, for her instrumental role and diligence in gathering the evidence needed to
solve a brutal homicide.
Mr. Jeff Killen, Records Specialist, for single-handedly tackling the arduous task of organizing the thousands of boxes
of archived records at the Bartow Airbase.
D/D Sonia York, CCJ, for her quick thinking and attention to detail that saved an inmate's life at the Central County
Marshall Anderson Awards
Sheriff's Office members who distinguish themselves by overcoming extreme adversity in their daily lives,
and who display undaunted determination to overcome personal adversities and strive for proficiency and
excellence in the performance of their job duties, are awarded the Marshall Anderson Award.
This year's recipients are:
Ms. Diana Brown, Records Section Administrator
Ms. Bea Dickey, Executive Director of Business Affairs
Lt. Kim Marcum, Inmate Programs
Sgt. Kevin Marshall, SCJ
D/D Denise Wise, Inmate Intake
"Out and About" Safety Tips
Sheriff Grady Judd and the Polk County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Section encourages residents to use a common
sense approach to fighting crime.
• Stay alert to your surroundings at all times, whether on the street, at the shopping mall, or driving.
• Avoid wearing flashy jewelry.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash.
• Obey all posted safety warnings.
• Travel with a companion.
• Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even when you're in it.
• Remove valuables from vehicles.
• Secure your valuables and utilize alarm systems, if available.
• Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even if you will be gone for only a moment.
• Avoid establishing predictable activity patterns. Vary your routine.
• Report suspicious activity, persons, or vehicles to law enforcement immediately.
What Others Are Saying
Dear Sheriff Judd,
I would like to personally thank you, Lt. Holland, and your training instructors [Lt. Schoch, Lt.
Casini, Sgt. Traylor, Sgt. Reese, Sgt. Colson, D/D Terry Jones, D/S Paul Wright, D/S Scott
Russell, D/S Brad Gallagher, D/S Larry Davis, and D/S Albert Marvin] for offering the
handgun safety course to the Polk County Cattlemen and other agricultural producers. Lt. Holland and
your training instructors did a fantastic job providing informative instruction and working with each of the participants
on an individual basis.
-Bridget Carlisle, Extension Agent II, Univ. of Florida Polk County Extension,
and Sidney Sumner, President, Florida Agricultural Consultants, Inc.
Dear Lt. Petote,
I appreciate the arrangements that were made to allow Deputy Ralph Benitez to come to the Kingsford Elementary
School and speak with Judge Hunter to our 5th grade classes. The students enjoyed Deputy Benitez and he provided
answers to several different questions that the students had.
-Denise L. Hunter, 5th grade teacher
Dear Sheriff Judd,
Thank you for your support of the cleanup efforts of the Lakeview Park Homeowners Association. I would like to
commend [Detention] Deputy [Robert] Hill in his efforts of coordinating and overseeing this project; thanks for a
job well done! Your department's presence in our community via patrolling, educational and/or cleanup is very much
-Katie Clarke, President, Lakeview Homeowners Association
Dear Sheriff Judd,
Please accept this word of thanks for the outstanding support the Virgil Hawkins Bar Association, Inc., received from the
Polk County Sheriff's Office for our 6th Annual Law Day Program 2008. Sixty (60) students from Denison Middle and
Dundee Ridge Middle Schools spent the day at the courthouse. PCSO personnel made that day memorable for all.
Lt. Petote explained the role of the bailiff in the justice system. Captain Allen and his SWAT team members,
Deputies Darrell Hartgraves and Carl Anderson, gave these young people a presentation/demonstration they
will long remember. In addition, I thank Mr. Barry Martin, your Food Services Administrator, for once again providing
the cookies which are always a hit with everyone. As always, Cassandra Denmark's leadership contributed mightily to
this and all our community service activities.
We really appreciate all you and PCSO do, both seen and unseen. You truly aid the betterment of our community.
-The Honorable Karla Foreman Wright, Tenth Judicial Circuit