COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office held its second annual awards and commendations ceremony Friday. Awards and Commendations Committee Chairman Lt. Paul Gunter said the event was to recognize those who have gone "above and beyond what is exceptional."
The program is modeled after the American Police Reward Program and Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown reminded his staff that it was his desire to institute this program to offset the impact of "so much negative press. We want to show the public the good deeds and efforts of officers here," Brown said.
Brown went on to say, "There's no price tag on commitment," and assured his 200-plus staff members that he was proud of each and every one of them, adding, "There's no other sheriff's office in the state better than Newton County."
The Purple Heart Award was given to Investigator Dana Maddox for an April 2003 incident when he was assisting a motorist on Interstate 20 and had to jump for his life over a retaining wall. Maddox serious injured his leg and ankle in the incident.
Three Life Saving Awards were presented to deputies:
* Deputy Christopher J. Allen received an award for an Oct. 6, 2010, incident where he was called to a home for assistance with an unconscious man. Allen found the man on the floor in the living room with no heartbeat. He was able to perform CPR until paramedics arrived and took the man for emergency care, saving his life.
* Deputy Priscilla Tyree received an award for a Jan. 20, 2010, incident when a 95-year-old female had lost consciousness. She was able to move the victim to the floor and administered CPR until she could be transported for emergency care, saving her life.
* Deputy Jeremy Vieria received an award for the part he played in saving the life of a Newton High School student on Jan. 27, 2010. Vieria, along with a school nurse, administered CPR to the 17-year-old male until emergency help arrived.
Also, awards were given for the person chosen as Division Leader for four divisions within the NCSO. Plaques were given to each representative, praising them for their "hard work and loyal dedication to the citizens of Newton County. A committee of their peers made the selections. Honorees are: Deputy Brandon Raines of the Criminal Investigation Division; Cpl. Dale Shirley of the Uniform Division; Sgt. Mark Polite of Court Services Division; and Lt. Selena Williams of the Detention Division.
Brown gave each staff member who had served the NCSO for one year a commemoration coin. Those employees are: James H. Bell, Dalleen E. Bradford, Apryle N. Jones, Haley M. Laurenzo, Susan Nolley, James C. Smith, Daryl L. Cameron, Jocquelyn Alexander, Patricia Blue, Lisa Brown, Kelyonta L. Bundrage, Franklin J. Carter, Joshua Hicks, Wesley Jackson, Randy T. Johnston, Benjamin X. Kennedy, Lee C. Malone, Elton E. Mills and Latavia Washington.