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Sheriff's Office Honors Employees Of The Year and 4th Quarter

Date Added: February 08, 2005 10:20 am

February 8, 2005
Brandon Haught
Public Information Office


Each year three Volusia County Sheriff’s Office employees and one volunteer are carefully chosen out of an outstanding pool of well over 1,000 people. The four demonstrated superior work ethic and achievement, not only during the past year, but also all throughout their careers serving the County’s citizens. Sheriff Ben Johnson and his top administrators and supervisors honored these top-performing employees of the year 2004 Tuesday during a ceremony in Daytona Beach. Sergeant Cliff Williams, investigator Jim Gabriel, administrative coordinator Jim Whitaker and volunteer Gene Quinn received plaques and heartfelt congratulations for their dedication and hard work.

First to receive an award was sergeant Williams who was honored for his 14 years of service to the Sheriff’s Honor Guard Unit and his coordination of the annual Volusia County Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony. While a well-respected road patrol supervisor, Williams’ accomplishments on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office while off-duty also earned him a positive reputation that is tough to match. Williams constantly strives for excellence as he promotes a positive perception of law enforcement to the public and spends considerable time planning and scheduling special events.

"Cliff is always there for us," said Sheriff Johnson. "He does a job that’s absolutely outstanding."

Next to receive praise was investigator Gabriel. He was recognized for his tireless work on background investigations required for the hiring of sworn and civilian employees. His supervisor in Internal Affairs, Lt. Robert Matusick, praised Gabriel’s work ethic and his amazing ability to always be ready with his presentations for staff meetings.

"Jim always does his job and never complains about the case load handed to him," said Matusick.

"Internal affairs is so important to the department," Sheriff Johnson said. "Jim has always done the right thing."

Warrants administrative coordinator Whitaker was recognized for his selfless work during the relocation of the warrants section while working within strict time constraints. Realizing that the task of relocating would be very difficult, Whitaker devoted his own time to making sure the move was done as seamlessly as possible despite the fact that the warrants section has to stay fully operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Besides the moving of desks and equipment, several computers also had to be relocated, but it was imperative that no one computer could be off-line for more than 10 minutes. Whitaker’s computer know-how and planning was able to beat the clock, though, for every move.

"It’s a great honor to present this to you," Sheriff Johnson said to Whitaker.

Volunteer Quinn donates his time to the Sheriff’s Office’s Citizen Observer Program that provides extra eyes and ears to law enforcement through citizen patrols throughout the county. During Hurricane Frances, Quinn volunteered to assist at a Deltona public shelter. Quinn reported for duty on a Friday and didn’t leave until the shelter officially closed its doors three days later. While at the shelter, Quinn assisted with the parking and unloading of vehicles and was invaluable to special needs evacuees and shelter staff.

"Our volunteers are so important to us," said Sheriff Johnson. "The C.O.P.s are always there for us. It’s a great program."

Tuesday’s ceremony also featured the employees of the fourth quarter, who definitely earned their fair share of the recognition spotlight. Sergeant Brodie Hughes took deputy of the quarter honors for stopping a car burglar while off duty Christmas shopping with his family. He used a cell phone to report the activity while in progress, and then he detained the suspect and recovered evidence while waiting for Daytona Beach Police officers to respond.

Larry Horzepa was named investigator of the quarter for his uncanny ability to interview a murder suspect, obtaining key information from him that was later presented to a jury. The details Horzepa expertly elicited were key to proving that the victim’s death was not accidental as the suspect claimed. Horzepa’s outstanding interview techniques, attention to detail, case preparation and professional courtroom demeanor helped justice prevail in this important case.

Civilian employee of the quarter, Annette Cazella, went far beyond her own assigned job description while filling in for an absent co-worker. She assumed the role of second shift supervisor in the records section, handling staffing problems, filling out leave slips and continuing the training of two new employees, among a myriad of other tasks.

Marlyn Quiroga volunteers at the Daytona Beach civil office and has proven to be invaluable to the civil deputies and civilian process servers. Quiroga started off with only basic computer skills, but worked hard to learn all she could about the system used to do background checks on persons who are hard to locate. Her services have freed the deputies and servers from being stuck in the office doing the work themselves, and allowed them more time to be out on the road serving their papers. 

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