Congratulations 2017 Sheriff’s Office Award Recipients
These Sheriff’s Office Employees and Outstanding Citizens have risen above and beyond expectations and we are extremely honored to recognize their exceptional work. Please help us say “Thank You” for their dedication, sacrifice and hard work. Great Job All and Thank you!!
Please remember, each and every day, ALL of our deputies and staff proudly serve you, the citizens of Spokane County and do so with dedication, honor and professionalism.
*** These awards are overseen by the Law Enforcement Awards Committee comprised of several employees throughout the Sheriff's Office. They receive many nominations during the year and the committee carefully considers each nomination and decides who the recipients should be.
The "Sheriff's Star" Award recipients are chosen by Sheriff Knezovich for their outstanding job performance, dedication and professionalism.
Outstanding Citizen Award
Tyler M. Pfeffer
In recognition of your extraordinary actions on May 20, 2017, without thought to your own personal safety, you stepped in and assisted two deputies subdue an individual who was suffering from mental issues. If not for your help, the situation could have resulted in more serious injuries for all those involved. We are honored to have you as a member of our community. Thank you!
Paul E. Eminger
In recognition of your actions on September 10, 2017, when you volunteered to assist a deputy involved in a foot pursuit of a suspect. You gave him a ride in your vehicle which allowed him to "catch up" with the suspect in a more timely manner. With your assistance, the suspect was apprehended, and no one was injured in the process. We are honored to have you as a member of our wonderful community. Thank you!
Unit Merit Citation
Sergeant Matthew W. Smith
Detective Daniel T. Blashill
Detective Scott C. Bonney
Detective Charles L. Haley
Detective Jerad S. Kiehn
Detective David J. Knechtel
Detective William “Shannon” McCrillis
Detective Marc A. Melville
Detective John R. Oliphant
Detective Mark E. Renz
Detective Kenneth J. Scott
Detective James W. Speaks
Sheriff’s Technical Assistance II Rebecca J. Wilbur
October 11, 2016: Individuals from the Spokane Valley Investigative Unit (SVIU), Investigative Task Force (ITF), and Regional Intelligence Group 9 (RIG 9) worked together on a "Murder for Hire" case and prevented the death of the intended victim.
At the time, the Major Crimes Unit had more cases than it could handle and these units came together and investigated as a team. They worked beyond their normal working hours, went beyond their normal scope of duties, and worked together to achieve this positive outcome.
Medal of Merit
Sergeant Michael J. Kittlestved
July 26, 2017: In recognition of your talent, skill, and time, you have devoted to the Spokane Sheriff's Office Explosives Devices Unit and the Seattle Stabilization Team. You are highly respected for your component recognition and identification knowledge and your level of commitment to obtain the continued training and the travel required for this position is commendable. It is an honor to have you as a member of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
Detective John R. Oliphant
January – July 2017: In recognition of your extraordinary dedication and work ethic while accepting challenges which stretched your limits. In addition of your normal investigative case load, you helped Major Crimes with a large investigation, as well as took on the role of planning Honor Guard assignments and answering requests. Your skills and talents are truly appreciated and it is an honor to have you as a member of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
Deputy Andrew K. Hairston
Sergeant Jeffery M. Shover
Sergeant Michael A. Zollars
In recognition of your exceptional and courageous performance on March 6, 2017, regarding a gunfire incident. You recognized that a fellow SWAT Team member was wounded and in need of assistance. Without thought to your own safety, you took immediate action seeing that his safety was secured and his emergency medical needs were met. It is an honor to have you as a member of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
Deputy Brian V. Lawler
September 22, 2016: In recognition of your compassion and professionalism when YOU made a huge difference in the life of a woman who was attempting to commit suicide. You took the time to notice her, to engage her in conversation, and when the opportunity arose, you physically pulled her and her dog away from the edge of the bridge and you called for an ambulance so she could be taken to the hospital for the professional help she so desperately needed. Your caring, compassion, and training benefit our agency and community. It is an honor to have you as a member of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
Deputy Samuel E. Turner
On May 4, 2017, you were called to a residence where an infant was found unresponsive in a backyard pond. You quickly began CPR until the medical care team arrived on scene and it is due to your efforts, this child was resuscitated and made a complete recovery. Your extraordinary actions and training saved the life of this child and possible the lives of future generations to come! The Spokane County Sheriff's Office is proud to have you as a member of our TEAM. Thank you!
Deputy Alexx J. Bullion
Deputy James P. (JP) Melton
Deputy Gavin H. Pratt
Deputy Thomas H. Walker
May 27, 2017- In recognition of your extraordinary actions involving a man who tried to commit suicide by jumping into the swift and cold waters of the Spokane River. All of you were successful in locating, tracking and finally pulling this man out of the river to safety. Due to your combined heroic efforts, this individual survived and obtained the help he so desperately needed. Your actions reflect positively on the Sheriff's Office and on all of you as individuals. It is an honor to have you as a member of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
David D. Lakin, Outstanding Citizen
May 27, 2017- In recognition of your extraordinary actions on involving a man who tried to commit suicide by jumping into the swift and cold waters of the Spokane River. You and four deputies were successful in locating, tracking and finally pulling this man out of the river to safety. Due to your combined heroic efforts, this individual survived and obtained the help he so desperately needed. Your actions reflect positively on you as individual and an outstanding member of our community. Thank you!
Deputy Roman W. Maier
Deputy Skye C. Ortiz
July 30, 2017- In recognition of your actions while responding to a one vehicle roll-over crash. Arriving first on scene, you quickly made the assessment the male juvenile passenger suffered critical arterial damage and the subsequent heavy bleeding threatened his life. Entering the vehicle, you applied not one, but two tourniquets to stop the bleeding and readied him for air-transport to the hospital.
Due to your extraordinary skill, compassion, and training, the individual survived this ordeal. You are both valued members of our law enforcement family. Thank you!
Deputy Alex K. Velikodnyy
September 2, 2017- In recognition of your actions while responding to a wellness check call you located an unconscious and unresponsive individual. You recognized the symptoms as being an opiate overdose and enlisted the aid of a bystander to continue the CPR while you administered Naloxone (NARCAN). Soon after the second dose, the individual became semi-alert and could breathe on his own. You put your very recent training to good use and saved this man’s life. We are proud to have you as a member of our Law Enforcement Family. Thank you!
Sergeant Harold J. (HJ) Whapeles
On March 6, 2017, a domestic violence dispute turned into an extremely dangerous and volatile situation. As SWAT and Negotiators attempted to get the suspect to surrender and safely into custody, he opened fire on the law enforcement officers at the scene. Although you sustained an injury, you kept calm, dropped back to a position of cover behind an armored vehicle where first-aid was immediately provided. After enduring surgery and rehabilitation, we are honored to have you back in the fold of our law enforcement family. Thank you for your continued dedication to serve and protect our community.
Sheriff’s Star Award
Deputy Jeffrey R. Duncan
In recognition of your outstanding and generous contributions to our Spokane community. Your interactions while working as School Resource Deputy, Explorer Troop Leader, 15 Minute Program Facilitator, and Holidays and Heroes Coordinator, have demonstrated your extraordinary loyalty, friendship, and love. You have provided security, stability and fairness while dealing with difficult situations while maintaining a calm demeanor earning you the respect of all of those you interact with. I am honored to have had you as a member of our team and law enforcement family!
Detective Lyle Johnston
In recognition of your outstanding efforts, tireless work ethic, and dedication in serving the citizens of Spokane County as a Sheriff's Office Major Crimes and Property Crimes Detective for the last 15 years. While serving the citizens of Spokane County, you have been an example to all who work around and with you. The skills you have developed over your career have made you a respected leader
and an often sought out resource for others in the region. I am honored to have you as a member of our team and law enforcement family!
Judith Gilmore, Outstanding Citizen
In recognition of your extraordinary skill and diligence in creating an environment of true partnership within our community, which led to developing the program known as "Head Start to the Construction Trades" (HCT). This successful program is now being shared by the Inland NW Associated General Contractors Apprenticeship Association. You inspire and serve as a true role model for others and your talents are truly appreciated. Thank you!
Sheriff’s Staff Assistant Heather L. Martinez
Sheriff’s Staff Assistant Kelly M. Matthews
In recognition of the integral role you played in bringing the new CAD/RMS system, called NEW WORLD, on board to our agency. This new way of reporting crime statistics is significantly more complex than the antiquated system that had been in place since the 1930's. In performing the tasks of reviewing all reports generated by personnel and ensuring the Sheriff's Office/Spokane Valley were accurately capturing criminal statistics in compliance with the NIBRS' rules before merging into the new system, you worked after hours, weekends, and even while on vacation. Your dedication in educating our staff and your commitment to this project is greatly appreciated and commendable. Thank you!
Instructional Systems Designer Anthony (Tony) A. Anderman
In recognition of your success in increasing the level of professionalism of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office Training Unit. The Training Unit benefits many individuals and agencies who utilize our services. The professionalism we foster will build an even better facility in which to train and teach the courses that will benefit the community we serve. Thank you for being an integral part of our law enforcement family!