February 20, 2015

Sheriff honors employees of the year

In the photo, left to right: Deputy David Lariz, Explorer Captain Caileigh Lutz, Sheriff’s Aide Donatella Kelly, Corrections Deputy Charles Miles, Reserve Deputy Bradley Humelsine and Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

The Sheriff’s Office honored its employees of the year at a ceremony held Thursday at the Marathon Government Center. The five employees honored at the ceremony are each from one of the Sheriff’s Office major components – law enforcement, corrections, support, reserves and explorers. They are chosen from among the Sheriff’s Office quarterly award winners honored for their service throughout the year.

While there are many employees who perform acts that deserve recognition, the five chosen for this award are an example of the exemplary service we hope all employees strive for. Each award recipient receives a plaque and a monetary award from the Sheriff’s Office. The monetary award is matched by community partner Centennial Bank, a long time sponsor of the yearly award ceremony.

Deputy David Lariz, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Deputy Lariz was recognized for his work apprehending a vehicle burglar who had committed at least 20 such crimes in the areas of Key Haven and Sugarloaf Key in October. Detectives had a surveillance video depicting the suspect and vehicle. Deputy Lariz viewed the video and was on the lookout for similar vehicles while at work on a special detail assignment for Fantasy Fest in the city of Key West. He spotted the vehicle as it drove past him on Simonton Street. The car was stopped and stolen items were found inside. The driver was determined to be the suspect in multiple felony crimes. A large amount of stolen property was recovered, along with a large amount of illegal narcotics.

Deputy Charles Miles, Detention Deputy of the Year: Deputy Miles works in the Transportation Unit at the Stock Island Detention Center. His main duty is transporting inmates to and from court. In November, a BOLO was issued for a suspect wanted for violent offenses. Deputy Miles knew the suspect and knew a few areas he has been known to frequent. While returning from court, he altered his course of travel to check out a few of those areas to see if he could spot the suspect. He saw the wanted man at Higgs Beach and called for assistance. The suspect was apprehended due to Deputy Miles efforts. In addition to this effort, Deputy Miles is also extremely active in the community, participating in many fundraising and cleanup activities on a regular basis.

Donatella Kelly, Support employee of the Year: Kelly is the Sheriff’s Assistant. In the summer of 2014, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch expressed a wish to hold a summer camp in the Lower Keys for Monroe County school children. Kelly volunteered to organize the camp for the Youth Ranch. In addition to her normal duties, she found a location for the camp to take place, recruited kids to attend the camp and put together curriculum to keep the kids busy for the entire week, including recruiting law enforcement officers to teach them and making sure they had lunch and snacks. It was a huge undertaking and went off without a hitch. About 50 kids spent the week learning about various aspects of law enforcement in a fun, safe and instructive environment.

Brad Humelsine, Reserve Deputy of the Year: Res. Deputy Humelsine acts as a volunteer pilot for the Sheriff’s Office. During Fantasy Fest, a Deputy from Orlando, Florida was in the Keys working the festival. He was with Orlando’s mounted division, working the crowds with his horse on Duval Street when the horse slipped, falling and landing on the deputy’s leg and breaking it. It was a severe break and he needed to be airlifted to a trauma hospital for treatment. There were no other pilots available at that time so Humelsine, who was about to go on vacation, canceled his vacation plans in order to fly the deputy out.

Explorer Captain Caileigh Lutz, Explorer of the Year: Captain Lutz is 16 years old and has been with the Explorer and Cadet program since the age of 10. She takes her training in the program very seriously, always attending meetings, training events and competitions. She has a great attitude and her leadership skills help others in her explorer post and have been instrumental in the excellent performance her team shows at state-wide explorer competitions. She is also on her school’s AP Honor Roll, holding a straight A average. She participates in many school activities and community activities, including the National Honor Society, Teen Court, the Sheriff’s Honor Guard, just to name a few. She sets an excellent example for younger members of the program as she grows and matures in her leadership position.

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