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Sheriff's Office presents awards for courage, service



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June 01, 2011 | 08:57 AM
Elkhorn — Walworth County Sheriff David Graves presented this year's awards to citizens and deputies at the Sheriff's Office's annual Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 20.

Awards are presented to those who saved lives, showed bravery in the line of duty or performed exemplary service for the Walworth County Sheriff's Department in the past year.

Following are the awards and reasons for presenting the meritorious citations.

Public Service Award

- Pastor Larry Hansen is in charge of religious services for inmates in the Walworth County jail and Huber facility. Hansen meets with inmates one-on-one. He also approves and reviews all applications for the various religious leaders that come to the jail. Pastor Hansen oversees the church service provided for the jail on the TV monitor and for Bible study on Sunday and Wednesday nights.

- Kenneth M. Roberts called Sheriff's deputies to an area around Acorn Way in Lauderdale Lakes in the early morning hours of March 10, 2010, because he and neighbors saw suspicious persons using flashlights around several homes. Deputies were able to arrest three individuals in connection with illegal entries to a home in the area. Deputies later determined a second house had also been broken into that morning. The three suspects have since been charged with 26 break-ins. Because of Roberts' call, these subjects were caught and charged.

- Matthew Klopfer saw a child between 4 and 6 years old plunge into Sugar Creek while skiing at Alpine Valley on March 6. Klopfer jumped into the creek and pulled the child to shore. Because of his quick action, the child's life was saved.

- Gerald A. Dorsey Jr. of Janesville helped the Walworth County Sheriff's Office set up a reloading program by providing the equipment and training Walworth County officers to reload their training ammunition. Dorsey spent between 80 and 100 hours of his time to help set up the reloading equipment and training officers.

Lifesaving Award

On Aug. 20, 2010, Correctional Officer Craig Stauffer and Sgt. Charles Hall saved the life of a Huber inmate who had stopped breathing because of a drug overdose. The officers cleared the victim's airway and got him breathing again until the Elkhorn Rescue Squad arrived.

Civilian Employee

of the Year

Karen Witt has streamlined her duties for a more efficient workflow. Witt often asks others if they need assistance even if it's outside of her assigned work. She has assisted the Community Service Coordinator in mailing, indexing and organizing Huber Community Service letters.

Correctional Officer

of the Year

Officer Ruth LaLoggia has been instrumental in making the jail's Crisis Intervention program a success. LaLoggia has helped create and add information to the Crisis Library. She has tirelessly met with inmates in crisis.

Deputy of the Year

Dan Nichols has excellent communications skills and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. In 2010, Nichols spent a great deal of his time working on the Specialized Traffic Enforcement Program, part of the STEP up for Safety Program at the department. This commitment required many hours beyond his normal duties.

Distinguished

Service Award

- Deputies Tanya Miller and Brenda Thurin formed a Sexual Offender Registrant Team in 2009 and started checking on Walworth County sex offenders to make sure they were living where they said they were.

Recently, Miller found an offender had moved without updating the registry. Miller located the subject in Price County, 300 miles north of his last official address. He was charged with a violation.

Prior to the establishment of this team, offenders were not being checked in person. Now offenders know the Sexual Offender Registrant Team will conduct home visits.

- Deputy Andy Makar, who retired Jan. 2, after more than 20 years of service as a Walworth County Deputy, for serving as a police officer in the cities of St. Francis and Greenfield. Makar served as a patrolman with the Walworth County Sheriff's Office until his retirement. During his career with the Sheriff's Office, Makar was assigned as a background investigator, a member of SWAT, and a Field Training Officer.

- Detective Shannan Illingworth has developed a reputation for her skills in sexual assault investigations. Often, she is the first person deputies go to for answers to their questions during a sexual assault investigation. In the last five years, she has investigated 80 sexual assaults, with children and adult victims.

- Deputy Gibby Maas is the ninth most senior deputy of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office. Mass could work the dayshift however, he chooses to work the second shift. Maas was one of the first selected as a member of the Sheriff's Department SWAT team. He is still on the team and serves as team scout.

- Deputy Brian Panfil is a 10-year veteran, currently assigned to day-shift patrol. His current collateral assignments include warrants, SWAT, and bike patrol. During 2010, Panfil arrested 101 persons on outstanding warrants, ranging from local ordinance violations to felony offenses. During 2010, Panfil participated in SWAT practice and call outs. He worked bike patrol at Alpine Valley concerts, and the White River Trail. He also assisted with East Troy's Fourth of July celebration and two Memorial Day parades.

- Det. Robert Craig took over the digital evidence analysis investigations about three years ago. Since that time, Detective Craig has updated the department's entire forensic analysis system.

- Deputy Alex Torres speaks fluent Spanish. Last year, while on his way to an overdue vacation, there was a call for a domestic involving only Spanish-speaking people. Putting off the start of his vacation, and with no complaints, Torres assisted for about an hour with the situation.

Distinguished

Service Unit Award

The 2010 Walworth County Dive Team experienced one of its busiest years while not fully staffed. Members were Deputy Josh Staggs, dive team commander; and deputies Ed York, Chris Such, Alan Gorecki, Josh Adams, Garth Frami and Lt. Jamie Green. The team exhibited a high level of professionalism at each mission no matter the conditions.

Meritorious Service Award with Valor

On July 13, 2010, Sgt. Tim Otterbacher and deputies Alan Gorecki, Brenda Thurin and Scott Smith faced an armed and suicidal subject in the town of Geneva.

Crisis intervention failed, the man went for a sidearm and was shot by Smith and two town of Geneva officers. The deputies and officers immediately began to apply first aid and medical attention to the subject.

Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries. The officers did all they could to save this man's life before and after the shooting.

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