SCSO Personnel Recognized by Congressman Buchanan

NEWS RELEASE #: 17-143 - JUNE 20, 2107

Congressional Award
Sgt. John Jensen, Capt. John Walsh, Maj. Paul Richard, Col. Kurt A. Hoffman, Capt. Debra Kaspar, Investigator Lynn Thomson, Congressman Vern Buchanan, Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn Perez, Dr. Harriet Moore, Geoffry Gilot, Pastor Vincent Smith, Lt. Jonathan Varley, Pastor Patrick Miller, Dep. Phillip Mockler, and Lt. David Scott.

Several members of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office were recognized Monday by Congressman Vern Buchanan at the 6th Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards.

Investigator Lynn Thomson and Detective Tim Speth received the Professionalism and Dedication Award for their investigation into an organized scheme to steal large amounts of controlled substances from a local pharmacy. Through an extensive investigation spanning several months, Thomson and Speth determined that the thefts were perpetrated by the store's pharmacy manager and had been occurring for four years. Thomson and Speth soon discovered that the pharmacist stole more than 53,000 pills using nearly 430 fraudulent prescriptions. The pharmacist illegally used the names and DEA numbers of several legitimate doctors in Sarasota and Venice and would target physicians focused on pain management to avoid suspicion when filling prescriptions involving large quantities of opiates. Thomson and Speth are recognized for their hard work and exceptional investigation which resulted in several modifications to internal controls at the pharmacy, a length prison sentence for the pharmacist, and a revocation of his license to practice.

School Resource Deputy Phillip Mockler received the Dedication and Professionalism Award for his decorated law enforcement and military career. A United States Marine who served twice overseas, Mockler joined the sheriff's office in 2011. Currently assigned to Venice Middle School, Deputy Mockler is a mentor to many and volunteers his time after work to coach at-risk youth. He is also heavily involved in the Venice Young Marines program and volunteered to accompany the group on a trip to Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Deputy Mockler is also commended for his dedication to both the Junior Law Academy and Sheriff's Activities League of Sarasota County; two programs that are geared toward youth development and relationship building with law enforcement. In his spare time, Mockler also serves as Vice President of 'My Warriors Place', a not-for-profit organization that serves the needs of Veterans, military service members, first responders, as well as gold, blue, and silver star families. As a military Veteran and law enforcement professional, Deputy Mockler is honored for his commitment to serve his country and his community.

Captains John Walsh and Debra Kaspar, Lieutenant Jonathan Varley and Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn Perez received the Dedication and Professionalism Award for their work in developing and expanding the Sheriff's Rightful Policing Strategy Workshops. A one-day program targeted at scenario-based training to connect law enforcement with the community it serves, the workshops allow citizens to go through mock calls for service including traffic stops, domestic disturbances, heroin overdoses, 911 call taking, and more. To date, more than 300 citizens have experienced the workshop and countless others through television news and social media, and now have a better understanding of the agency's philosophy of Rightful Policing. Captains Walsh and Kaspar, Lieutenant Varley and Director Perez played an integral role in planning and facilitating the workshops, often times balancing the responsibilities of several people at a time, staying to work afterhours and on weekends, and developing unique bonds with community members to enhance the program. Recognized for their judgement, organizational ability and moral clarity, Captains Walsh and Kaspar, Lieutenant Varley and Director Perez, are honored for their implementation of a dynamic program that continues to positively impact relationships and interactions between law enforcement and the community.

Dr. Harriet Moore, Pastor Patrick Miller, Pastor Vincent Smith and Geoffry Gilot were recognized with the Associate Service Award. Nominated for their valued contributions to the Sheriff's Rightful Policing Strategy Workshops, these citizens distinguished themselves exceptionally through their collaborative efforts to develop the program. Each attended the workshops, mentored students through the scenarios and helped the agency identify specific young people who would most benefit from the program. To date, the workshops have reached more than 300 citizens and impacted countless more through television news and social media. The support and input garnered through Dr. Harriet Moore, Pastor Patrick Miller, Pastor Vincent Smith and Geoffry Gilot, has continued to enhance the program and develop strong, successful partnerships within the community.