March 1, 2017

Archives for May 2015

Sheriff’s Office Issues Awards to Employees and Citizens for Significant Actions and Contributions

NEWS RELEASE 05/15/2015 3:40:32 PM
WHATCOM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
(360) 676-6650 (360) 384-5360 Recorded Press Line (360) 676-6707 ext. 56397
Bill Elfo, Sheriff

The month of May marks National Police Week and National Corrections Officer and Employees’ Week.

On May 8th, Deputy James Chatfield was honored at the Washington State Police Memorial in Olympia. Deputy Chatfield died on July 29, 1921 after being shot by suspected smugglers near Blaine. His death had been lost to the institutional memory of the Sheriff’s Office and was only discovered in 2013 through the work of a historian. Deputy Chatfield’s two great-grandsons attended the ceremony. Deputy Chatfield joins Deputy Matt Herzog, who was killed in the line of duty on September 13, 2001, in being recognized on the memorial.

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Washington State and National Memorials

The Sheriff’s Office held its Awards Recognition Ceremony on May 12th and also honored Sergeant Larry Flynn who will retire at the end of the month with 35 years of service. Sheriff Elfo also presented a proclamation to honor Police and Corrections Weeks to the County Council on May 12th.

Sheriff’s Office Awards Issued:

Unit Citation
The Sheriff’s Unit Citation is awarded by the Sheriff to an entire unit whose members perform their assigned duties in an unusually effective manner.

The Sheriff’s Office Crisis Response Unit is especially trained to defuse volatile situations involving those in mental health crisis. Members of the Team are recruited from both the Bureau of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Corrections. During 2014, the Team successfully resolved several situations including persuading a suicidal man not to jump from an I-5 overpass on to the Freeway; persuading a suicidal and possibly homicidal man who had called 9-1-1 to request that a deputy to respond so he could kill the deputy or the deputy could kill him- in this case, the suspect had armed himself with a hammer and a large knife and was standing in the middle of the roadway; and persuaded a mother to surrender after she had barricaded herself in a home with her son who attempted to kill deputies.

Crisis Response Team Members:
Sergeant Beth Larson
Sergeant Kevin Mede
Deputy Chris Freeman
Deputy Pete Stevenson
Deputy Lonnie Baumann
Deputy Steve Roff
Deputy Randy Winter
Deputy Julie Baker

Sheriff’s Lifesaving Award
The Lifesaving Award is awarded by the Sheriff to members who personally save a life.

Deputy Joe Anders

Deputy Joe Anders was monitoring Fire Dispatch during April 2013, and heard medics call being dispatched to Kelly Road. The only information available was that a woman called 911 hysterically crying, that her husband had collapsed, and she was doing CPR on him. Deputy Anders was not dispatched to the call but decided to respond. Deputy Anders arrived to find the wife improperly attempting CPR. Deputy Anders took over and properly administered CPR until medics arrived. The man, Francisco Rodriguez, was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Deputy Anders drove Jessica Rodriguez to the hospital to be by her husband’s side. Francisco made a full recovery. If it weren’t for Deputy Anders’ willingness to go out of his way to respond to a fire call and help a stranger, this young husband and father would have died from a previously undiagnosed arrhythmia problem and the resulting heart

Deputy Chad Heinrich

On January 29, 2015, Deputy Heinrich was working his assigned patrol area. He overheard a Fire District being dispatched to a capsized vessel in the Nooksack River near Nugent’s Corner. It was reported that two boaters were in the water and unaccounted for. Deputy Heinrich responded to the boat launch. He observed that the Fire Department was still conducting their pre-launch checks and believed that time was of the essence. Deputy Heinrich observed a citizen, Patrick Mills, pulling his boat from the river and he asked Mr. Mills if he could pilot his boat with Deputy Heinrich aboard to try and locate and rescue the victims. The victim’s core body temperature had dropped significantly and having lost control of voluntary muscle movement, it is very plausible that he could have slipped off the snag and drown in the river at any moment. Deputy Heinrich’s quick thinking and utilization of unorthodox resources; a private citizen’s boat, prevented delay which likely saved the victim’s life.

Corrections Personnel:

On January 13, 2015 an inmate in the Whatcom County Jail attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself with a bed sheet. Deputy Nick Ellis quickly discovered the attempted suicide and summoned assistance. Deputy David Kimball lifted the suicidal man to relieve pressure on his neck and later helped remove the noose from the inmate’s neck. Deputy Chris Freeman, assisted by inmates, helped untie the knot that was secured to a rail. Deputy James Hayes helped lower the inmate to the floor while maintaining control of his cervical spine to prevent injuries. While later guarding the inmate at the hospital, Deputy Hayes convinced him to accept mental health assistance as an alternative to suicide. These deputies’ quick and competent actions prevented the suspect’s death.

Deputy Nick Ellis
Deputy David Kimball
Deputy James Hayes
Deputy Chris Freeman

Bureau Chief’s Commendation Certificate (for actions taken during the January 13, 2015 incident)
The Bureau Chief’s Commendation Certificate is awarded by Bureau Chiefs to those members who, through their own efforts, perform their jobs in a high quality and professional manner.

Deputy Jason Waite
Deputy Landon Marshall
Nurse Abby Aubert
Nurse Brady Hillman

Meritorious Service Award:
The Meritorious Service Award is awarded by the Sheriff to members who whose actions are well in excess of the performance of their duties and have a significant, positive impact in the lives of members of the public.

On November 16, 2014 deputies were summoned to a residence in rural Whatcom County where a convicted and wanted felon was intimidating neighbors by firing a weapon near the property line. When deputies arrived, the suspect pointed the weapon at them and retreated into a building and barricaded himself inside. During the course of this incident, the suspect strategically staged firearms at multiple points in the home. The suspect later opened fire and shot at the deputies multiple times resulting in one deputy being shot in the face. The suspect refused to surrender. Following a volley of shots fired at deputies, the deputies returned fire killing the suspect. Throughout this incident, the deputies relied on their training and deployed good tactics and courage to protect neighbors and each other.

Deputy Brent Wagenaar
Deputy DJ Osborn
Ferndale Officer Justin Pike
Deputy Courtney Polinder
Deputy Damon Bruland
Deputy Jason Nyhus
Deputy Brian Oswalt
Deputy Jason Gum
Deputy Jim Perez
Deputy Rodger Funk
Sergeant Kevin Moyes
Lieutenant Scott Rossmiller

Distinguished Service Cross
The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded by the Sheriff to members who distinguish themselves by demonstrating exceptional bravery despite a known or unknown imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death.

Deputy Bill Roosma
Deputy Magnus Gervol
Deputy Tony Paz
Deputy Todd Damon
Deputy James Triplett
Deputy Austin Streubel
Deputy Erik Francis
Deputy Jarren Van Loo
Deputy Ryan Rathbun
Deputy Mark Jilk

Bureau Chief’s Commendation Certificate

The Bureau Chief’s Commendation Certificate is awarded by Bureau Chiefs to those members who, through their own efforts, perform their jobs in a high quality and professional manner.

On Christmas Eve 2014, Deputy Vandermay and Kimball discovered and interrupted a suicide by hanging in which an inmate had attempted to hang himself with his clothing. The deputies rescued the inmate before he was seriously harmed.

Deputy David Kimball
Deputy Ben Vandermay

Deputy Reis was recognized for taking the initiative to implement strategies to improve the environment and the jail work center to include organizing the painting of the cell areas; improving security procedures and morale.

Deputy Mark Reis

Deputy Turner was recognized for his efforts to improve order, security and safety by taking the initiative and using his talents to build a rapport with inmates; hold them accountable for institutional misbehavior and reduce issues with inmate rule and increase offender accountability.

Deputy Rich Turner

The Distinguished Citizenship Award Patrick Mills

The Distinguished Citizenship Award is s awarded by the Sheriff to any citizen who provides significant assistance to a Sheriff’s Office member or supports Sheriff’s Office missions in a significant way
On January 29, 2015 Deputy Heinrich recognized an urgent need to rescue a man who was clinging on to life in the Nooksack River. Patrick Mills agreed to use his private vessel and pilot Deputy Heinrich to the drowning man and help effectuate a successful rescue.

On January 13, 2015 two inmates in the Whatcom County Jail assisted deputies with rescuing a fellow inmate who had attempted to hang himself with a bed sheet. The inmates specifically assisted the deputies with loosening the knot securing the bed sheet to a rail.

The Distinguished Citizenship Award is s awarded by the Sheriff to any citizen who provides significant assistance to a Sheriff’s Office member or supports Sheriff’s Office missions in a significant way
The inmates did not attend the ceremony and their names are withheld to protect their privacy.