TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today named Jacksonville Sheriff’s Deputy Jared Reston as the recipient of the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for 2009. Detective Reston was joined by 11 fellow officers from around the state at a ceremony recognizing them for their dedication to law enforcement and their protection of the public.
“I am proud to recognize the very best of Florida’s law enforcement community today,” Attorney General McCollum said at the ceremony honoring the nominees. “Florida is fortunate to have such an incredible force protecting our communities and our families, and these men and women deserve our heartfelt honor and respect.”
A nine-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Office, Detective Reston has repeatedly demonstrated courage and determination in the face of danger while protecting his community. In January 2008, Detective Reston was working his second job as an off-duty officer at a local mall when he received a call about two young shoplifters. When he arrived at the scene, one of the suspects was easily controlled, but the second suspect fled.
Detective Reston’s pursuit quickly turned into a violent physical confrontation when the suspect pulled out a handgun and began shooting at Detective Reston, striking him in the chin with one round.
As Detective Reston lay on the ground, the suspect began to retreat, still firing at the wounded law enforcement officer. Detective Reston managed to pull his firearm and the suspect began to approach him again, striking the detective multiple times. Despite his wounds and after being shot seven times, Detective Reston returned fire, ultimately killing the suspect. For his heroic actions in the face of life-threatening injuries, as well as his constant commitment to public safety, Detective Reston is the well-deserved recipient of the Attorney General’s award.
Each nominee for the Attorney General’s award had previously been recognized as an “Officer of the Year” by a Florida law enforcement agency or organization that sponsors such a statewide award. Detective Reston was nominated by virtue of his selection by the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Lodge. A selection committee appointed by the Attorney General considered the distinguished group of nominees from state agencies and organizations including the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association, the Florida Gang Investigators Association and the Florida Retail Federation.
Reston is the seventh recipient of the Attorney General’s annual award.
Last year’s recipient was Lieutenant Michael Howell, of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. The 2007 recipient was Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Tammy Roane, and the 2006 recipient was Detective Sergeant Contento of the Tampa Police Department. In 2005, the recipient was Detective Kevin Kuschel of the Palm Beach County School District Police Department. The recipient in 2004 was Tallahassee Police Officer Chuck Perry, and Marion County Deputy Sheriff Mike Rolls was honored as the first recipient of the award in 2003.
* * * A list of the other nominees and their accomplishments is as follows:
Nominated by the Department of Transportation – Officer Tim Collins
Officer Collins has been a member of the Department’s Motor Carrier Compliance Contraband Interdiction Program in Tallahassee for eight years.
Last year on two separate occasions, Officer Collins was used his power of observation and his commitment to public safety to rescue two individuals, one who was intent upon causing harm to himself or others. Officer Collins, who has served multiple tours of duty overseas in active combat zones, is a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, a volunteer who donates countless hours to various youth baseball leagues and the Boy Scouts, and the proud father of three sons.
Nominated by the Florida Retail Federation – FDLE Special Agent Terry R.
Special Agent Corn has more than 33 years of law enforcement service, including 14 at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement where he currently serves in Tampa. Demonstrating outstanding leadership, teamwork and investigative skills, Special Agent Corn managed and directed two multi-jurisdictional cases involving complex organized retail theft rings operating in Central Florida. Prior to joining the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Special Agent Corn served as a military policeman in the United States Army while stationed in Germany and with the Lakeland Police Department, as well with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Nominated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Officer John D. Clark
During his employment with the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement in Pensacola, Officer Clark has earned the respect of his peers and supervisors by consistently displaying a strong work ethic, positive attitude and a thorough understanding of the agency’s mission. During the last fiscal year, Officer Clark personally scanned 1,041 Bills of Lading resulting in the collection of $323,820 in unpaid taxes to the State of Florida. He has developed a keen understanding and recognition of the types of products likely to enter the State without proper tax payments.
Officer Clark’s level of productivity and efficiency is further validated by his completion of more than 4,000 vehicle inspections and 3,814 agricultural product scans.
Nominated by the Florida Department of Financial Services – Detective Deborah de la Paz-Boxer
Detective de la Paz-Boxer has been a law enforcement officer for over 15 years and is currently the lead detective on the Division of Insurance Fraud’s Workers Compensation squad in the West Palm Beach field office.
During 2009, Detective de la Paz-Boxer made 14 arrests, maintained an average caseload of 18 cases per month and filed over 200 investigative reports. Due to her efforts, approximately $500,000 in restitution has been ordered by the courts.
Nominated by the Florida Highway Patrol – State Trooper Joshua Earrey
Having served almost nine years with the Florida Highway Patrol, Trooper Joshua Earrey is currently assigned to Troop G Contraband Interdiction Team as a K-9 handler. Trooper Earrey, of Jacksonville, has issued over 1200 traffic citations and 280 drug-related charges as a member of the North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. In October 2008, Trooper Earrey responded to a traffic violation that ultimately resulted in the arrest of a a suspect who had just carjacked a woman and her small child at gun point.
Nominated by the Department of Environmental Protection – Special Agent Guy Gilbert
Special Agent Gilbert has served as a Department of Environmental Protection investigator since 1990 following a distinguished military career. Special Agent Gilbert, of Miami, routinely creates plans and operations that result in arrests and other remedies resulting in the protection of Florida’s environmental resources. One of Special Agent Gilbert’s strengths is forging strong working relationships with other area law enforcement agencies, which have resulted in successful environmental enforcement operations. One such partnership with local, state and federal agencies led to an inspection of all the warehouses at the Miami International Airport for improperly stored toxic waste, radioactive elements and other suspicious materials that may have posed a security threat to our nation.
Nominated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Wildlife Federation – Officer Brett Gill
Officer Brett Gill began his career with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2005 and was assigned to Union County, where he has earned the respect and admiration of the citizens he serves.
Throughout 2008 and into 2009, Officer Gill has amassed an impressively varied caseload, including illegal hunting and fishing, dumping and littering, drug possession, possession of firearms by convicted felons, active felony warrants, marine resource and boating safety violations. In July 2008, while off duty, Officer Gill was flagged down by a frantic woman who advised him that a vehicle had crashed and was on fire down the street. Officer Gill called 911, then ran through the crowd of spectators to the burning car and pulled a passenger from the burning truck. The victim survived the crash and fire due to the heroic actions of Officer Gill.
Nominated by Department of Financial Services – Detective George Holcomb
Detective George Holcomb has been with the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations in Orlando for more than four years. His tireless investigative work led to the arrests of three suspects accused of setting a series of six residential fires resulting in approximately a quarter of a million dollars in property loss in northwest Orange County. The two major defendants were ultimately charged with three counts of arson, and the other suspect was charged with one count of arson. Since these suspects have been taken into custody, no further arsons have occurred in the area. Detective Holcomb is also very active in serving the educational needs of the law enforcement community.
Nominated by the Florida Sheriffs Association – Deputy Ray Maulbeck
Deputy Ray Maulbeck joined the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in 2005 after working for the Panama City Police Department and completing a 20-year career with the United States Navy, where he served as a Navy Combat Dive Instructor. As a member of the Sheriff’s Office Beach Patrol Unit, Deputy Maulbeck has made numerous water rescues and has saved several lives. In November 2008, Deputy Maulbeck was also directly responsible for saving an elderly man who was trapped in a burning mobile home.
Nominated by the Florida Police Chiefs Association – Detective Anthony Peterson
Detective Anthony Peterson has served with the St. Petersburg Police Department since 1992. In April 2008, the Special Investigations Unit was conducting surveillance of suspects involved in a recent series of armed robberies. During the stake out, Detective Peterson alerted the other detectives that suspects matching the description of those involved in the previous robberies had entered a video store. Detective Peterson and another detective kept the suspects in sight, even though it meant putting themselves at greater risk. As Detective Peterson moved closer to the door, the suspects abruptly exited and one suspect fired at him. Detective Peterson returned fire and was shot multiple times. Despite being hit, he was able to maintain cover of the shooter until fellow detectives took him and other suspects into custody. Detective Peterson’s actions helped ensure the capture of these dangerous armed suspects ending a violent crime spree and protecting other innocent citizens.
Nominated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Special Agent Annie White
Having served with the Department of Law Enforcement for four years, Special Agent Annie White has been recognized by her peers and supervisors for her outstanding initiative, tenacity and thoroughness in her case work. Special Agent White’s major investigations have included two sophisticated fraud cases and two homicides cases, one of which was 20 years old. One of the most notable examples of her investigative skills was her performance as lead case agent in the investigation of the homicide of Cheryl Dunlap, whose body was discovered in the Apalachicola National Forest three weeks after her disappearance in December 2007.
Special Agent White’s professionalism, dedication and skill in the coordination of this multi-agency investigation were instrumental in identifying Gary Hilton as the prime suspect and linking him to unsolved murders in several states.
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