Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 MCSO Awards

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo – The Mesa County Sheriff's Office was honored to recognize members of the community, deputies and agency staff at its annual awards ceremony last week.

Citizens Max Meneley, Michelle Wilk, and Slater Podgorny were awarded the Distinguished Service Plaque for helping rescued the pilot of a plane that crashed. The Distinguished Service Plaque is awarded to any citizen who, through personal initiative and effort, saves or attempts to save another person who is in danger of death or serious bodily injury. The afternoon of July 31, 2018 Guy Buchanan crashed his single-engine KitFox plane in the Colorado River near the Utah Colorado state line. Three rafters, Max Meneley, Michelle Wilk, and Slater Podgorny, saw Buchanan needed help and acted quickly and selflessly. Recognizing Buchanan was going into shock, they laid him down on the raft, covered him with a blanket and continued talking to him until they were able to reach Lower Valley EMS downriver. Buchanan was air lifted to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released the following day.

Sgt. Anthony Lee was awarded the Community Service Award. The Community Service Award is awarded to an employee who selflessly demonstrates their commitment to our Community through voluntary service and acts as a positive ambassador of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Lee has volunteered extensively in the community including being a member of the Patriot Guard, volunteering at Hope of the Grand Valley, and organizing the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office first team in the Special Olympics Colorado Plane Pull. In addition to raising over $2,000 for Special Olympics, MCSO’s team for the Plane Pull came in first place.

Deputy Thomas Stuckenschneider was awarded the Medal of Merit. Medal of Merit is awarded to employees who voluntarily place themselves in a position of significant risk to their own safety in order to save another person, or apprehend a violent criminal. October 10, 2017, Deputy Stuckenschneider responded to the area of Broadway and Village Way to discover a car had struck several utility poles and had burst into flames. With active wires hanging down, Deputy Stuckenschneider put himself in harm’s way to make contact with the driver. He then went to extraordinary measures to try to rescue him. Despite is efforts, the driver did not survive.

Life Saving Award is awarded to members of the department who, while employed, performed significant life saving measures on an individual; and that these actions led to the prolonging of life to the extent that the victim was released to the care of medical authorities, even though the victim may expire at a later time.

Deputies Taylor Conrad and Troy Rolbiecki were awarded the Life Saving Award. April 2, 2018, Deputy Conrad and Deputy Rolbiecki responded to a report of a man who was unconscious and not breathing. Both deputies performed lifesaving measures (CPR) on the person believed to be suffering an overdose. The man was resuscitated and began breathing again. EMS ultimately transported him to the hospital for further care.

Deputy Luis Renteria and Deputy Janielle Westermire were also awarded the Life Saving Award. August 29, 2018, Deputies Renteria and Westermire observed an inmate in the Mesa County Detention Facility was choking. Both deputies helped with the Heimlich maneuver until the inmate was able to breathe again.

Unit Citation is awarded to groups for outstanding performance.

Street Crimes Unit was honored for its efforts in tracking down the most dangerous suspects in Mesa County. The Street Crimes Unit has been tasked with surveillance & tracking of drug dealers, gang related crimes, weapon crimes, burglary and attempted murder. Through their diligence & dedication, the Street Crimes Unit has become, not only an asset to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, but to other agencies on the Western Slope. The Unit has taken the initiative to seek out a variety of investigative techniques to track these high-risk suspects. The citizens of Mesa County are safer because of the violent criminals the Street Crimes Unit has assisted with investigating and apprehending.

Crime Reduction Unit was honored for its outstanding work bringing resolution to some of the most chronic and complex problems experienced by the Patrol Division. The Crime Reduction Unit was created in July of 2017 to help find solutions to complex problems in the community. In order to accomplish these difficult tasks, the Crime Reduction Unit developed new relationships with many nontraditional partners, utilized forward thinking policing techniques in the name of community care taking, and did so as opportunity and necessity presented itself. In one year of service, the Crime Reduction Unit has been successful in resolving numerous long term problems.

Patrol Team 1 and Deputy Thomas Stuckenschneider were recognized for their persistence and teamwork that led to the capture of a suspect involved in a shooting. On the evening of July 26, 2018, deputies were dispatched to the area of Lands End Avenue and Cottonwood Lake Drive to a report of a shooting. Dispatch reported a known wanted subject; John Eddy, had just shot at two bail bonds men who attempted to take him into custody. The deputies were able to care for all victims and witnesses as well as locate and arrest the suspect.

Western Colorado Drug Task Force was honored for their hard work, outstanding performance and dedication to fighting the battle against drug trafficking in Mesa County. In 2018, Western Colorado Drug Task Force made 134 felony arrests, seized $1,080,085 in drug money, and took 20 handguns and 14 long guns off the street. The WCDTF has assisted both the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the Grand Junction Police Department Investigations units with the apprehension of numerous homicide/attempted homicide suspects, as well as a kidnapping suspect. The WCDTF Investigators have worked countless hours and long days to accomplish their mission and have a significant impact on the overall drug trade in and through Mesa County.

Patrol Team 3 was recognized for its work cleaning up illegal abandoned campsites. Over the summer, deputies on Team 3 spent their day off disposing of garbage and other waste left at several abandoned transient camps in the areas of Front Street and 32 to 32 1/2 Road, I70 Frontage Road and Lois, and 31 Road near Walnut Place. Rocky Mountain Sanitation also donated a truck for the day. This patrol team’s actions not only accomplished the Mesa County Sheriff's Office vision by making the community a safer place to live, work, and play, but also created public trust with their efforts.

Excellence Award is awarded to employees who, through their own efforts, have developed and initiated a means of significantly increasing the agency’s administrative or operational efficiency or effectiveness; or who have developed a problem-solving approach to the delivery of law enforcement services with an attention to those factors that contribute to deteriorating conditions in neighborhoods and community decay or to those issues which give rise to crime in the community. This year recipients are:
  • Deputy Nick Bouton (Patrol) 
  • Beth Boydstun (Records) 
  • Leanne Camp (Sex Offender Registry) 
  • Deputy Brian Eldridge (Patrol) 
  • Deputy Chris Kiefer (Detentions) 
  • Sgt. Mark Johnson (Law Operations) 
  • April Medrano (Detentions, Quartermaster) 
  • Investigator Lissah Norcross (Support Services) 
  • Sgt. Connie Olson (Professional Standards) 
  • Sgt. Wayne Weyler (Crime Reduction Unit) 
  • Staci Writer (Professional Standards)