CONROE – The annual Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Awards ceremony was held on Friday, with 30 people receiving recognition for their efforts to improve the agency and the community.
Sheriff Tommy Gage said those recognized go “above and beyond” in their jobs.
“Some folks never quit when they leave here – they take things home with them and bring them back the next morning and continue to do that job,” Sheriff Gage said.
“Some folks here ask for things at Christmas that will help them do their job, things the county can’t afford to buy,” he said. “These are the kind of folks we have at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.”
Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel announced the following awards:
The Sheriff’s Award was presented to members of the MCSO who “distinguished themselves by an outstanding achievement, act or service within the normal scope of their duties.”
In late 2008 county law enforcement agencies were preparing to transition to the new county radio system, which required preparing the new radios, removing old radios from vehicles, and installing the new ones. McDaniel said a “dedicated group of volunteer employees” spent countless hours installing the radios, which involved several hundred patrol cars and saved thousands of dollars, all of which eased the transition to the new system.
McDaniel said their willingness to assist in the effort and their dedication to improving the effectiveness of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were a testament to their work ethic.
Those honored for their work on the new county radio system were:
Lt. Andy Eason
Cpl. Ed West
Cpl. Lee Smith
Deputy Kevin Pickerel
Deputy Kevin Ray
Deputy Jeremy House
Deputy Richard Meredith
Deputy Jack Armstrong
Deputy Justin Hamilton
Deputy Robert Layman
Deputy Jeffrey Hermann
Deputy Phillip Vines
The Sheriff’s Award was also presented to Cpl. Shane Albritton.
McDaniel said during Albritton’s tenure at the MCSO Training Academy, he developed a comprehensive training program for intermediate crisis intervention training. The mandated TCLEOSE class always been taught in a classroom setting, McDaniel said, but Albritton developed a workbook course which can now be completed outside of the classroom and followed by a test.
Det. Tommy Duroy and Crime Scene Investigator Cele Archer also received the Sheriff’s Award, for their efforts toward the development of a state-of-the-art crime scene reconstruction room, which benefits investigators, prosecutors and juries by providing an accurate recreation of a scene.
Mary Lambright, with the Montgomery County IT Department, received the Sheriff’s Award because of her work on MCSO’s computers and software applications.
Lt. David Park received the Sheriff’s Award for his work on the county’s new radio system. Park provided “additional support in the development and implementation” of the system. He was also instrumental in the inventory, testing, training and installation for the MCSO and other agencies involved and assisted in the county’s rebanding agreement.
Lt. David Moore received the Sheriff’s Award for solving the problem when the impound lot was to be reduced in size due to construction. Moore found a new location behind the jail, had a building torn down and went to commissioners for assistance with clearing the land, creating a new impound lot at little or no cost to the MCSO.
The MCSO Life Saving Award is presented to those whose “disregard of personal safety, prompt and alert action results in the saving of another human life.”
Cpl. David Miller received the award for his actions on Sept. 10, when he responded to a call involving a three-year-old child whose face was severely mauled by a Pit Bull and who the paramedic in charge said had life threatening injuries. Miller “assisted EMS personnel on-scene and volunteered to drive the ambulance to the hospital so medics could better care for the child. The paramedic in charge told Miller’s supervisors that “without his efforts the child might not have survived.”
Cpl. Aaron Sumrall and Deputy Kevin Williams also received the Life Saving Award for their assistance in the rescue of a disabled man from partially collapsed garage during Hurricane Ike. A tree had fallen on the house, forcing the family into the garage. A second tree fell on the garage and everyone was able to escape except for the disabled man. Sumrall and Williams assisted in extricating the trapped man just before another tree fell on the garage and destroyed it.
The Combat Cross and Award Bar, which recognizes “heroism with eminent personal hazard of life in combat with an armed adversary,” was presented to Lt. Kenneth Culbreath, leader of MCSO SWAT.
On Oct. 17, 2008, Culbreath was at a South County restaurant that a confidential source said would be robbed, when he saw two men approach the manager outside of the building. One of the men was armed. Lt. Culbreath exited the building, identified himself as an officer and ordered the suspects to surrender. When the armed suspect appeared to raise his weapon, Lt. Culbreath discharged his weapon and neutralized the threat.
Deputy Andrew Swank received the Combat Cross and Award Bar for his actions during armed encounter with a mentally ill suspect on Jan. 15, when he and other officers responded to an apartment complex in The Woodlands where a knife wielding suspect opened and walked through a door in a narrow hallway, going toward another deputy. Deputy Swank discharged his weapon to stop the extreme threat.
Lt. Philip cash, Investigator Don Likens and Deputy Mike Plata received the Combat Cross and Award Bar for their actions during an armed encounter with a wanted felon on Oct. 13, 2008.
They attempted to located and capture a convicted felon, who was also wanted, and believed to be carrying narcotics. During rolling surveillance, the decision was made to arrest the suspect while stopped at an intersection. The team of officers approached the suspect, ordering him and the occupants to get out of the vehicle. The driver produced a handgun and began to shoot at officers approaching on foot. These officers, along with other members of the team exchanged gunfire with the suspects until the threat was stopped.
The final award was presented for “a highly credible accomplishment, whose meritorious conduct singularly deserves attention, and has brought honor and recognition to the employee, the Sheriff’s Office and the law enforcement profession, as result of training, devotion to duty or service to the public.
Lt. Damon Hall, Crime Lab supervisor, initiated several projects to improve the division’s overall effectiveness, including implementing a digital photography system, evidence tracking system and the personal design and building of a more secure property room.
Capt. Peggy Frankhauser was also recognized for overseeing the implementation of the county’s new public safety radio system, and her assistance in the transition from the old system to the new one, while maintaining the cooperation between the vendor, agencies, counties and county departments.
Sheriff Gage ended the ceremony saying, “folks like this are why I’m proud to be the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Texas.”
(Click photos to enlarge)