FDLE members from throughout Florida were honored in Tallahassee this week for their outstanding performances last year, including Tampa Bay Special Agent Patricia Thompson as the Jose Perez Special Agent of the Year.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass says, “FDLE has incredible members committed to thoughtful, innovative advancements that continue to make FDLE a premier law enforcement agency in Florida, and the country. These members strive to enhance our criminal justice partnerships and to find ways to improve how we keep Florida’s citizens and visitors safe. I am honored to recognize these nominees and award winners for their selfless commitment to service and excellence.”
Agent Thompson was recognized for her meticulous investigations including a complex financial fraud involving a senior citizen.
Jose Perez Special Agent of the Year – Patricia Thompson, Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center
The Jose Perez Special Agent of the Year award recognizes commendable investigative or intelligence activity by a sworn member. In 2021, Special Agent (SA) Patricia Thompson investigated several high-profile cases involving people in positions of trust and power who violated their victims or the public with egregious behavior. SA Thompson worked an investigation where a senior citizen was being financially exploited by a contractor who moved into the victim’s residence while draining the victim’s financial assets. SA Thompson worked closely with the Office of Statewide Prosecution and the victim’s family, and the contractor was arrested and charged with exploitation of the elderly.
In addition, Tampa Bay Senior Crime Laboratory Analyst Michelle Mullins was recognized as part of a team for the Innovation of the Year award.
Innovation of the Year – Biology Laboratory Information Management System (BIO-LIMS) Development Team, Rachel Aponte, Molly Carter, Christopher Conklin, Jennifer Eatmon, Chris Hendry, Maria Hiott, Victoria Kipker, Jack Martin, Tim Miller, Michelle Mullins, Steve Rutledge, Jillian White, Xujing Sun, Brandon Floyd, Donna Carney and Kurt Posey
With FDLE’s six regional laboratories, maintenance of forensic examination records is of the utmost importance, particularly considering the approximately 60,000 distinct cases and 1 million items of evidence handled in each calendar year. Case file storage space, cost and efficiency issues led to an initiative to go paperless, and, in 2021, the BIO-LIMS project was introduced. The BIO-LIMS team, alongside members from Information Technology Services, devoted thousands of hours, including weekends, to minimize impact to laboratory operations during normal working hours. This diverse team brought together distinct regional needs into an adaptable, innovative product that will improve consistency, minimize errors, reduce the physical paper footprint and simplify statewide quality review processes that will leave a long-lasting positive impact to FDLE’s service in the field of forensic Biology and DNA.