First Annual Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Employee Recognition Night
We are pleased to share with you the recipients recognized this year during the First Annual Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Employee Recognition Night. This event is to recognize and honor Sheriff’s Office Employees and Outstanding Citizens who went above and beyond while assisting others and serving our community.
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 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
Robin Moug and her K9 Partner Max
Sadly, Max was put to rest earlier this year. Robin and Max served as volunteers for the Search and Rescue team and made tremendous contributions to the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies across the state. As a team, they worked on several cases and were instrumental in assisting the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit in the Bret Snow homicide case. In addition, K9 Max saved a women’s life in the winter of 2018.
On June 15, 2019, Isabella was working as a lifeguard at the South Hill Aquatic Center, it was opening weekend, and the pool was extremely crowded. Isabella noticed a 3-year-old child floating oddly in the pool. The child went from a face-up position to a face-down position without kicking or moving. Isabella quickly came down from her lifeguard tower and removed the lifeless 3-year-old from the pool. CPR was successfully performed on the child, and she began to breathe. Soon the fire department and paramedics arrived on scene. Had Isabella not been alert and actively watching, this incident could have been a tragedy. Isabella saved the life of this little girl, and we are truly proud to honor her.
Marissa Lynne Hernandez
On February 23, 2019, Marissa was working at the Comfort Inn in the Valley. During her shift, she was walking by the pool when she noticed a 6-year-old boy floating face down in the water. The child was not breathing, and his body was lifeless. She immediately assisted in pulling the child out of the pool and began CPR. Marissa revived the child before fire or law enforcement arrived. Marissa’s swift response unquestionably saved the life of this young man. Marissa, we are truly proud to honor you.
Terry Davis and Andrew Hall
In November of 2018, Both Terry and Andrew Hall were working in the Spokane Valley when a suspect, randomly grabbed an 8-year-old boy and began stabbing him. Both Terry and Andrew physically fought with the suspect and wrestled the knife away from him, preventing further injury to the child. They held the suspect to the ground until law enforcement arrived. Their actions that day, saved the life of this young man.
Sheriff’s Office Certificate of Appreciation
Sheriff’s Technical Assistant Cheree Barth
Cheree has been instrumental in starting the Trunk or Treat event in the Spokane Valley. Deputies were recruited to decorate their patrol vehicles and pass out candy to the children. Throughout the years, Cheree has overseen the event, worked with community partners and deputies to make this a fun time for all. In 2019, Cheree coordinated with Sun City Church to expand the event, and it was estimated 1500-1700 children attend. Cheree is quick to give credit to others. However, if it weren’t for her hard work and organization, the Trunk or Treat event would not occur. Thank you, Cheree, for your dedication and commitment.
Medal of Merit Award
Detective Kevin Mosher
Detective Kevin Mosher was recently promoted and assigned to the Spokane Valley Investigative Unit and is the Information Led Policing coordinator. He has been specifically tasked with leading the efforts in dealing with organized retail theft across the city of Spokane Valley. Even though he is a newly promoted detective, Mosher accepted this task and began establishing relationships with victims and loss prevention personnel. Detective Mosher has done an excellent job in creating a dialogue between victims and Law Enforcement, resulting in hundreds of cases being cleared and criminals being held accountable. To date, he has charged 188 felonies and 132 misdemeanor crimes. In 2019, Detective Mosher completed 150 charging documents and investigated 172 cases, where he has built probable cause to arrest criminals operating in the Spokane Valley. He coordinates weekly with outside agencies to identify and charge criminals. Detective Mosher has distinguished himself in this new position and has gone above and beyond the expectations of a first-year detective.
Deputy Louis Acosta
Deputy Louis Acosta has been an active Field Training Officer (FTO) since 2015. While assigned to both the Valley and Downtown, he has trained several probationary deputies. In addition to holding the deputies accountable for their performance related to the Sheriff’s standards and values, he also looks for the opportunity to identify exceptional performance from other deputies. Deputy Acosta regularly employs creative, “outside-the-box” training ideas and methods to target performance improvements. Deputy Acosta has greatly influenced probationary deputies. Sergeant Kiehn says this about him; “Deputy Acosta is a leader on our platoon and has assisted with changing the culture within our small unit. He leads by example when on solo duty and is one of the highest performers in self-initiated activities and arrests. He does not hesitate to help his platoon members and is a field resource to his fellow deputies.” Those who have worked with Deputy Acosta know his personal drive and connection to his family is paramount. He is noticed by his peers in working relationships and training environments.
Sheriff Technical Assistant Patty Aguilar
Patty Aguilar has distinguished herself within the Sheriff’s Forensic Unit by exemplifying an outstanding team-building spirit and attitude. Patty has worked tirelessly to fulfill all required duties of her job, goes above and beyond to assist the citizens of Spokane County, and her co-workers in the Forensic Unit with a positive attitude. Patty exemplifies the meaning of professionalism and is respected by all.
Forensic Digital Technician Nicholas Ames
Nic Ames is a valuable member of the Forensic Unit. He has voluntarily assumed additional duties which are of assistance to the Forensic Unit in its entirety. Nic is certified in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a national database of images of fired cartridge cases that allows law enforcement to identify guns, and potentially link cases together, by showing that the same weapon was used. The time and effort Nic has put into his work will have a lasting impact on the Forensic Unit’s efficiencies and make a difference in both current and future investigations.
Forensic Specialist Charles Hause
Charles Hause has demonstrated an exemplary work ethic and promotes the highest standards in his field. He consistently has maintained the top number of completed cases in the unit, and he goes beyond what is expected by supervisors. Charles regularly makes himself available for additional calls and takes on extra duties when necessary. Within the last year, the Forensic Unit has lost two members. Charles has worked diligently to alleviate the burden of additional casework. His professionalism and high standards are an example to all within the Forensic Unit and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Lieutenant Jay McNall
For the last 20 years, Lieutenant Jay McNall has served on the SWAT Team in several capacities. The most notable, since being promoted to Lieutenant, was Team Commander, where he obtained and managed nearly 1 million dollars in SWAT assets and grants. No matter the time of day, seven days a week, Lieutenant McNall responded to call-outs and ran the command post. Lieutenant McNall is a valuable asset to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Unit Merit Citation
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Training Unit
Lieutenant Rich Gere
Sergeant Marty Tucker
Sergeant Brett Gores
Sergeant Justin Elliott
Sergeant H.J. Whapeles
Detective Greg Lance
Deputy Steven Stipe
Deputy Brian Moen
In the last year, the Training Unit accomplished several significant goals that support the operations of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. The Training Unit worked diligently developing an academy program and curriculum, which allows the Sheriff’s Office to train the recruits effectively and efficiently, saving the Sheriff’s Office time and money. This program required a tremendous effort by our trainers and subject matter experts to put together a curriculum the Criminal Justice Training Center would recognize as being equivalent to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. In addition to developing the academy, the Training Unit also revamped our recruiting and hiring process. Because of their efforts, the Sheriff’s Office overcame a staffing deficit and shortened our hiring process to an all-time low. Their dedication led to the success of this unit and team.
Annual Unit Merit Award
Regional Intelligence Group 9 (RIG 9)
Lieutenant Jay McNall
Detective Jen Sutter
Senior Information Data Analyst Sonya Aebischer
Analyst Molly Prenger
Analyst Nicole Pamplin
Analyst Nichell Machotka
Lead Investigative Analyst Mark Voigtlaender
In cooperation with the entire unit and command staff, RIG9 changed direction and embraced a new philosophy of criminal investigative intelligence. Each member has shown their professionalism and dedication in taking on additional workloads to complete the agencies’ mission. Their willingness to work above and beyond has proved to be invaluable in several investigations. The Unit developed a new computer system for public safety, which provided real-time, actionable intelligence information for both patrol and investigators. Together, they automated several statistical reports for Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley. It is only with extreme professionalism and dedication; the RIG 9 staff have succeeded. Their positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond what is expected are what makes this Unit a success.
Investigator of the Year Award
Detective Marc Melville
Detective Marc Melville is an essential member of Major Crimes - Crimes Against Persons Unit. He is hardworking and relentless in his drive to bring cases to resolution for the victims and those affected by crimes of violence. Marc is detailed in all aspects of his job and shows compassion for those he is helping. This last year, he was asked to be the lead investigator in an officer-involved shooting, he investigated criminal allegations from an outside agency, and he continues to work with federal law enforcement to bring back a homicide suspect from a foreign country to the United States for criminal prosecution. In addition to these duties, Detective Melville is one of two investigators in Major Crimes assigned to missing persons and runaways. These types of cases can be the most stressful and require the most dedication of investigations. Detective Melville is a true professional and has earned the respect of both his peers and superiors.
Platoon Patrol Deputy of the Year Award
Platoon Patrol Deputy of The Year is a brand-new award for 2019, honoring Sheriff’s Patrol Deputies assigned to Downtown and Valley precinct platoons. The recipients in this award category were chosen for being the type of employee their fellow platoon members and supervisors could rely upon each day to provide the highest level of service to the citizens of Spokane County. These deputies are distinguished as being a positive influence on their platoons who consistently represent the core values of our agency. The deputies in this category aren’t known for standing in the shadows, but rather for stepping out in front and making sure we all succeed in getting the job done safely and efficiently while ensuring everyone goes home to their families at the end of the day.
Dayshift 1st Platoon - Deputy Mark Benner
Dayshift 2nd Platoon - Deputy Terry Liljenberg
Nightshift 1st Platoon - Deputy Stan Kravtsov
Nightshift 2nd Platoon - Deputy Clay Hilton
Dayshift 1st Platoon - Deputy Jay Bailey
Dayshift 2nd Platoon - Deputy Darin Schaum
Nightshift 1st Platoon - Deputy Thomas Wakem
Nightshift 2nd Platoon- Deputy Tom Keys
Sheriff’s Star Award
Deputy Veronica Van Patten
In recognition for your commitment to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and exemplifying what it means to be a Sheriff’s Deputy, you are awarded the Sheriff’s Star. During your time with the Sheriff’s Office, you consistently model the values of trustworthiness, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, and respect. You demonstrate your commitment to the agency and are willing to stand up for what is right. We are truly proud to have you as a part of the SCSO Family. Thank you!
Senior Information Data Analyst Sonya Aebischer
Sonya Aebischer has been instrumental in the complete overhaul of our crime stats and how we deliver intelligence information within the RIG 9. Sonya has automated all crime stat processes, allowing for staff to receive nearly real-time stats and trends, broken down into levels the agency was previously unable to achieve. She developed the RIG 9 SharePoint site, allowing for staff to easily exchange timely and meaningful information, see current crime trends, access a myriad of intelligence databases and websites, and advance the agency’s business model of Intelligence-Led Policing. She has worked behind the scenes to standardize all of the RIG 9 intelligence products, allowing for a more professional, and easier to process delivery of information. Her efforts are one reason why property crime stats have dropped over the last two years.
Sonya is invaluable to our agency. We are incredibly fortunate to have her as one of our own. Thank you for your dedication and service to the Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Brandon Armstrong
Detective Brandon Armstrong is recognized for his pursuit of justice and commitment to the victims of sexual assault within the Spokane County community. Over the course of a year, Detective Armstrong has been to trial five times on sexual assault cases. It is unprecedented for a detective to have five jury trials with-in such a short period of time. All five trials resulted in guilty verdicts, and the defendants were sentenced to a combined 80+years in prison for these unspeakable crimes. As a result, Detective Armstrong is highly regarded within both, the prosecutor’s office and with defense attorneys, garnering a reputation for being a thorough, well organized, intelligent, and a top tier investigator.
Detective Armstrong has been recognized by the prosecutor’s office and local advocacy groups for his outstanding work and dedication to seeking justice for victims, who often can’t fight for themselves. His commitment to investigating sexual assault cases is unmatched, and he is looked upon as being an expert.
Detective Armstrong’s commitment to representing the victims of sexual assault is a tremendous asset to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and to the citizens we serve.
Mr. David Bray was unable to attend the event to receive his award. He sent a message stating, “I am truly honored to have been asked to attend.”
David Bray is a United States Veteran. He served in the US Navy as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman for the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines.
Mr. Bray is awarded the Sheriff’s Star and made an honorary Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, for his service to our Nation and never-ending support to our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers, first responders, and military.
He is currently a nationally touring musician, singer, and songwriter and has dedicated his music career to supporting U.S. Veterans Active Duty Military, Fire, Police, and First Responders. Through his music and volunteer work, he never lets the nation forget those who are willing to face their “Last Call” in defense of our Country, freedom, and safety.
Thank you to everyone who helped in the planning and preparation of our first annual Law Enforcement Recognition Night:
Sheriff’s Spousal Support Group
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Explorers
Chaplains Mark and Teresa Smith
Spokane County Digital Content Manager Jessica Hines-produced/edited the end of the year recap video
Emcee, KXLY’s Nightside Anchor Aaron Luna