News


FDLE Members recognized for exceptional performance

 
For Immediate Release
May 20, 2019
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen honored FDLE’s top performers today at the department’s Annual Awards Ceremony.  Members were recognized for their outstanding performances during 2018.  In total, more than 200 members were nominated.
 
“It is always a pleasure to look back on the accomplishments of our FDLE members, and last year was no exception,” said Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “Their innovation and hard work continues to keep Floridians and visitors safe and exemplifies our fundamental values of service, integrity, respect and quality.”
 
Award winners are as follows:
 
Distinguished Team of the Year – Cyber High Tech Team – FDLE Headquarters
  • Sherry Aldinger
  • Will Bullough
  • Brett Cureton
  • David Decker
  • Joe Prato
  • Nicholas Simoncini
  • Christopher Skeen
  • Samuel Vela
  • Frank Zapata
  • Stephen Busey
  • Kyle Kelly
 
This award recognizes a team that has demonstrated superior performance or accomplished a significant achievement. Members of the Cyber High Tech Crimes Unit provide expertise to FDLE Regions, local law enforcement agencies and other government agencies with technology related issues to combat the rising threat of cyber and technology facilitated crimes. In 2018, this team pushed forward in statewide innovations, took on additional assignments, managed more wiretaps than previous years and coordinated and facilitated arguably the largest Online Crimes Against Children, CART and Offender Registry state conference in the US. 
 
Commissioner’s Award Winner - Jennifer Miller, Senior Management Analyst Supervisor, FDLE Headquarters
The recipient of this award is chosen by the Commissioner and gives special recognition to an “unsung” hero whose performance is outstanding yet low profile within the Department. This award is established for those who provide outstanding performance from “the trenches.”  In February 2018, after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), FDLE was tasked with supporting the newly created MSD Commission. Jennifer quickly became known as the “member” behind the scenes as she worked tirelessly to coordinate and handle all logistics not only for FDLE, but for all of the commission members as well. In addition, Jennifer was instrumental in FDLE’s response efforts during Hurricane Michael, which struck Florida in October 2018. Both of these missions were successful because of Jennifer’s leadership. 
 
Distinguished Member of the Year – Deborah McDonald, Research and Training Specialist, Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center
This award is given to a member who demonstrates superior performance or who accomplishes a significant achievement. Deborah McDonald has been a valued FDLE member for over 30 years and has been best described as the consummate professional who can always be relied on for quality assistance with any task or project. During Hurricane Michael, Ms. McDonald was an integral part of the Tampa Regional Law Enforcement Coordination Team by preparing four FDLE deployment teams to Bay County to assist in recovery efforts. This past year, she coordinated several events to include the annual Torch Run and Paint your Heart out Tampa and the Tampa regional FDLE 50th Anniversary festivities, which were a huge success. In addition, she regularly mentors young children within the Tampa Bay community.
 
Forensic Scientist of the Year – Jennifer Clark, Crime Laboratory Analyst, Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center
This award is given to a laboratory member who advances forensic science by implementing new or improved technology, methods development or professional expertise. In late 2017 and early 2018, a series of murders struck the Seminole Heights Community of Tampa.  A serial killer was brutally hunting and shooting random victims and the city was in a state of fear.  With public safety at hand and as a critical mission of FDLE, Clark quickly jumped into action. Her hard work culminated in the identification of cartridge cases from all four murders to a suspected firearm late one night in the laboratory, thus ending a city’s panic and most certainly more victims. 
 
Distinguished Support Member of the Year – Maggie Kleindienst, Senior Crime Intelligence Analyst II, Jacksonville Regional Operations Center
This award goes to a member who has demonstrated consistent, superior results with accuracy, timeliness, enthusiasm, dedication, pride and initiative. In 2018, Kleindienst completed in excess of 60 background investigations for prospective agency hires, DMS employment applicants and judicial appointees, all while continuing to maintain her full-time analytical responsibilities.  She also assisted with the management and maintenance of the schedule of agents assigned to the detail ensuring full coverage of the Governor and First Family. She provides incredibly organized and detail oriented case summaries and completed incredibly daunting tasks with accuracy, timeliness, enthusiasm and grace and she has demonstrated an uncanny ability to effectively triage analytical requests.
 
Excellence in Leadership – Jason Cook, Special Agent Supervisor, Orlando Regional Operations Center 
This award recognizes a member who exemplifies excellence in leadership by paving the way for other members to shine. Special Agent Supervisor Cook became the supervisor of the OROC Cybercrime Task Force in 2015 and elevated what was already an elite task force; comprised of the very best Central Florida law enforcement has to offer. In the past year, the Task Force opened 58 major cases, executed or provided expertise on 70 search warrants and assisted in 3 regional traveler operations; all resulting in 107 arrests during 2018. The success of this group is a testament to Cook’s leadership of an outstanding team of dedicated investigators. 
 
Capitol Police Officer of the Year – Joseph Wyland, Officer, Capitol Police
Officer Wyland assumed the duties of an “acting” sergeant due to his professionalism, good work ethic and positive job performance. This assignment lasted for the next five plus months, including the duration of the legislative session. Officer Wyland rose to the challenge and not only succeeded, but impressed his fellow members and supervisors as he kept the balance of leading his peers and performing his duties. He embodied the qualities that every good sergeant should have and proved his dedication to this agency. His performance went above and beyond his normal call of duty.
 
Innovation of the Year – Computerized Criminal History Team, FDLE Headquarters
  • Abdullah Alman;
  • David Doyle;
  • Kristen Grosh;
  • Lee Herring;
  • Nazarae Holcombe;
  • Heather Ivey;
  • Kristin Lambert;
  • Zach Latham;
  • Jadena Martin;
  • Vamshi Pitta;
  • Barbara Rehwinkle;
  • Amanda Taylor; and
  • Ebony Tisby.
 
This recognition is awarded to a member or group who successfully implements a cutting-edge and creative service, program or product that provides new benefits to FDLE, the criminal justice community or the public. The Computerized Criminal History, or CCH, modernization project managed the replacement of the criminal history repository that was in use for more than 45 years. In 2018, the team devoted system development, data migration and testing to accomplish the successful change. Accomplishing implementation of this magnitude required the team to work cooperatively on individual tasks as well as tasks with other stakeholders with a high level of communication, flexibility and dedication.
 
Contribution to Criminal Justice – Genetic Genealogy Team, Orlando Regional Operations Center 
 
  • Lori Napolitano
  • David Coffman
  • Debbie Abney
  • Laura Wenz
  • Corey Crumbley
  • Ashley Garner
  • Alphonso Williams
  • Terrence Brinson
  • Mike Moreschi
  • Chris Carney
  • Leigh Clark
  • Danny Banks
 
This award is presented to a member or team that has made a single significant contribution or a series of contributions in support of the goals of the criminal justice community. FDLE‘s Genetic Genealogy Initiative is the combination of genealogy, analytical, forensics and investigative services.  By the end of 2018, this continuing program included 19 cases across Florida.  Two more were resolved in early 2019.  The statewide FDLE Genetic Genealogy Program will bring answers to the victims, or family members of the victims, of some of the most heinous crimes committed on cases that have been dormant due to the lack of leads.  Most importantly, Florida’s citizens and visitors will be safer as violent offenders who have eluded law enforcement are identified and prosecuted.
 
Special Agent of the Year – Jennifer Wolf, Special Agent, Tallahassee Regional Operations Center
This award recognizes commendable investigative or intelligence activity by a sworn member. The Live Oak Field Office serves rural North Florida and is heavily relied upon by the law enforcement agencies for assistance with economic crime, FDLE/Department of Corrections MOU and homicides. Special Agent Wolf was the case agent on a total of 10 major cases during 2018, assisted on 3 other major cases, authored 147 Investigative Reports and made a total of ten arrests. Her multidimensional investigative expertise has provided significant contributions/outcomes to several cases during the past year.
 
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Jessica Cary, Jeremy Burns or Angela Starke
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001