FDLE members recognized for exceptional performance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – FDLE members from throughout Florida were honored in Tallahassee for their outstanding performances during 2015. 
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, congratulated the award winners for key accomplishments, money saving ideas and productivity. 
“Each year, we take time to recognize the exceptional performance of our hard working men and women,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.  “These award winners represent the best of FDLE.  They are true leaders whose contributions will shape FDLE’s future.” 
Award winners are as follows:
Commissioner’s Award Winner – Heather Pence, FDLE Tallahassee, Office of External Affairs
In 2015, Senior Management Analyst Pence managed FDLE’s Annual Awards Program, and FDLE’s portion of the Prudential-Davis Awards and Special Olympics Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run.  Under her guidance, Torch Run participation increased by more than 30 Tallahassee FDLE members and $2,500 in donations to Special Olympics.  Ms. Pence also manages FDLE’s Performance Accountability Management System and Long-Range Program Plan as well as serving as a liaison to the Governor and Cabinet.
Special Agent of the Year – Travis Lawson, FDLE Panama City Field Office, special agent
Special Agent Lawson is assigned to FDLE’s Marianna sub-field office working with law enforcement in Jackson, Washington, Holmes and Calhoun counties. The law enforcement agencies in these counties consistently rely on Agent Lawson for his professional and knowledgeable investigative abilities.  In 2015, Agent
Lawson assisted local law enforcement with several homicide cases, worked in-custody death investigations for law enforcement and the Department of Corrections, worked officer involved shootings and other complex investigations including internet crimes against children.  
Forensic Scientist of the Year – Linzee Willette, FDLE Orlando crime lab analyst
Crime Lab Analyst Willette is a top producer in the firearm section consistently performing at 142 percent above the processing standard while instructing new members of the section. In 2015, she also played a key role in the adaption of a new nationwide bullet database and is participating in the development of a new database to be used by law enforcement internationally. 
Capitol Police Officer of the Year – James Horton, Florida Capitol Police
Corporal Horton has been with Capitol Police for nine years and currently serves as the field training officer for newly hired Capitol Police officers. Even after training, he mentors younger officers.  In addition to his training role, Cpl. Horton served as the acting squad supervisor during a four-month period.  
Distinguished Member of the Year – Bobbie Baggett, FDLE Tallahassee, Legislative Affairs
During the 2015 legislative session, Senior Management Analyst Baggett coordinated almost 200 bills and analyzed more than 160.  Ms. Baggett also manages FDLE’s policies, procedures and special projects such as the Continuity of Operations Plan.  Her ability to manage various assignments in an effective and efficient manner is impressive and she always provides exceptional service. 
Distinguished Support Member of the Year – Emma Santos-Rodriguez, FDLE Orlando, crime intelligence technician
Assigned to Orlando’s Public Integrity Squad, Ms. Santos-Rodriguez developed an Adobe E-book for each FDLE case being sent to state attorneys and other law enforcement agencies.  In 2015, the system saved more than $4,000 in the Orlando region by eliminating the need to create volumes of investigative packages and binders.  With the assistance of Ms. Santos-Rodriguez, several FDLE regions are now using the program.
Excellence in Leadership – Troy Berry, FDLE Tallahassee, data processing manager
Manager Berry’s network administration section is responsible for ensuring that some of FDLE’s most critical IT systems run efficiently and at the highest levels of availability.  Troy is accessible 24/7 to members of his team and other FDLE members.  Troy works weekends and holidays to fix network issues, keeping the system operating optimally.  
Distinguished Team of the Year – Legislative Affairs Team:
Bobbie Baggett
Lyn Jones
Rachel Truxell
Becky Lackey
Erica Wolaver
Cynthia Barr
Fern Rosenwasser
John Booth
Vickie Koenig
FDLE’s legislative affairs team tracked almost 200 pieces of legislation and analyzed more than 160 bills during the 2015 legislative session. 
Innovation of the Year – QIAcube Team:
Elyssa Trautmann
Caroline Maimone
Jared Baum
Ingrid Nielsen
Charlene Forrester
Zoe Joseph
Melissa Suddeth
The QIAcube Team developed a more efficient strategy for processing sexual assault evidence, reducing average turnaround times to approximately 60 days on sexual assault kits in FDLE’s Tampa laboratory.    Historically, sexual assault evidence required several hours of hands-on-time searching for the presence of body fluids prior and separating male and female DNA. The implementation of the new process, including a robotic instrument called the QIAcube, is being implemented statewide and will reduce sexual assault kit processing times across FDLE labs. 
Contribution to Criminal Justice – Kathleen Murphy, FDLE Orlando, senior crime intelligence analyst supervisor
As supervisor of the Orlando Investigative Analytical Squad, Ms. Murphy developed an analytical intelligence product to help fight the region’s heroin epidemic.  Using lab data, she was able to pinpoint areas of increased heroin activity.  She shares that information with local law enforcement, enabling them to focus their efforts where it is needed most.  Ms. Murphy’s effort in this arena was a trend-setter, initiating a model to be subsequently adopted in other areas of the state.