This quarter’s award ceremony was held at the Laishley Crabhouse. Jim Reddington sponsored the luncheon, allowing the Sheriff’s Office to donate the proceeds from the meal ($800!) to the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch.
Special Recognition Presentation
Cpl. Joe Eilerman & DFC Joella Moore
In the past few months, DFC Moore and Cpl. Eilerman saw a rise in calls at Crossroads New Hope Academy. DFC Moore made it a priority to visit with these youth in order to address their needs. DFC Moore and Cpl. Eilerman teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and scheduled a build with the foster children on March 3, 2018. When the build was canceled, Cpl. Eilerman and DFC Moore decided to take 6 juveniles to Ponce de Leon Park and clean up trash along the shore and trails for 2 hours. Cpl. Eilerman then treated the kids to lunch. In addition, they toured the wildlife sanctuary where one youth signed up to do further volunteer hours. Cpl. Eilerman stated they all had a good time, and it served as a great relationship builder for these kids that need a mentor in their lives. Cpl. Eilerman and DFC Moore are to be commended for their unique approach to building these youths’ civic engagement and capacity for change.
Sheriff’s Coin Special Recognition Presentation
On March 16, DFC Ciolino conducted a traffic stop on Duncan Rd. The vehicle made a simple stop sign violation, but after an evaluation of the situation, the driver appeared to be under the influence.
DFC Ciolino asked the driver to step out of the vehicle. During a search for weapons a struggle broke out. DFC Ciolino called for back-up on his radio, but could not continue to talk due to the struggle. To DFC Ciolino’s relief, a silver Dodge pickup stopped beside the patrol vehicle and offered “you need help”. DFC Ciolino yelled “yes” and told the driver to park his vehicle. Kyle Tucker ran up asking, “What do you need me to do”. There was no hesitation from him in helping a Law Enforcement deputy.
DFC Ciolino gave his handcuffs to Kyle Tucker as he continued to hold the suspect down. Kyle was then able to apply handcuffs to the male, so that DFC Ciolino could take him into custody.
Without Kyle’s help in securing this male subject, there was the potential of his eluding arrest or further harming DFC Ciolino before backup arrived. Kyle saw an opportunity to help and acted upon it, making sure to follow the directions given to ensure both of their safety.
Life Saver Awards
DFC Trista Zimmerman
On January 30th, DFC Trista Zimmerman responded to an emergency call for an infant not breathing. She was just around the corner from the call’s location when it was disptached. DFC Zimmerman arrived within seconds and observed the mother holding the infant who appeared to be in distress. After evaluating the situation and determining the infant was choking on an unknown object, DFC Zimmerman delivered five back blows to the infant which appeared to dislodge the object. She reevaluated the situation and found the child to be breathing normally without straining. DFC Zimmerman held the child and monitored its breathing until EMS arrived on site.
Cpl. Rebecca Allese & DFC Paul Cignarale
On January 16, DFC Paul Cignarale was dispatched to a local gas station in North Port in reference to a medical call for a subject reportedly not breathing. Upon arrival, DFC Cignarale observed several subjects standing around a silver vehicle. The multiple subjects advised the male inside the vehicle was unconscious and not breathing. The front seat passenger of the vehicle appeared unconscious and was covered in vomit. DFC Cignarale checked for a pulse but could not obtain one and determined CPR needed to be started immediately.
The subject was removed from his vehicle and placed onto the ground. DFC Cignarale attached his agency issued AED and performed CPR (multiple chest compressions and rescue breaths) until the AED indicated to clear for analysis.
Cpl. Allese arrived on scene shortly after the AED had been attached and took over chest compressions while DFC Cignarale continued with rescue breaths. At one point, the AED did advise shocks were required and multiple shocks were delivered.
These life-saving measures continued until North Port Fire/Rescue arrived and took over. A short time later, the subject regained a pulse and started to breathe again. Paramedics advised the subject’s vitals were good, even though he had not been breathing for over 5 minutes.
Cpl. Jack Collins & DFC Jacob Patten
On January 23, Cpl. Jack Lee Collins was dispatched to the area just south of the Desoto County line in reference to a medical call. The call was that a male subject was slumped over behind the wheel of a car and the male was having difficulty breathing.
Once on scene, Cpl. Collins made contact with the subject’s wife, who was trying to revive the male. It was determined that the male subject was in some form of medical distress. At that time, Cpl. Collins was attempting to maintain the subject’s airway by keeping his head upright and the airway open. DFC Jacob Patten arrived on scene and assisted in the above efforts. During this time, the subject still had a pulse and lifesaving efforts were continued.
Another deputy arrived, escorting the family out of the vehicle and out of sight so that he could help them to calm down. At that time, DFC Patten was unable to locate a pulse and advised the others that the subject had stopped breathing. DFC Patten and Cpl. Collins then removed the subject from the vehicle and immediately began CPR. CPR was continued until Charlotte County Fire and EMS arrived and took over life saving measures.
The subject was transported to the hospital, where he continued to receive lifesaving treatment. The EMT and Paramedic members on scene said that the measures taken by the deputies gave the subject a fighting chance and that he appeared to be recovering. A follow-up showed that the subject did survive after some time in the ICU and was later released.
Law Enforcement Member of the Quarter
DFC Don Woelke
Detective Don Woelke currently serves as the Task Force Officer for the FBI. As a liaison for our agency, this first quarter of 2018 he has and continues to investigate several cases resulting in the apprehension, arrest, and indictment of offenders participating in the collection, transmission, or orchestration of child pornography.
The victims Don works to protect are our most vulnerable, children. These cases are typically very convoluted, require time and patience to investigate, along with a strong sense of determination to get past the horrific acts these children suffer. One such case involves Brian Thomas who resided in Charlotte County. Although this case was opened in 2016, it has just recently come full circle outside of any appeals. This case began as an investigation into peer-to-peer distribution of child pornography. Once the investigation was able to substantiate a search warrant, he was ultimately indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for the possession of child pornography and sentenced to 30 years. Through further forensic investigation, Det. Woelke and the investigative team were then able to substantiate additional crimes where Thomas was sexually assaulting an 11-year-old child he had contact with through a relative. Thomas was sentenced to Life in Prison on April 23rd for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, Sexual Battery of a child less than 12 years old, and Video Voyeurism charges.
This is just one example of the many cases Det. Woelke is dedicated to bringing to successful prosecution. Although many cases are distribution of child pornography, which affect children worldwide, cases like Thomas where intervention stops the physical abuse of a child physically in your presence is extremely rewarding. We also applaud Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Powers who worked in conjunction with Det. Woelke, and supported his efforts to ensure this case resulted in prosecution and a sentencing so successful that this child victim will never have to fear facing the perpetrator again in her life.
Don works diligently on behalf of these innocent children to stop these heinous crimes. In addition to his own caseload, Don often assists other agents and agencies by offering his investigative skills, expertise, and time.
Law Enforcement Team of the Quarter
Sgt. Jim Vanande and Cpl. Jacob Hawkins (Narcotics Unit)
On January 11, the Narcotics Unit was notified of two subjects that were located within approximately a mile of each other that had overdosed on unknown narcotics. The subjects were both revived, treated, and left the hospitals.
Members of the Narcotics Unit quickly tracked down one of the subjects and obtained the information for the source of the narcotics causing these overdoses. Members then began developing a surveillance plan, intelligence gathering, and threat assessment on the target location. A search warrant was written, submitted, approved, and executed that same night.
During initial entry, members located a suspicious powder substance leading to the belief that it was possibly Fentanyl. Contact was made with our Meth Investigation Group, requesting their assistance. Sgt. Jim Vanande and Cpl. Jacob Hawkins responded to the scene where they worked alongside the Narcotics Unit to safely remove evidence piece by piece, ensuring the safety of our members, as well as neighboring residents. This was a painstaking process that took until the early morning hours to complete.
The dedication of these members, resulted in the arrest of two subjects, the recovery of multiple drugs, paraphernalia, and a firearm. This investigation most certainly saved the lives of others who may have fallen victim to an overdose.
Civilian Team of the Quarter
Communications – Squad D
On January 29, Operator Geidy Bermudez answered a 911 call from a female in distress stating that someone was going to kill her and that she could not speak.
Geidy, using phase 2 location, asked the caller if she was at a specific location in Punta Gorda, but the caller just kept saying that a male subject was going to kill her and that he was coming into the camper that she was in. Geidy quickly saved the call with the Phase 2 location, while Dispatcher Maureen Poisson dispatched units. The female could not verify the address. At this point, other members of the squad jumped into action looking up history of the phone number and the name of the male she provided. Geidy kept reassuring the caller help was on the way and would ask the caller questions as she was being prompted by her supervisors and the responding road units. When units were getting close, Geidy obtained directions on how get to the location of the caller and the camper she was in since both were in a remote area of the county.
The call was very intense. At moments, the caller said the male was shooting, set the camper on fire, and hooked up the camper trying to drive away with her in it. When units were in the general area, Dispatcher Maureen Poisson, with the aid of the CAD mapping system, was able to guide the responding units to the correct streets and verify that indeed they were headed in the correct area.
After the units were on scene, the male subject fled on foot and units started a search. Geidy kept the female caller on the line even though the deputies were on scene, and stayed on the line until she was safely with a deputy. Geidy remained on the 911 call for over 45 minutes, ensuring the caller’s safety and providing calming assurance that we had help coming to her. The members of Squad D are to be commended for the team work they demonstrated, resulting in emergency services being able to find the victim as quickly as possible and prevent her injury.
30 Years of Service
Rose Manfredo started her career with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office on April 12th, 1988. Rose was originally assigned to the Purchasing office as a secretary, and worked with Earl Miller. Shortly after, she worked with Lt. John Davenport in Central Services and Receiving. After a couple years with Purchasing, she transferred to Civil in January 1990. During the past 28 years in Civil, Rose has worked both in the office and finally on the road serving Civil process for the last several years.
Rose looks forward to spending quality time with her family, both here and in Ohio; and has intentions of spending time reading in the sunshine and traveling. Rose has enjoyed her time with the agency and working in Civil on the road. She has no immediate plans for retirement.
Congratulations, Rose, on 30 years with CCSO. We look forward to working with you for many more!
Special Recognition (2016 – Quarter 4)
Omayra Pabon started with CCSO as an Express part-time support member for HR and Risk Management on November 4, 2016. Her organizational and Microsoft skills were quickly noted, as she became an instant asset to Risk Management during the 2016 open enrollment period.
Over the course of the past year, she has learned all aspects of Risk Management and continuously seeks additional training and responsibilities.
Within a week of starting a large project project, Hurricane Irma arrived. Omayra, originally from Puerto Rico, would soon be watching helpless as her family in Puerto Rico was faced with devastating Hurricane Maria. On September 20 and throughout the next week, Omayra reported to work each day while waiting for information on her family in Puerto Rico. Because of the devastation there, it was several days before she received any word of their well-being. Thankfully, Omayra’s family survived Hurricane Maria, but they were not unscathed by its devastation. Although Omayra faced several situations during the month of September, she was still able to complete the project asked of her, exceeding her supervisor’s expectations.
Omayra’s dedication, hard work, and ability to stay focused even during a family crisis, illustrates the core values of CCSO.