Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson announces 2021 award winners

Pittsboro, NC – In celebration of National Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 4, Sheriff Mike Roberson hosted the Annual Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Award Ceremony. This tradition is intended to honor the outstanding men and women who serve within the agency. Awards were presented at the Chatham County Agricultural and Conference Center in Pittsboro, where staff members gathered with family and friends to show support for their peers and each award recipient.

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Employees celebrate Retired Chief Deputy Charles Gardner. Pictured left to right: Sergeant Anthony Norton, Animal Resource Director Karen Rogers, Lieutenant Abby Bristow, Captain Tammy Kirkman, Detention Officer Casey Kitzman, Captain Chris Cooper, Legal Advisor Rik Stevens, Lieutenant Jessica Norton, Retired Chief Deputy Charles Gardner (center), Sheriff Mike Roberson, Captain Ken McDaniel, Chief Deputy Tracy Kelly, Administrative Support Specialist Beverly McLean Goldston, Chaplain Mark Agan, Lieutenant Joe Birchett, and Captain Steve Maynor

“It is always my pleasure to recognize the hard work and exceptional service provided by our staff,” Roberson says. “In my eyes, every employee deserves an award for the amazing job they do every day. I cannot say enough great things about the dedicated individuals who make this Office a shining example of teamwork and professionalism all year long!”

Sergeant Luisa Rojas received the Detention Officer of the year award while Deputy Alberto Estrada took home the award for Officer of the Year. Administrative Services Specialist Beverly McLean Goldston was honored as Civilian of the Year. All were nominated by peers and selected via a voting process. 

“The highest praise you can receive comes not from supervisors, but from your peers,” said Sheriff Roberson. “Out of everyone who works at the Sheriff’s Office, your co-workers identified you as most deserving of this award. It also means we expect more great things from you in the future.”

The same process is followed to select “Rookies” of the Year—new employees identified for their superior performance and potential in their career field. Detention Officer Katie Bond and Deputy Joe Scott were given awards for Rookie of the Year in their respective units. Detention Support Specialist Allison Armstrong took home the award for Civilian Rookie of the Year.

“Rookie of the Year Awards come with high expectations… To receive such an award says a lot about the recipients’ work ethic, initiative, and value they add to our team,” says Lieutenant Sara Pack. “We expect these recipients to continue on a path of excellence to become Officers or Civilians of the Year in the future.”

Life Saving Awards went to Deputies Tyler Welch and David Nixon. These awards are only earned by employees who take immediate action to assist individuals in life-threatening distress. 

“These deputies bring honor to all law enforcement professionals through their demonstration of selflessness and service when it was needed most,” said Captain Ken McDaniel.

Sergeants Rischetta White, Ashley Ellington, Brent Fonville, and Nick Keifer received Meritorious Achievement Awards for going above and beyond the requirements of their jobs for the benefit of Chatham County. Animal Resource Specialist Carolyn Stevens Smith also received a Meritorious Achievement Award for her teamwork and leadership at the Sheriff’s Office Animal Resource Center (ARC), and Investigator John Flynn received a Meritorious Achievement Award for his impressive year of accomplishments as a Narcotics Task Force Officer.

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to Investigators Ricky Culberson and Branden Havens for their guidance, dedication, and professional service both within the Sheriff’s Office and to the residents of Chatham County. Both men have proven themselves to be talented, compassionate, and committed team players who regularly use their knowledge and experience to help others learn, grow, and overcome obstacles.

Sheriff Mike Roberson with Investigator / Firearms Instructor Branden Havens as he receives a Certificate of Appreciation celebrating his exceptional work ethic, adaptability, and teamwork.

The Unit Citation Award went to the Animal Resource Unit for their adaptability, innovation, and commitment to serving the public and furry residents of Chatham County. 

“Last year brought many new challenges for the Animal Resource Center (ARC) and its staff,” says Pack. “They successfully transitioned into the new ARC building, hosted a Grand Opening to welcome the public into the facility, created and launched a robust volunteer program, expanded partnerships with local, state, and national agencies and organizations, drastically reduced euthanasia rates, and worked tirelessly to combat animal cruelty, disease, and the spread of misinformation. They have proven themselves to be dutiful advocates and public servants, and we are endlessly grateful for their devotion and sacrifice.”

Sheriff Mike Roberson presents Administrative Support Specialist Beverly McLean Goldston with an award for Civilian of the Year. Goldston was also recognized for 15 years of dedicated service to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office as a member of the Administration Unit.

All Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Employees are expected to perform at least 20 hours of community service each year. Student Resource Officer Sergeant Rebecca Madden received the Community Service Award for 2021 for completing more than double the required hours. 

Deputy Brent Ward received the Top Gun Award for achieving top accuracy scores during yearly firearm qualifications. A recipient of this award must maintain high marks while operating under stress, time constraints, and varying environmental conditions. This elite honor can only be earned through a combination of practice, skill, and self-control, and serves as a testament to Ward’s experience and expert proficiency.

Sheriff Mike Roberson presents Retired Chief Deputy Charles Gardner with the Old North State Award on behalf of the Office of the Governor of North Carolina.

Deputy Marcus Hart, Student Resource Officer Noah Frazier, Animal Resource Officer Caleb Phillips, and Sergeants Jonathon Porter, Nick Keifer, and Luisa Rojas received certificates acknowledging 5 years of dedicated service to Chatham County. Lieutenant Stephen Renn, Detention Cook Tonyia Adcock, and Sergeants Lee Lester, Robbie Hussey, and Scott Meulendyke were recognized for 10 years of service. Administrative Support Specialist Beverly McLean Goldston, Investigator Mike Copeland, Sergeant Chris Burger, and Captain Chris Cooper received awards for 15 years of service. Lieutenant Brandon Jones was recognized for 20 years of service, and Lieutenant Joe Birchett received an award for an impressive 25 years of service to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and the public.

Retired Chief Deputy Charles Gardner addresses audience after emotional tribute to his legacy

The ceremony ended with a moving tribute to outgoing Chief Deputy Charles Gardner following his recent retirement. Gardner was ultimately presented with the Old North State Award, issued by the governor to recognize “dedication and service beyond expectation and excellence to the Great State of North Carolina.”

Captain Tammy Kirkman (left) and Lieutenant Phillip Richard (right) attend the Annual Award Ceremony to show their appreciation and support for award recipients.

“I am proud of each and every one of you for all you have accomplished in 2021,” concluded Sheriff Mike Roberson. “I expect even greater things from our office in 2022!”