Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell announced the 2012 officers and civilian employee of the year at a luncheon at Portofino's Restaurant in Charlotte Harbor.
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was District-4 Deputy First Class William Miller; Corrections Officer of the Year, CDFC Garland Collins; and Civilian Employee of the Year, Communications Administrator Melanie Bailey.
Miller helpde solve several cases last year including nighttime business burglaries and daytime residential thefts. "DFC Miller is in touch with the community and is able to get tasks accomplished quickly," Prummel said. "He does this a lot of the time while on his bike patrol, which includes the Parkside area of Port Charlotte."
From left: DFC William Miller, Sheriff Bill Prummell, Melanie Bailey and CDFC Garland Collins.
Collins was credited with self-initiative, knowledge of inmate behavior and rapport with inmates, which resulted in multiple contraband busts ranging from tobacco and tattooing paraphernalia to cocaine and homemade weapons.
"Many of these finds have resulted in additional criminal charges as well as in-house disciplinary sanctions," Prummel said. "He has prevented the introduction of contraband into the jail thus contributing to the safety of staff and inmates."
Bailey was covering a position for a shift supervisor and answered a 911 call with a frantic caller reporting a baby drowning. The caller was not clear on the phone as he spoke with an accent. Bailey determine this was occurring in North Port on a street off Cranberry Boulevard and transferred the call to Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and remained on the phone, passing information to their 911 operator.
"After hanging up, Melanie did not feel comfortable with the call and her instincts were telling her something did not sound right," Prummel said. "She had another operator call North Port Police to give them a heads up regarding this call and started searching for the street on Google and found the correct street and spelling."
Bailey called SCSO back and found it had dispatched units to a street in the opposite direction of the drowning. Sarasota rerouted its ambulance to the correct location; the child was picked up and taken to a hospital and survived.
' If it was not for Melanie's instincts and gut feeling this child may not have survived," Prummel said.