FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen honored FDLE’s top performers today at the department’s Annual Awards Ceremony. Members were recognized for their outstanding performances during 2017. In total, more than 200 members were nominated.
“It is always gratifying to look back on our FDLE members’ accomplishments, and last year was no exception,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “While each nomination was unique, there was a common denominator – outstanding performance. It is a pleasure to recognize the winners of this year’s awards.”
Award winners are as follows:
Special Agent of the Year – Daniel Mehler, Special Agent, Fort Myers Regional Operations Center
This award recognizes commendable investigative or intelligence activity by a sworn member. The culmination of an investigation, coordinated by Special Agent Mehler and assisted by dozens of investigators and support personnel, resulted in the dismantling of a long standing statewide criminal organization which previously operated with impunity in southwest Florida. Seventeen defendants have been arrested and $763,000 in U.S. currency, a vehicle and two buildings have been seized. This organization is no longer in the business of prostitution and trafficking of women to work in the illegal commercial sex trade.
Capitol Police Officer of the Year – Marcus Spradley, Corporal, Capitol Police
This award recognizes an officer for a significant contribution or series of contributions in support of the goals of the Capitol Police. In 2017, Corporal Spradley was selected to be the training coordinator. In addition to this new position and his previous responsibilities of being a field training officer, he was selected as a new member of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. Corporal Spradley has taken his new assignments in stride and with gusto and has spent many hours this past year teaching and assisting officers in and out of the classroom.
Commissioner’s Award Winner – Media Center Team, Bureau of Professional Development, FDLE Headquarters
- Eric Bouquio
- Saeedeh Posey
- Chris Kenworthy
The recipients of this award are chosen by the Commissioner and it gives special recognition to the “unsung” heroes whose performance is outstanding yet low profile within the Department. Whether videography, photography, audio engineering, graphic design or any media-related product is needed, this team is always responsive and provides a first-rate product that showcases who FDLE is and what we do. Examples of their work include creation of videos that show the development and growth of the Florida Fusion Center and the fusion center network and helping overhaul the Sexual Offender/Predator Registry website.
Forensic Scientist of the Year – Kesha White, Crime Laboratory Analyst, Pensacola Regional Operations Center
This award is given to a laboratory member who advances forensic science by implementing new or improved technology, methods development or professional expertise. Ms. White has worked tirelessly both on a national level developing standards, and as an active, productive member of her professional organizations for many years. Her duties have increased over the years which included both principal instructor and technical leader duties during 2017. She has a nationally recognized reputation as a leader in her field and has been asked to serve as a member on many outstanding national and international committees.
Distinguished Member of the Year – Michelle Faircloth, Senior Management Analyst Supervisor, Business Support Services, FDLE Headquarters
This award is given to a member who demonstrates superior performance or who accomplishes a significant achievement. This member consistently performs above and beyond to provide exceptional service to internal or external customers. Last year, Ms. Faircloth provided improvement to the timeliness of the purchase order issuance process. She was also instrumental in arranging the purchase of Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, for FDLE sworn and crime lab members.
Distinguished Support Member of the Year –Tina Horne, Administrative Assistant II, Jacksonville Regional Operations Center
This award goes to a member who has demonstrated consistent, superior results with accuracy, timeliness, enthusiasm, dedication, pride and initiative. Ms. Horne’s efforts allowed the Jacksonville Regional Operations Center to use building space more efficiently, have more useable member work space, improved access to supplies for emergency and normal response for both sworn and non-sworn members, and avoided a costly laboratory equipment repair. All of these demanding projects were accomplished in addition to her normal responsibilities as property coordinator which includes managing the regional office’s fleet of vehicles.
Excellence in Leadership – Jason Hitt, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor, Jacksonville Regional Operations Center
This award recognizes a member who exemplifies excellence in leadership by paving the way for other members to shine. Under Mr. Hitt’s leadership, the productivity of the crime laboratory’s chemistry section increased and the turnaround time of the members also improved. The quality of the work performed never deviated from FDLE’s high standards while the section fulfilled the equivalent of 7,165 service requests. He is engaged and available, offering consistency and leadership. He encourages and promotes high performance standards and a quality work product.
Distinguished Team of the Year – Business Support Emergency Response Team, FDLE Headquarters
- Charlotte Fraser
- Mike Moore
- David Henderson
- Brandon Perry
- Stephanie Hendry
- Terri Speed
- Annamarie Whatley
- Susan Rich
- Joy Brady
- Terri Brusca
- Shaneka George
- Stephanie Young
- Jim Foster
This award recognizes a team that has demonstrated superior performance or accomplished a significant achievement. The Business Support Emergency Response Team (BSERT) has a critical role when FDLE responds to natural or man-made disasters. While they may not be the actual boots on the ground, they spend many hours working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that agents, analysts and other responders are able to get the emergency supplies they need and are ready to deploy throughout the state when needed. In 2017, emergency orders were issued for Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Tropical Storm Nate and the Opioid Epidemic. BSERT members were prepared and quickly responded to each emergency with devotion to FDLE members.
Innovation of the Year – New Firearm Eligibility System Implementation Team, Criminal Justice Information Services, FDLE Headquarters
- Mike Courtemanche
- Jameson Schnetzler
- Nelson Ocampo
- Antonio Emata
- Robin Sparkman
This recognition is awarded to a member or group who successfully implements a cutting-edge and creative service, program or product that provides new benefits to FDLE, the criminal justice community or the public. The Firearm Eligibility System, an application that processes firearm related background checks, was originally rolled out in March of 2012. While considered state-of-the-art at the time, FES had been tweaked and modified to the maximum extent possible. In order to gain additional efficiency a complete re-write was necessary. A team was assembled and began work on a technology refresh and retooling and in July 2017, the upgraded version was placed into production. On Friday, November 24, 2017, the busiest shopping day of the year, the Firearms Purchase Program processed a record breaking 10,976 transactions while maintaining an average processing time under two minutes.
Contribution to Criminal Justice – eWarrants Implementation Team, Criminal Justice Information Services, FDLE Headquarters
- Lee Herring
- Jeremy Burns
- Amanda Taylor
- Susie Murphy
- Isis Crespo
This award is presented to a member or team that has made a single significant contribution or a series of contributions in support of the goals of the criminal justice community. In January of 2017, the first eWarrant was served. The eWarrants system is a web-based application designed to establish a standardized electronic process for requesting, approving, and entering arrest warrants into the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) /National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The work of this team has improved public safety by increasing the number of warrants entered into the systems, reducing the possibility of data entry errors and providing public safety information sooner. The criminal justice community can work more efficiently, with fewer errors and public safety is enhanced. These benefits could not be realized without the dedicated work of the eWarrants deployment team.