BRADENTON — The winners of the 16th Congressional District Law Enforcement Awards were presented Tuesday by Congressman Vern Buchanan.
The awards, established 12 years ago to honor law enforcement officers and departments in Florida’s 16th District for outstanding achievement, were decided by an independent panel of current and retired members of the order.
“Law enforcement is a noble and demanding profession that requires sacrifice, courage and dedication to serve others,” Buchanan said. “Every day, brave men and women put themselves in harm’s way to uphold our laws and protect the public. They deserve our gratitude and respect.”
Awards in Manatee and Sarasota counties:
• Beyond the Call of Duty price: Lt. Sean Felton, Deputies Kelsey Belloise, Timothy Downey, Hugo Garcia, Grace King, Alexander Nikias, Monica Ruiz, Todd Sellitto, Logan Wilson and Robert Wildt of the Manatee County Sheriff‘s Office.
• Dedication and Professionalism Award: Lt. Phillip Waller and Sgt. Aaron Pilant of the Bradenton Police Department; Holmes Beach Police Department Officer Chris Bennett; Deputies Maria Gillum and Rafael Ortegon, and Detective Derek Pollock of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
• Gary Tibbetts Career Service Award: Bradenton Police Department Deputy Chief Josh Cramer and Detective James Curulla; Barbara Ehrhart of the Florida Highway Patrol; Sarasota Police Department Detective John Lake; Lt. Christopher Montalbano of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
• Life Preservation Award: Deputies Ryan Banning, Michael Beers, Leonel Garcia, Zameul Sanchez Garcia, Kyle Kaskiw, Joshua Langieri, Micah Osornio, Benjamin Quick, Grant Weisman and Detective Scott Williamson of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office; Detective Vincent Diorio of the Palmetto Police Department; Officers Adam Bearden, Whitney Bentz, Ridge Collins, Terry Crenshaw, Timothy Dederick, Julius Gonzalez, Nathan Lynn, Molly Spencer and Officer Eric Urban of the Sarasota Police Department.
• Unit Quotation Price: Lt. Mark Morie, Staff Sgts. Seamus Dwyer, Stephen Ives, Brian Quiles and Theron Robinson and Detectives Bryan Lake, Carmine Luper, Steven Luke and James Parrish of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Child Crimes Unit, the Child Crimes Unit Children on the Internet and the Technical Services Unit; sergeants. Stephen Barron and Paul Bulso, Detectives Kelsey Belloise, Ernest Bichsel, Keith English, Philip Fellows, Lucas Freitas-Ferreira, Cody Hobbs, Grace King, Jeremy Martin, Matthew Schwartz and Austyn Shear of the Special Investigations Division Tactical Unit the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office; sergeants. Sean Carter and Jonathan Misiewicz, Officers Nicholas Bernier, Brenton Bieker, Jarrod Chapman, Timothy Dederick, Giovanni Gonzalez, Julius Gonzalez, Nicholas Laquidara, Nathan Lynn, Aaron Modrow, Jordan Osinga, Elise Schanley, Lauren Stevens, Eric Urbain, Becky Worthington and Alfonso Varlaro of Unit 2A of the Sarasota Police Department Patrol Team.
Buchanan recently introduced the Thin Blue Line Act, which toughens penalties for anyone who targets police and other first responders. Earlier this year, Buchanan hosted a roundtable with key law enforcement officers from Florida’s 16th District to discuss rising crime nationwide and heightened threats to police and other first stakeholders.
“I believe these awards are a fitting tribute to our officers and a reminder of the important role they play in our communities,” Buchanan said.
Submitted by Savannah Glasgow