Pittsboro, NC – On Thursday, February 9, Sheriff Mike Roberson hosted the Annual Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Award Ceremony to honor the outstanding men and women who serve within the agency.
Awards were presented at Pittsboro United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center in Pittsboro, where staff members gathered with family and friends to show support for their peers and each award recipient.
“It’s always my pleasure to recognize the hard work and exceptional service provided by our staff,” Sheriff Roberson said. “I want to tell you thank you, and I really mean this. Thank you for your teamwork. Thank you for your sense of being a family. Thank you for being there for me. What I can count on you for is being professional. What I can count on you for is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking. What I can count on you for is taking care of each other. You do what you do from the heart. You do what you do because you care.”
All award recipients were nominated by their peers and selected via a voting process.
Marcus Hart received the Deputy of the Year award while Casey Kitzman received the Detention Officer of the Year award. Administrative Support Specialist Allison Armstrong, a 2021 Rookie of the Year award winner, received the 2022 Civilian of the Year award. Sheriff Roberson praised Armstrong for cultivating and maintaining a reputation for professionalism, positivity, and exceptional work ethic.
“The highest praise you can receive comes not from supervisors, but from your peers,” Sheriff Roberson said.
The same voting process is followed to select “Rookies” of the Year – new employees identified for their superior performance and potential in their career field.
The Rookie Deputy of the Year award was presented to Tyler Painter; Rookie Detention Officer of the Year went to Chris Marcum; and Rookie Civilian of the Year was presented to Victim Services Coordinator Dawn Stallings.
Certificates of appreciation recipients went to Lieutenant Nicholas Keifer, Corporal Jessica White, and Detention Officer Evan Bass for their dedicated and consistent contributions to the recruiting and hiring efforts of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Sergeants Felix Jiminez and Anthony Norton were presented with Certificates of Appreciation for their leadership, communication, and for furthering the mission of the Sheriff’s Office within the Chatham County school system by providing a calm, reassuring presence to students, school administrators, parents, and fellow staff members.
Deputies Brent Ward and Brian Palmiter were presented with Certificates of Appreciation for their outstanding mentorship and superior initiative in the area of field training. As two of the first employees to interact with new recruits, Ward and Palmiter carry a great deal of responsibility and influence; their recognition at the Thursday’s awards program recognizes how they have helped shape positive mindsets and prepare new employees for challenges they might face along their chosen career path.
Lisa Mason was presented a Certificate of Appreciation recognizing her commitment to providing exemplary customer service as well as her willingness and ability to educate and uplift members of the community who visit the Sheriff’s Office Animal Resource Center (ARC).
A Certificate of Appreciation was also presented to ARC Support Specialist Sharon Glover for her commitment, empathy and sincere desire to assist and comfort pet owners during their interactions at the ARC. According to fellow staff members, Glover is the first to offer a warm hug to someone grieving a lost a pet or family member and consistently shows a strong commitment to serving the public.
Deputy Alberto Estrada and Corporal Michael Cox were presented Certificates of Appreciation for their outstanding leadership and their calm, compassionate responses while assisting the public during crises. The certificates also recognize each recipient’s talent and commitment as dedicated Field Training Officers responsible for preparing and encouraging new deputies.
Meritorious Achievement Awards were also presented to Deputies Willie Bell and Matthew Meyer for their mentorship and lasting contributions to the recruiting and hiring efforts, which have led to the hiring of high-quality public servants over the past year.
A Meritorious Achievement Award was presented to ARC Program Coordinator Kate Reardon in recognition of her extraordinary dedication and successful implementation of initiatives and events at the Sheriff’s Office ARC. Her vision and devotion to animal welfare have directly contributed to the expansion of existing programs for the benefit of the public; she works diligently to ensure all animals have a safe haven.
Deputies Marcus Hart and Tim White also received Meritorious Achievement Awards for exceptional service and adaptability as members of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Sergeant Chris Burger was presented with a Meritorious Achievement Award for distinguished service, leadership and professionalism. According to staff, Burger has built a reputation for exemplary service and proven himself to be someone who consistently adheres to law, polity and ethical codes of conduct.
K-9 Officer Jake was also recognized with a Meritorious Achievement Award for exemplary service to the public. Since joining the Sheriff’s Office team in 2014, Jake has assisted numerous local, state and federal agencies in locating lost, endangered or fleeing individuals. Jake has also directly contributed to building a safer community by successfully locating and assisting in the seizure of more than 700 pounds of marijuana, 100 kilograms of cocaine, 40 kilograms of methamphetamine, 15 kilograms of heroin and 2 million U.S. dollars.
The Unit Citation award was presented to the Investigations Unit for their teamwork, professionalism, and outstanding performance in 2022. During a particularly challenging year, the Investigations Unit worked cohesively and consistently to set, achieve, and exceed its shared goals, with members demonstrating remarkable courage, commitment, and resilience in the face of complex, stressful and demanding cases.
All Chatham County Sheriff’s Office employees are expected to perform at least 20 hours of community service each year. This year, Sergeant Brent Fonville received the Community Service Award for completing more than triple the required hours, working a total of 74.75 community service hours.
The Top Gun Award is presented to the sworn officer with top accuracy scores during yearly firearm qualifications. A recipient of the 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 the recipient’s experience and expert proficiency. This year’s Top Gun honor was presented to Deputy Matthew Mitchell.
Years of Service awards were presented to Deputy Tyler Clark, Sergeant Anthony Norton, Civilian Investigator Lora Rinaldi, and Detention Officer Jennifer Ruiz (5 years of service); Corporal Michael Cox, Sergeant Brent Fonville, Captain Ronnie Miller, Detention Officer Andy Phillips, and Captain Rodney West (10 years of service); Deputy Matt Meyer (15 years of service); and Major Steve Mayor and Deputy Kyle Smith (20 years of service).
Special recognition was given to Sergeants Chris Burger, Joe Reece, and Brent Fonville, Investigators John Flynn and Chris Massey, Captain Jessica Norton, and Lieutenant Stephen Renn, who were presented with Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates, awarded only to officers with a proven record of service who continually strive to better themselves personally and professionally by attending schools, training sessions, and other educational opportunities for law enforcement officers.
Sergeant Rob Miller and Captain Ronnie Miller were also acknowledged for earning their General Instructor Certification in 2022. Sergeants Anthony Norton, Ashley Ellington and Luisa Rojas were acknowledged for graduating the Chatham County Leadership Academy in 2022.