Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Employee Recognition Night
We are pleased to share with you the recipients recognized this year during our Annual Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Employee Recognition Night. This event recognizes and honors 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.
Sheriff Knezovich chooses the "Sheriff's Star" Award recipients for their outstanding job performance, dedication, and professionalism.
Due to the pandemic, we could not hold this event last year, and the awards listed below are for 2019 and 2020.
A special thank you to our Emcee Aaron Luna, our tireless volunteers and staff who organized the event, and Kalispel Tribal Casino for their help with hosting our Employee Recognition Night.
The Year in Review Video was made by RIG 9 Analyst Paul Hanson. Great Job, Paul!
Spokane County Sheriff’s YouTube Channel https://youtu.be/kpXSqHc5jwg
We also want to recognize the 38 Retirees (2020/2021) who cumulatively have dedicated 984 years of service with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office while serving the Citizens of Spokane County.
Other Sheriff’s Office Accomplishments in 2020 and 2021
Your Sheriff’s Office hired and retained 34 Deputies and 6 civilian staff members. We are fortunate and grateful to have you in our law enforcement family.
Also, in 2020 and 2021, 35 commissioned staff members and 11 civilian staff members were promoted. Congratulations, and thank you for being willing to advance the leadership within the agency.
OUTSTANDING CITIZEN AWARDS
The Outstanding Citizen Award is presented to a citizen who has rendered invaluable assistance to the Sheriff’s Office. We are honored to present the Outstanding Citizen Award to:
Terry Younger – On August 22, 2020, A Spokane Valley Deputy was in pursuit of a suspect when the driver hit a curb. That driver jumped out of the car and made a run for it. The Deputy caught him, and the two started struggling. Mr. Younger noticed the fighting and immediately ran to help. The Deputy told Mr. Younger the suspect had a knife around his neck, and Mr. Younger ripped off a necklace that held a knife. With Mr. Younger’s help, the Deputy gained control of the suspect and took him into custody. Terry, we are honored to award you with the Outstanding Citizen award.
Brent Lewis – Brent has been a member of the Spokane County SCOPE SIRT response team for 15 years and has volunteered countless hours responding to various critical incidents, helping to provide road closures and scene security. Brent has been instrumental in equipping and maintaining the Spokane County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team armored personnel carriers. These military surplus armored vehicles are crucial for the safety and success of the SWAT Team. These vehicles protect the SWAT Team during high-risk incidents where guns may be involved, and there’s a significant threat to the community and the law enforcement officers involved.
These vehicles are difficult to service and keep in good operating condition, but that didn’t stop Brent. When no one else would, he volunteered to take on the challenge of working on these vehicles. No one wants the APC to break down on the way to a standoff or at a standoff- that's where Brent comes in. Brent knows his way around large vehicles, and with military experience, he’s made himself an enormous asset to the Sheriff's Office and community. He’s spent numerous hours working on these vehicles over the last several years, both on and off duty. The Sheriff's Office would be unable to maintain this irreplaceable asset if it were not for his selfless dedication.
Jessica Bartlett and Lashii Brown – Last November in Spokane Valley, a call came in that a man was on the ground and he wasn’t breathing. When a Deputy arrived, he witnessed Jessica and Lashii performing CPR on the victim. If it weren’t for their quick response and unselfish actions, the victim would have died. The two of them saved this man’s life. Jessica and Lashii, on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, we are proud to have you as citizens in our community.
2020 CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
MRS. JOSEPHINE DUNCAN
Josephine was recently promoted to Regional Training Accreditation Manager. While performing her primary job at an exemplary level and covering the duties of a vacant position, Josephine continuously demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the Sheriff's Office. Josephine takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to staff, vendors, and students; she’s quick to figure out what every person needs and helps them reach their goals.
Josephine is not only committed to providing excellent service, but she is a breath of fresh air in the Sheriff’s Office Training Unit. She understands the high level of professionalism needed to interact with and work alongside instructors and students and is a true showcase of positivity to all her coworkers.
Josephine is a vital member of the Sheriff's Training Unit, continually exemplifying the mission of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. She does exceptional work and embodies everything the Sheriff's Office strives to achieve: honor, loyalty, encouraging training, education, innovation, competence,
commitment & professionalism, service, and public trust. With her selfless, professional work ethic, Josephine has made a profound impact on the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
2020 PLATOON DEPUTY OF THE YEAR
Dayshift 1st Platoon – Retired Deputy Al Rollins
Dayshift 2nd Platoon – Deputy Benjamin Stolz
Nightshift 1st Platoon – Deputy Brent Miller
Nightshift 2nd Platoon – Deputy Louis Acosta
Dayshift 1st Platoon – Detective Jesse Depriest
Dayshift 2nd Platoon – Detective James Hall
Nightshift 1st Platoon – Deputy Michael Sullivan
Nightshift 2nd Platoon – Deputy Stephan Blaakman
Valley Power Shift – Deputy John McQuitty
The Platoon Deputy of The Year Award honors Sheriff’s Patrol Deputies assigned to both the Downtown and Spokane Valley Precincts. 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 have distinguished themselves as a positive influence on their platoons and consistently representing the agency's core values. 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.
INVESTIGATOR OF THE YEAR
CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS INVESTIGATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Detective Nathan Bohanek
Detective Nathan Bohanek is an essential member of the Crimes Against Persons Unit. Detective Bohanek is hard-working, relentless in his drive to bring cases to resolution for the victims and others affected by violent crimes; He is detailed in all aspects of his work and compassionate to all. Detective Bohanek is a leader in a Unit full of leaders. He is a team member willing to take the lead role or assist in every incident assigned to Major Crimes. He has a passion for his work, which is why he is so driven and successful. In this last year alone, he has been called on to investigate two homicides with unknown suspects. Due to his and the Unit’s diligence and investigative skills, the suspects were identified and arrested within days. Detective Bohanek also investigated a robbery that led him to Stevens County, where the suspect confessed to the crimes and was arrested. The types of cases he is asked to investigate are some of the most stressful investigations and require the utmost most dedication. Detective Bohanek has earned the respect of his peers and those who supervise him and is more than deserving of this recognition.
PROPERTY/DRUG CRIMES INVESTIGATOR OF THE YEAR
Detective Rick Johnson
Detective Rick Johnson is well respected by his peer investigators within the law enforcement community. Detective Johnson has taken a proactive approach to his position, conducting hours of research on websites known to be used for prostitution and setting up sting operations on a monthly basis to target potential pimps who may be trafficking the victims. These operations have led to numerous arrests of known criminals and gang members in our area. Detective Johnson also works closely with Human Trafficking advocates to ensure the victims of these crimes are supported after contact with law enforcement. Detective Johnson has an extraordinary work ethic and is dedicated to his position and serving our community. He gets cases resolved and forwarded to the prosecutor's office in a timely manner, and he's constantly conducting online investigations looking for potential criminal trafficking behavior. Even though he's busy conducting proactive investigations, he's never too busy to assist others with their work. He's an asset to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and is making a noticeable impact on the Human Trafficking issues in our area.
MEDAL OF MERIT AWARDS for 2020
Deputy Joel Gorham
Deputy Gorham joined the Regional Behavioral Health Unit at its inception in the fall of 2019. From the beginning, he was dedicated, worked diligently, and expressed passion for those in crisis. Since that time, on at least three notable occasions, Deputy Gorham responded to individuals who had access or were actively seeking a firearm in order to harm themselves or others. Deputy Gorham worked tirelessly to resolve the crises peacefully-- successfully getting the individuals treatment. With his calm demeanor and ability to de-escalate tense situations, Deputy Gorham builds rapport with individuals and often succeeds in getting them to seek treatment voluntarily. Your leadership and efforts in the success of the Behavioral Health Unit makes you an invaluable member of the Sheriff’s Office. It’s an honor to present you with the Medal of Merit Award.
Deputy Tyler Kullman
On December 17, 2020, Deputy Kullman responded to a disabled vehicle that had lost a front tire. It wasn’t long before Kullman learned the driver was a military veteran and was out of work due to COVID. The Veteran had been driving around a fellow disabled Veteran to make money to buy Christmas presents for his family. When neither Veteran had the money to pay the tow bill, Deputy Kullman asked his Sergeant to stay with the two veterans and said he would be right back. He talked to the tow truck driver and explained the financial hardship for both veterans. The tow truck company advised they would only charge half the cost. Without saying a word, Deputy Kullman paid for the tow bill with his own money. He then informed his Sergeant that everything had been taken care of and left the scene to respond to another call. It wasn’t until later that the driver of the vehicle was informed of Deputy Kullman’s generosity. Deputy Kullman, you truly distinguished yourself by this selfless and kind act of service, and it is an honor to present you the Medal of Merit for your actions.
MEDAL OF MERIT AWARDS for 2021
Undersheriff Michael Kittilstved
The Regional Spokane Explosives Disposal Unit (Bomb Squad) members nominated their Bomb Squad Commander, Undersheriff Michael Kittilstved, for his unmatched commitment. Dedicated to ensuring they are the best trained and equipped Bomb Unit in the Northwestern United States, Undersheriff Kittilstved skillfully obtained funds through grants and payments from regional partners we serve through mutual aid. This hard work, dedication, and professionalism, successfully aided the Bomb Squad to become the envy of the Northwest Region. His efforts have given the Bomb Squad an unmatched level of aptitude in keeping our citizens safe. On his days off, Undersheriff Kittilstved can often be found in the bomb shop hangar, independently learning how to use new, complicated equipment for the betterment of the team. He often takes it upon himself to procure the necessary supplies to repair and maintain the equipment. When it comes to the aspects of being a bomb technician, one of our FBI overseers, Special Agent James Elliott of the FBI Seattle office, has deemed Undersheriff Kittilstved a “National asset”. He is also the only Squad member that is on this region’s stabilization (STAB) team. This requires a massive amount of knowledge, training, and acumen to be successful. As a supervisor, he is fair and firm, holding the team to a higher standard. Although the bomb squad is cohesive and highly competent, they feel the bulk of their success lies on the shoulders of Undersheriff Kittilstved and his pursuit of excellence.
Detective Ken Scott
Detective Scott works closely with Gonzaga University Justice for Fraud Victims Project, a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, Gonzaga students, and local Certified Fraud Examiners that complete full forensic accounting investigations needed for large-scale embezzlement and theft cases in Spokane County. Detective Scott has distinguished himself by conducting thorough, innovative, and at times unprecedented Financial Fraud Investigations for our agency. He can always be counted on to thoroughly complete and adequately document these large-scale investigations. Detective Scott has written 56 search warrants within the last year to locate, track and ultimately seize millions in stolen monies taken from local victims of fraud. These financial investigations are extremely time-sensitive and expansive since stolen funds are almost immediately transferred and laundered through other banking institutions and accounts to thwart law enforcement detection. Detective Scott has worked with dozens of victims to identify and recover their stolen funds. He works with Federal Agencies on many of his investigations, as funds are easily transferred off-shore and worldwide. His most recent success entailed several search warrants, tracking stolen funds from a Spokane Valley business through the banking system, ultimately seizing $1,473,770.12 of the stolen funds to be returned to the victim. Other seizures have occurred in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. He can be counted on to do his best to recover stolen property for victims in our community. Detective Scott’s tenacity, professionalism, and hard work exemplifies the type of service the Sheriff’s Office provides to our community.
Forensic Unit Supervisor Larissa R. Miller
Forensic Supervisor Lacey Miller has distinguished herself by demonstrating an exemplary work ethic and promoting the highest of standards in the field of Forensics. Lacey has undertaken numerous major projects within the Forensics Unit over the past few years, most of which were accomplished while lacking a second supervisor. These projects include accreditation, purchase, and outfitting of a new response vehicle and the implementation of new evidence tracking methods. In addition to her supervisory duties, Lacey regularly makes herself available for additional calls and responsibilities. This past year has been particularly busy for the Unit. Even with COVID protocols, staffing shortages, new projects such as LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) development, implementation of new fingerprinting procedures, Digital Evidence Management System research to replace Case-guard, Lacey still completed Latent Print Training to become a fully qualified Latent Print Examiner, while continuing to serve at a high level as a Unit Supervisor. Lacey's professionalism and high standards are an example for all within the Forensic Unit and the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Forensic Unit Lead Specialist Melissa Schaal
Melissa recently introduced the Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) process to the Major Crimes Unit after developing a latent print on vital evidence in a murder case. The need for VMD was realized when our current latent print tools and processes could not provide sufficient ridge detail for a latent print. Using the only means available, Melissa could only determine an inconclusive match between the latent evidence print and a known suspect's print. However, being familiar with the Vacuum Metal Deposition process, Melissa informed the case detective of the VMD process and found a lab in Bellevue that would allow her to use their machine. After negotiating the use of the VMD machine to further develop the latent print she located, she transported the evidence to the Bellevue lab and facilitated the VMD examination. She then brought the freshly-developed VMD latent print back to her lab and completed the subsequent print comparison. Upon examining the VMD-developed latent print, Melissa determined a conclusive match between the evidence print and the murder suspect's known prints. It can’t be stressed enough how critical this evidence is to the case. Detective Bonney, the case lead, stated he is “extremely thankful for Melissa's determination to help solve this murder case; her technical knowledge and her commitment to this case reflect greatly upon herself and her unit.” Without the help of other Forensic staff and Melissa’s determination to use the VMD machine, this evidence would never have been developed to a level that could've matched the evidence print to a murder suspect. It’s truly an honor to present you the Medal of Merit.
LIFESAVING AWARDS – FOR 2020
Deputy Kyle Leavenworth
On January 2nd, at four in the morning, a call came into 911. The caller stated her husband collapsed and was not breathing. While the 911 operator instructed the caller on how to administer CPR, Deputy Leavenworth arrived on scene. He immediately took over and provided CPR until the medics arrived. Ms. Jones wrote to the Sheriff’s Office and said the following, “I was so thankful for you when you arrived. I was so grateful to see you bend down and help me. I wanted to take the time to share my eternal thanks for your support that awful morning. You encouraged me and told me that I did everything right to best help my husband. They shocked him three times to get his heart back into normal rhythm and stable before sending him to Sacred Heart. He remained in the hospital for seven days before being released. He made a full recovery. God placed the right people in our lives to provide the care and support we needed. You were the first one to care for him, and I will always be thankful for you!” It is an honor to present you with the Lifesaving Award.
Deputy Thad Schultz
It was late January last year when the call came in. A man lost in the woods. He’d been out in the cold for three hours. His feet were wet, and he had taken his socks off. The guy was a trail runner and lost the path. He wasn’t dressed for the conditions.
911 successfully triangulated his cell phone signal to an area approximately seven miles north of the Liberty Lake Park trailhead. In the mountains of Liberty Lake Park, the temperature was around 25 degrees. The caller’s cellphone stopped working after he made the initial call. Several patrol Deputies responded and attempted to locate him but quickly discovered that the last GPS coordinates were located deep in the mountains of Liberty Lake. Despite the patrol Deputy's best efforts, they could not get close enough to the last known coordinates using conventional roads and paths. Deputy Thad Schultz was contacted and briefed on the situation. Despite having other obligations scheduled to take him out of the area, he did not hesitate to respond. At 2:30 pm., Deputy Schultz advised he was in the area of the "switchbacks". Recognizing the danger the victim faced, he knew he had to get there before sunset. The temperature was dropping, and hypothermia was a real risk for the runner that could even lead to his death.
Deputy Schultz knew the rugged terrain and acted quickly. He walked into the mountains by himself to find the man, knowing that he did not have time to wait for a partner. He had his issued portable radio and cell phone with him but soon found out he didn’t have a good signal. Putting his safety at risk, he chose to continue the mission. Deputy Schultz located the runner just as the sun was going down. He was cold, wet, and disoriented. Deputy Schultz provided him with his own dry socks, food, and water to help the runner make the trek out of the mountains. He was located and reunited with his family due to Deputy Schultz's selfless bravery, search and rescue expertise, and dedication to the Sheriff's Office mission. Given the location where he was discovered, it is unlikely patrol members would have located the victim. And, considering he was dressed lightly for trail running, the amount of time he was exposed to the extreme cold elements, and being wet, with the sun going down, Deputy Schultz's actions likely resulted in saving his life. It is truly an honor to present you with the Lifesaving Award.
Deputy Troy Knutson
Deputy Troy Knutson responded to a medic call on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley after a caller reported a 22-year-old male was blue and not breathing, with CPR in progress. Deputy Knutson arrived on scene before medics did and observed the male, unconscious on the ground. Deputy Knutson determined that the male had just used heroin, and with that information, he used one dose of NARCAN on the male, with no results. Deputy Knutson administered a second dose of his department issued NARCAN, and soon after, the male began breathing. When Sergeant Streltzoff arrived on scene, the male was waking up and moving around. A Spokane Valley Fire Department Captain said the administration of NARCAN saved the male's life.
Deputy Logan Henry and Detective Joseph Wallace
On July 24, 2020, Deputy Logan Henry and Detective Joseph Wallace responded to a welfare check in the Spokane Valley. A man, who was out of town, called asking for a welfare check on his wife. He could not reach her by phone for over 19 hours, and the victim had a history of self-harm and overdosing. Deputy Henry first found the residence secured, with the wife's car inside the closed/locked garage. They encountered several large, aggressive dogs inside the house, which made going inside pretty dangerous. He received no answer at the door. Henry called the man back and asked him to send someone who knew the dogs over to help secure them so that he would not have to use force if they attacked. When the friend arrived to let them inside, the dogs continued with very aggressive behavior. Knowing they needed to get inside and risking their own safety, they pressed past/through the dogs with caution to find the female on a hallway floor, unresponsive, not breathing and had no pulse. They performed CPR and administered two doses of Narcan while awaiting medics. Several minutes later, just as medics arrived, a pulse was found, and she was taken to a local hospital. If Deputy Henry and Detective Wallace had not responded in a timely manner, the outcome might have been different.
Deputy Tyler Kullman and Sergeant Griffin Criswell
August 27, 2020, at approximately 9:35 pm., Spokane Valley Sergeant Griffin Criswell and Deputy Tyler Kullman were in the area of a medic's call. A female was not breathing from a suspected overdose, and CPR was in progress. When they arrived, the female was being tended to by two citizens. The unconscious female was breathing very shallow and ineffective breaths. Needle marks were observed on her arms, and she was unresponsive. Believing she was in medical distress and her life was in danger due to a possible opioid overdose, Sergeant Criswell and Deputy Kullman provided medical attention. Sergeant Criswell administered one ampoule of Narcan. When she didn’t respond, they gave her a second ampoule of Narcan. Moments later, she began to regain consciousness and sit up. Spokane Valley Fire and AMR personnel arrived and took over her medical care. She agreed to go to the hospital to be evaluated and went to the ambulance. Unfortunately, Deputy Kullman and Sergeant Criswell were informed she refused further medical help a short time later. Regardless, had they not administered the Narcan, the likelihood of the female surviving would have been slim. Thank you both for your commitment.
Deputy Taylor Smith
On September 16, 2020, at approximately 1:35 am., Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Taylor Smith responded to a medical call near W. Jedi Lane and W. Trails Road. The male caller stated a female was unconscious due to a possible overdose, and he started CPR. Deputy Smith arrived and observed the male performing chest compressions. During a quick evaluation, Deputy Smith could not locate a pulse for the female, and she wasn't breathing. Deputy Smith continued chest compressions and cleared the female's airway of matter she vomited. Believing the female overdosed on Heroin, Deputy Smith administered one dose of Narcan and continued chest compressions. Still not finding a pulse, Deputy Smith provided a second dose of Narcan, cleared the female's airway, and continued chest compressions with the caller's help. After approximately five minutes, the female vomited and began to take deep gurgling breaths but remained unresponsive. While clearing her airway, medical personnel arrived and continued to provide life-saving aid. A short time later, the female regained consciousness, sat up and was talking. The female was transported to the hospital for additional treatment and observation. At last report, she was in stable condition, and it appeared she would recover from this near-death experience.
Deputy Phil Pfeifer and K9 Partner Apache
Deputy Rebecca Lederle
Deputy Spenser Rassier
Deputy Josiah Loos
On November 22, 2020, at 10:54 pm., Deputy Josiah Loos, Deputy Spenser Rassier, Deputy Rebecca Lederle, and Deputy Phil Pfeifer, with his K9 partner Apache, attempted to arrest a DV suspect in Spokane Valley. The suspect had locked herself inside her motorhome and refused to come out. They then watched her trash the motorhome. Moments later, she started a fire.
The Deputies began yelling for her to get out, but she refused. With the door still locked, the suspect sat on her bed as the flames grew around her. Fearing for her life, the Deputies broke out the motorhome’s windows to get inside. That’s when the suspect ran into the bathroom and locked the door. When the Deputy’s got into the motorhome, they put out the fire, only to discover the suspect had started a second fire inside the bathroom and again refused to exit.
Deputies knew they had to act; lives were in danger.
Deputy Rassier pulled hard on the bathroom door, and it swung open. The woman still refused to leave. With the fire still burning, Deputies once again made the call to protect the suspect.
Deputy Pfeifer deployed his K9 partner Apache, who made contact with the suspect’s leg and began pulling her out of the bathroom. Apache lost his grip and re-engaged, contacting her on the shoulder area, and she was successfully removed from the bathroom. Due to the quick thinking and selfless actions of all these Deputies and K9 Apache, a life was saved, and no one was seriously injured.
Detective Brandon Wilson
On March 28, 2021, Deputy Wilson was dispatched to a welfare check in the Spokane Valley. The complainant stated a female was having a seizure after being drug out of a vehicle. Moments later, the complainant stated the vehicle drove way out of the parking lot and left the female on the ground. Deputy Bruner arrived on scene and observed Deputy Wilson doing CPR on the female. He ran up and asked Deputy Wilson if he needed relief. Deputy Wilson advised he had administered a dose of Narcan and asked Deputy Bruner to retrieve his supply. While Deputy Wilson continued giving CPR, a second dose of Narcan was administered. The victim still had zero response, and Deputy Wilson continued CPR. Seconds later, AMR arrived on scene. The victim only had a light pulse and was not breathing on her own. AMR quickly administered a third dose of Narcan. After the third dose, she started to wake up and breathe on her own. AMR stated that if Deputy Wilson had not given her CPR and Narcan doses, it was very likely she would have died. Deputy Wilson did an outstanding job and used his training and experience to realize what was needed. He acted quickly with little regard for his own safety, and the victim could get the medical attention she needed.
Deputy Samuel Turner
Deputy Turner is receiving two Life-Saving Awards for incidences occurring in 2020 and 2021. Deputy Turner is a National Registered EMT and is certified through Washington State as an EMT-BASIC. He has also been trained in Combat/Tactical Medicine and is designated medic on the SWAT Team.
On March 8, 2020, Deputy Sam Turner responded to a domestic violence call in Spokane Valley. The victim had been shot and sustained multiple wounds. Once Deputy Turner arrived on scene, he immediately acted to provide the suspect medical treatment. Deputy Turner thoroughly examined the suspect and then used his medic knowledge to give aid and seal the gunshot wounds. By the time the ambulance medics arrived, the suspect was ready to be transported to the hospital. Deputy Turner’s actions saved many critical minutes and ensured the suspect had the best possible chance of survival.
On February 24, 2021, Deputy Turner responded to a call on East Trent. A witness had called 911 stating someone had kicked in the front door and shot a male. Two Deputies were already on scene when Deputy Turner arrived. He retrieved his medic bag and was directed past the living room. Once inside, he located the victim at the bottom of the stairwell in a fetal position. Since the residence had not been cleared of occupants and it was unclear how many suspects were in the home, he instructed the other on scene Deputies to secure the area so he could safely evaluate the victim. The victim had multiple gunshot wounds; two in the chest, two in the arm, two in the thigh, and one in the pelvis. Deputy Turner used his medic training to assess and treat all wounds, including the use of quick clot and a tourniquet. Once the Spokane Valley Fire Department Arrived, Deputy Turner continued to provide aid and even rode with the victim in the ambulance to the hospital. All while providing medical care, Deputy Turner repeatedly questioned the victim about the incident.
UNIT MERIT CITATION
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Teams
Lieutenant (Ret.) Mike Zollars Sergeant Harold Whapeles
Sergeant Justin Palmer Sergeant Randy Watts
Detective Joseph Wallace Sergeant Pat Bloomer
Detective Gavin Pratt Detective Julian Covella
Detective James Hall Detective Brandon Wilson
Detective Derek McNall Deputy Michael Brooks
Deputy Jason Petrini Deputy John McQuitty
Deputy Nathan Booth Deputy Travis West
Deputy Spenser Rassier Deputy Alexx Bullion
Deputy Skye Ortiz Deputy Thomas Walton
Deputy Sam Turner Deputy Michael Sullivan
Deputy Joshua Pratt Deputy Joseph Adams
Deputy David Totman Deputy Chris Young
Deputy Elijah Jones
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Teams (HNT) responded to a Domestic Violence call with a weapon where the suspect reportedly pointed a gun at his wife. The suspect barricaded himself and refused to allow his two kids to leave, which he referred to as leverage. HNT negotiated tirelessly for several hours, allowing the SWAT team to get into position and plan for a hostage rescue. SWAT made entry into the residence and quickly located the suspect, who was hiding behind a bedroom door. Deputy Wallace created a hole into the door the suspect was hiding behind and removed one of the children from the suspect's arms. The suspect lunged for a loaded Semi-Automatic Rifle that was inches away, but Deputy West and Deputy Ortiz reached through the hole in the door and extracted the suspect before he could grab the rifle. Due to the professionalism of both the SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Teams, this situation was resolved without injury or loss of life, which is the goal in every mission of the Sheriff County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Team.
ANNUAL UNIT MERIT AWARD
ANNUAL UNIT MERIT AWARD for 2020 is for TAC Team
Lieutenant (Ret.) Mike Zollars Sergeant (Ret.) Matt Smith Deputy Jose M. Carrillo
Sergeant Rob Satake Sergeant Darin Staley
Detective Tom Keys Deputy David Bruner
Deputy Troy Knutson Deputy Jeff Getchell
Deputy Ben Stolz Deputy Mitchell Othmer
Deputy Chris Gunter Deputy Roman Maier
Deputy John Nave Deputy Andrew Hairston
Deputy Chris Giacomini Deputy Lorenz Mina
Deputy Joseph Reno Deputy Vincent McKenzie
Deputy Byron Zlateff Deputy Elijah Jones
In 2020 the Sheriff’s TAC Team was re-instituted in light of COVID-19 and associated local affairs. With only one day of training and not yet fully equipped, the TAC Teams skills were put to the test. On May 31, 2020, the team received notice they were needed for crowd control at the Spokane County Courthouse. Two lines were formed as a visual boundary for the protesters. However, they eventually rushed through both lines, reaching the TAC Team stationed at the Law Enforcement Memorial. The crowd was within arm’s reach, verbally abusive, and occasionally tossed water bottles and rocks, yet not a single team member took even one step to the rear. Though vastly outnumbered, they remained professional and held the line for hours without fail. Since then, the TAC Team has responded to several protests. The team stepped up to the challenge to create a new unit with very little time. The results were astounding and completed with professionalism and dedication. Your service to Spokane County’s Sheriff’s Office and citizens is exemplary.
ANNUAL UNIT MERIT AWARD for 2020
Crimes Against Person Investigative Unit
Lieutenant Khris I Thompson Lieutenant Andrew Buell
Inspector Kevin Richey Sergeant Andrew Stockman
Sergeant Jeffry Rogers Sergeant Robert Satake
Sergeant Randy Watts Sergeant Jerad Kiehn
Sergeant Brandon Armstrong Sergeant Gregory Lance
Sergeant Michael McNees Detective Nathan Bohanek
Detective Scott Bonney Detective Julian Covella
Detective Michael Drapeau Detective Brad Humphrey
Corporal Daniel Knight Detective Evan Logan
Detective Marc Melville Detective Dean Meyer
Detective Tom Keys Samantha Farris
Vivian McMahon Rachael Griffey
2020 was a challenging year for the Crimes Against Persons Unit due to the implementation of the new I940 legislation that changed the way Officer-Involved Shootings are investigated. The Crimes Against Persons Unit has been the lead or assistant lead investigative unit on five officer-involved shootings incidents. These OIS investigations are in addition to the major crimes, sexual assaults, domestic violence, and others handled by the Unit. The Crimes Against Persons Unit has distinguished themselves, and our agency, by quickly adapting to these new requirements. The members of this Unit persevered and worked as a team to meet the challenges they faced, exceeding expectations. The Crimes Against Persons Unit is a team the Sheriff’s Office and our citizens can be proud of.
ANNUAL UNIT MERIT AWARD for 2021
Spokane County and Spokane Valley Traffic Unit
Sergeant Brett Hubbell Corporal Jeff Welton
Corporal Todd Miller Deputy Jason Petrini
Deputy Chad Ruff Deputy Darin Powers
Deputy Glenn Bakken Deputy Andrew Hairston
Deputy Garrett Spencer
The nine Sheriff’s Traffic Unit members serve both the Unincorporated areas and the City of Spokane Valley. In 2020 the Traffic Unit responded to 37 serious collisions: 22 of them being fatal. So far in 2021, they have responded to 29 serious collisions: 14 of them fatal and 15 serious injuries. The Traffic Unit is regularly requested to assist with Line of Duty Death funeral escorts, and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Deputies were the only Commercial Vehicle Deputies in the state to receive a federal grant for their ongoing enforcement. The Traffic Unit uses a variety of highly technical equipment for collision reconstruction and is frequently requested by Major Crimes to reconstruct scenes. In 2020, they assisted the Major Crimes Unit on 14 occasions, and to date, in 2021, they have assisted on 9 occasions. The high level of technical skills required for this job, combined with the Unit’s determination to bring cases to a resolution, is commendable. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is honored to have you as a part of our agency. Thank you for your dedication.
SHERIFF STAR AWARD
SHERIFF STAR AWARD
Detective Brad Humphrey
On September 20, 2020, Detective Brad Humphrey was off duty, visiting a T-Mobile store. While inside, a male entered and attempted to rob the store at knifepoint. Recognizing the danger for the employees and other customers, Detective Humphrey drew his off-duty firearm and confronted the suspect. Though initially non-compliant, the suspect eventually gave up the knife and complied with Detective Humphrey. Thanks to your bravery and professionalism, the plans to rob the store were thwarted, and all citizens remained safe. It is truly an honor to award you the Sheriff Star Award.
SHERIFF STAR AWARD
Regional Intelligence Group Supervisor
Analyst Supervisor Mark Voigtlaender spent the last year developing and enhancing the Sheriff’s Office Intelligence and intelligence Led Policing capabilities of RIG 9 and the Sheriff’s Office. Because of Mark’s exceptional effort, dedication, and subject expertise, the Sheriff’s Office is the regional leader in gathering, analyzing, and disseminating human and signal intelligence. Mark was particularly effective during the civil unrest of 2020, providing a clear vision of the intelligence operation and delivering that product in a short period of time. Mark leads the intelligence operations of the Sheriff’s Office with a strong vision of the future and a dedication to those he works with. In the last several years, Mark’s tireless efforts exemplify the Sheriff’s Office‘s commitment to excellence and innovation.
SHERIFF STAR AWARD
Deputy Christopher Nogle
Deputy Riley Sullivan
Deputy Mark Benner
Deputy Christopher Giacomini
On August 16, 2021, Deputies Benner, Giacomini, R. Sullivan, and Nogle responded to a fire call where a structure fire quickly spread and became an out of control wildfire. This occurred in a developed, rural part of the county with many homes and heavily treed. Recognizing the danger, they immediately began evacuating residents, and when fire crews arrived, quickly pointed out the residences in immediate peril. After evacuating the residence, you assisted in pulling hoses and fighting the fire yourselves. Without your quick actions, homes would have surely been lost. You placed the safety of citizens above your own, and as a result, there were no injuries or any homes lost. It is truly an honor to have you as part of this law enforcement family.
Year In Review Video