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Siskiyou County Peace Officers of the Year Honored at Annual Dinner

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

Report from Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office

April 13, 2017

               On April 8, 2017, the annual 2016 Peace Officer Appreciation Dinner was conducted at the Mt. Shasta Community Center.  The South County Elks Lodge #2333 hosted the event and the meal was prepared by Elks’ volunteers after it was cooked by Mr. David Tyler.  Every year the dinner is held and hosted by either the North County Elks, Yreka Lodge #1980, or South County Elks (Lodge #2333), to honor the law enforcement community and its peace officers and support persons of the year.  Exalted Ruler Mr. Craig Fisher and Elks’ Lodge #1980 representative Mr. Joe Schettino were present for the event. The festivities were supervised by past Exalted Ruler Mr. Norm Dettman of Lodge #2333.

              Ms. Erin Ryan, representing Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office, was on-hand to award the recipients congressional certificates.  Mr. Bruce Ross, jointly representing Senator Ted Gaines and Assemblyman Brian Dahle, was also present and awarded joint-senate and assembly certificates to the honored peace officers.  Supervisor Ray Haupt, Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, District 5, was also at the event and helped present the awards to the recipients.  Chaplain Andy Grossman, a long-time Chaplain for the Weed Police Department with prior service with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) provided the invocation and benediction.  Sheriff Jon Lopey, SCSO, officiated as emcee for the event, which drew about 150 participants from a number of local and state law enforcement agencies.

              The following award recipients were honored by their department administrators:  The Yreka CHP Area Office honored Sergeant Tim Lawson, a 29-year veteran of the CHP as its officer of the year.  He was cited for his exceptional leadership contributions to his Area and various community activities, including youth and hunting programs.  Motor Carrier Specialist I Joann Kaufmann, a 32-year veteran of the CHP, received the Yreka CHP’s “Support Person of the Year” award for her major contributions to commercial vehicle safety, including contributing to a 100% workload inspection record never achieved by the CHP’s Biennial Inspection of Terminal Program.  The awards were presented by Yreka CHP Area Commander Mark Loveless and Joann’s Supervisor, Motor Carrier Program Manager Mr. Dave Porter.

              The Mt. Shasta CHP’s Officer of the Year was Officer Jonathan White.  A 14-year veteran of the CHP, Officer White was commended for his superior investigative skills, hard work, apprehension of a homicide suspect, his superb actions as a range officer and he was cited for numerous youth sports events he attends as a parent and coach.

              The CHP’s Dunsmuir Grade Inspection Facility (DGIF)’s Officer of the Year was Eric Hohmeister.  He served previously in the Bay Area as a training officer, protective services team unit, which provided security for various world leaders and the President of the United States, and he served on the division Special Response Team.  Officer Hohmeister was cited for his professionalism as a commercial enforcement officer and he serves as a training officer, ranger officer, advanced officer safety officer instructor and he is a member of the Northern Division Special Response Team.  DGIF Commercial Vehicle Inspection Specialist (CVIS) Dave Chandler was awarded the “DGIF Support Person of the Year Award.”  CVIS Chandler was commended for his five years of exemplary service at DGIF as a commercial vehicle inspector.  He serves as the shop steward and is considered a hard worker, dedicated professional, “team player,” and expert at both federal and California motor vehicle safety requirements.  Both recipients received their awards from their commander, Lieutenant Brent Giordano.

              The Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team (SUMIT) selected as their Agent of the Year Alcohol Beverage Control Agent Brett Letendre.  Agent Letendre was cited for his professionalism, leadership, interpersonal skills, superior investigative acumen and for his superior efforts to train new agents.  SUMIT, with his assistance, seized 93 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.24 pounds heroin, 168 pounds of marijuana, 12,912 prescription pills, 2.55 pounds of cocaine, and 19 firearms during 2016.  SUMIT Commander Special Supervising Agent Ryan Maki presented the award.  Also in attendance were two high-ranking members of California Alcohol Beverage Control, Division Chief Chris Albrecht and Supervising Agent in Charge Matt Seck.

              The Yreka Police Department (YPD) Officer of the Year Award recipient was Detective Travis Cooke.          Detective Cooke is a 10-year YPD veteran and recently successfully investigated a murder, which resulted in a warrant being issued for the main suspect within a 24-hour period.  He is assigned part-time to SUMIT and is considered a dedicated, hard-working, expert investigator and law enforcement professional of the highest order.  YPD awarded its “YPD Support Person of the Year” to Animal Control Officer Dusty Wilson.  He was commended for his development of positive work relationships with non-profit organizations, his efficiency, passion, and professionalism as an Animal Control Officer and he recently achieved a 100% compliance rate for canine licensing in the city.  He has also worked tirelessly to assist with other ordinance violations, assists with enforcement, and clean up of homeless camps in the area.  He takes his job seriously and has been a courteous, relentless, and dedicated member of the YPD team.  Chief Brian Bowles, Chief of Police, was personally on-hand to present the awards to his co-workers.

              The Mt. Shasta Police Department (MSPD) awarded the “MSPD Police Officer of the Year” to Officer Frank Goulart.  Officer Goulart, a former LAPD officer and long-time member of the MSPD, was cited for his long and distinguished career.  He was commended for handling a murder investigation from start to finish.  He was cited for his professionalism, expert investigative skills, and tenacity in solving the case.  On November 16, 2016, Officer Goulart, while attending court in Yreka, helped to identify and apprehend an armed suspect carrying a rifle near a shopping center.  He detained four total suspects and held them until YPD officers could arrive.  Officer Goulart was characterized as the very best the law enforcement community has to offer.  Chief of Police Parish Cross was on-hand to present the award.

              The Lake Shastina Police Department (LSPD) designated Officer Rusty Owns as its “LSPD Police Officer of the Year.”  Officer Owens worked for a year with virtually no time off when LSPD was short of personnel and he filled in as the leader of the department.  He was cited for his exceptional dedication, tenacity, professionalism and selfless service to the citizens of Lake Shastina.

              The Siskiyou County Probation Department (SCPD) awarded its “Supervising Juvenile Correctional Officer of the Year” to Joe Burkus.  He was cited for his professionalism as a leader at the Charlie Byrd Youth Corrections Center (CBYCC).  His work ethic, optimistic attitude, and consistency were cited as his strengths as a CBYCC leader.  The “CBYCC Juvenile Correctional Officer of the Year” was awarded to Kreg Celaya.  He was cited for his two years’ service, work ethic, professionalism, and he graduated at the top of his class while attending Correctional Officer CORE training, where he received a Leadership Award by the Santa Clara Probation Department.  SCPD’s “Deputy Probation Officer of the Year” was awarded to Brian Murphy.  He was cited for his exemplary performance as a Supervision and Juvenile Drug Court Program Officer.  He was cited for his energy, passion, dedication, and excellent work ethic and his ability to balance rehabilitation with community safety.  SCPD’s “Support Person of the Year” went to Joy Pragg, Legal Secretary.  She was cited for her 11 years of service with the Juvenile Unit.  She is patient, reliable, handles a heavy workload, and is professional and hard working.  She gets along with others and is a “problem-solver.”  SCPD’s “Deputy Probation Officer of the Year” was awarded to Tiana Chandon.  She is a 10-year veteran of SCPD and works in the Juvenile Unit.  She is a firearm’s instructor and handles a caseload of sex offenders and Post Release Community Supervision inmates.  She is positive, approachable, and has been a leader in her unit since her assignment.  SCPD’s “Support Person of the Year” was also awarded to Sonia Cantrell, Administrative Support Assistant.  She is a 6-year employee and was cited for her versatility in supporting adult and juvenile corrections’ needs; she offers her assistance and support to others and is a true professional and she is courteous to everyone.

              The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) awarded a special “Sheriff’s Award Medal” to Water Safety Deputy Grant “Skip” Tuttle.  Deputy Tuttle, now retired served for over 30 years with the CHP before working as a Park Ranger and later, Water Safety Deputy with the Department.  He served for 14 years with the Department and amassed nearly 50 years of total law enforcement experience.  He started his career with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputy Tuttle was commended for his years of life-saving service to countless citizens and others he contacted during his long and distinguished career.

              SCSO’s “Correctional Deputy of the Year” was awarded to Corporal Jennifer Zanni.  Corporal Zanni was cited for her exemplary work as a correctional deputy and she serves as an investigator in the Background Investigations Unit.  Deputy Zanni is known for her professionalism, leadership, superior job performance, and mentorship of young correctional deputies.  SCSO’s “Correctional Support Person of the Year, was awarded to Carie Daugherty, Fiscal Technician.  She was cited for her efficiency, multi-tasking abilities, responsibility for a large inmate welfare account, procurement duties, and her diligence has helped to prevent and curtail illegal smuggling into the jail.  She was cited for her outstanding performance, work ethic, positive attitude, and leadership.

              SCSO’s “Deputy of the Year” was awarded to Deputy John Zook.  Deputy Zook was commended for his exemplary performance as a field deputy, field training officer, leader, mentor, and he was cited for having one of the highest drug arrest totals on the entire department.  He is a mentor to younger deputies and has been commended by the district attorney’s office for his excellent investigations and courtroom testimony.  His character, bravery, dedication, dependability, and professionalism are legendary on the department.  SCSO’s “Major Crimes’ Unit Support Person of the Year” was awarded to Forensic Technician Bonnie Mortenson.  She was commended for processing numerous major crimes scenes, including murders and officer-involved shooting scenes. She attends numerous autopsies and is known as one of finest forensic technicians in the region.

              Chief Chaplain Keith Bradley, unable to attend the event, was awarded a “Sheriff’s Courage-in-Action Award.”  Chief Chaplain Bradley is the exemplary leader of 10 departmental chaplains and despite a debilitating illness he is fighting, he has consistently been available for special departmental events and he still serves his community as a pastor and his co-worker whenever needed.  He is an inspiration to all member of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.

              Sheriff Lopey thanked all members of the law enforcement community, the Elks, Siskiyou Veterans Leadership Council, Marine Corps League, and the McCloud, Fort Jones, and Yreka American Legion Posts, and distinguished guests for making the event so successful.  He commended the award recipients and their family members for their support throughout the year, which made their contributions to the law enforcement profession possible.  A moment of silence was also held for peace officers killed in the line of duty during 2016.  Sheriff Lopey cited during a brief speech that during 2016 nationwide, 144 peace officers were killed in the line of duty, including 64 firearm-related assaults, a 56% increase over 2015.  He also cited the excellent interagency working relationships enjoyed by all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from throughout the county, which makes Siskiyou County such a special place to work as a law enforcement professional.


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