JACKSONVILLE, FL (February 16, 2018) - Sheriff Mike Williams hosted the 2018 Annual Meritorious Awards Ceremony Thursday, February 15, 2018 in the Police Memorial Building's Assembly Hall. This annual ceremony honors employees from each of the six categories who were recognized throughout the previous year.
The Merit Board, which is made up of the agency's Chiefs, selects the honorees based on their previous recognition as well as their continued contributions since they were first recognized.
At the annual ceremony Sheriff Williams said, "These individuals have set the bar for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and in the spirit of the Olympics I'm going to refer to them as OUR 'gold medal' recipients. And it is only fitting that today I will be presenting them each with JSO's version of a gold medal."
He went on to say, "This ceremony stands for everything our employees believe in and strive for each day."
Also at the annual ceremony, the Sheriff presented his third "Citizen of the Year" award as Sheriff of Duval County. His selection for the 2018 "Citizen of the Year" is Bland Cologne, owner and president of First Coast Security.
Those JSO employees recognized at Thursday's ceremony are:
"Police Officer of the Year" Honorees - Detective Margaret M. Rhatigan and Detective Glenn L. Warkentien
Investigations Division / Cold Case
Sponsored by: Nimnicht Chevrolet
Detectives Margo Rhatigan and Glenn Warkentien of JSO's Cold Case Team earned the title as JSO's "Police Officer of the Year" honorees for their efforts that led to arrests in two high profile investigations: the 1998 abduction of newborn, Kamiyah Mobley and the murder of Freddie Farah in 1974.
"Corrections Officer of the Year" - Corrections Officer Charles Carter
Jails Division / Pre-Trial Detention Facility
Sponsored by: JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
Carter was recognized as JSO's "Corrections Officer of the Year" for his direct role in several investigations that led to multiple felony arrests on both incarcerated inmates and members of the public who had been involved in the crimes.
"Civilian Employee of the Year" - Account Technician Elizabeth Verwey
Homeland Security Division / Forfeiture & Warehouse
Sponsored by: Alhambra Theatre & Dining
Verwey was named JSO's "Civilian Employee of the Year", but was unable to attend the February 15th ceremony. She was selected for this honor for her overall work performance and several instances of exemplary service and innovation.
"Reserve Officer of the Year" - Reserve Sergeant Don J. Butler
Special Events Division / Police Reserves Section
Sponsored by: G4S Secure Solutions
Butler was recognized for his commitment to making Jacksonville a safer place to live through his work in JSO's Reserve Section and by being an active participant in Sheriff's Watch. In 2017, he volunteered nearly 2,600 hours as a Reserve Sergeant working in various areas of the agency. He has been instrumental in helping in shutting down 14 drug and/or prostitution houses in the Arlington area.
"Police Supervisor of the Year" - Police Sergeant Jay L. Taylor, Jr.
Investigations Division / Missing Persons
Sponsored by: Stein Mart, Inc.
Taylor earned the title of JSO's "Police Supervisor of the Year" for his leadership role during the successful recovery of several missing individuals. At Thursday's ceremony, Sheriff Williams spoke about two investigations, both "interference with custody" cases that Jay simultaneously supervised in early June 2017.
"Civilian Supervisor of the Year" - Manager of Personnel Services Dustin Pringle
Human Resources Division / Time & Attendance
Sponsored by: First Coast Security
Pringle was honored for his efforts tracking employee work hours and costs in October 2016 when Northeast Florida was in a State of Emergency during Hurricane Matthew.
"Citizen of the Year" - Bland Cologne
Owner and President, First Coast Security
Cologne was recognized for his support of military and law enforcement personnel in the community. Additionally, the Sheriff highlighted Cologne's support for First Coast Crime Stoppers and several non-profits in the community.
"There are no limitations to the support that he provides to this community. While he might not work here at JSO, he does live up to our mission statement of serving and protecting in partnership with our community," said Sheriff Williams.
Also, at the Annual Meritorious Awards Ceremony, Sheriff Williams recognized the sponsors who support JSO's programs each year.
Photo Caption: From left to right: Police Sergeant Jay Taylor, Jr.; Corrections Officer Charles Carter; Reserve Sergeant Don Butler; Manager of Personnel Services Dustin Pringle; Business Owner Bland Cologne; Detective Glenn Warkentien and Detective Margo Rhatigan
- Alhambra Theatre & Dining (unable to attend)
- Ameris Bank (unable to attend)
- First Coast Security
- Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5-30 (unable to attend)
- G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.
- Genesis Financial Partners
- Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront (unable to attend)
- JM Family Enterprises, Inc.
- The Justice Coalition
- Niminicht Chevrolet
- McDonald's Jacksonville Co-Op (unable to attend)
- Publix Super Markets
- Stein Mart, Inc.