From left: Lieutenant William Tracy, Detectives Eric Wedin, Eric Ellis, David Tuck, Sergeant Shawn Johnson, and Detective James Klay. Not pictured: Brooke Buzzell.
Several members of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office were recognized Monday by Congressman Vern Buchanan during the 16th Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards.
Detective David Tuck is recognized with the Career Service Award and was nominated for his dedication to service and well-rounded law enforcement knowledge. Detective Tuck joined the sheriff’s office in 1994 and is known for consistently surpassing all expectations and being trusted by his colleagues in the Criminal Investigations Section. He is often called upon to assume the role of lead investigator in complex cases. Due to his excellent leadership and thorough investigative knowledge, junior detectives look to Detective Tuck for guidance. In 2017, Detective Tuck was selected as the lead detective in several complicated investigations including a case involving a deputy accused of Attempted Murder, Kidnapping, and other serious crimes. Detective Tuck’s leadership and character played a vital role in bringing resolution to the case and helping maintain trust between the agency and community. Another notable case was a death investigation which was originally assigned to a less experienced detective. Detective Tuck was able to use his knowledge and decision-making skills to conduct interviews, subpoenas, and search warrants. He displays integrity and professionalism in all of his work.
Lieutenant William Tracy is recognized with the Career Service Award for his dedication to serving in the Sarasota County Jail. Lieutenant Tracy consistently works to coordinate facility maintenance and is quick to respond to any issues that arise. Notable is Lieutenant Tracy’s partnership with Sarasota County to obtain contract work for SecurePASS – a system that identifies concealed objects hidden on people prior to entry into the jail. Another example of Lieutenant Tracy’s dedication to excellence was shown during the recovery of Hurricane Irma. He worked to resolve several urgent requests for assistance using inmate labor and participants in the Offender Work Program. Due to a lack of enrollment in the Offender Work Program, Lieutenant Tracy identified a dozen inmates qualified to assist in debris removal from Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, just in time for the World Rowing Championships. Lieutenant Tracy manages countless daily requests and always maintains a superior level of excellence and integrity.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Digital Forensics Lab Unit is recognized with the Dedication and Professionalism Award for their dedication to crime prevention through technology. In 2017, the Digital Forensics Lab received more than 500 devices and recovered more than 400 terabytes of data used in criminal cases. One noteworthy case included a recovered cell phone that contained images of child pornography. The owner of the cell phone pled guilty and is now serving 17 years in prison. Members of the Digital Forensics Lab are also recognized for their efforts to seize computers related to illegal gambling. The seized computers are cleaned, refurbished, and donated to organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota. Also, worthy of recognition is the Digital Forensics Lab’s work on a high-profile Attempted Murder case in early 2017. Investigation into the victim’s computer helped detectives determine the suspect illegally accessed her email resulting in the victim being falsely Baker Acted. The suspect in this case was found guilty of numerous crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Compared to other law enforcement organizations, the sheriff’s office Digital Forensics Lab ranks 10th in the nation, and because of their expertise and experience, Sergeant Shawn Johnson, Detectives James Klay, Eric Wedin, and Eric Ellis, and Civilian Brooke Buzzell are all recognized with this award.
Carolyn J. Mason is recognized with the Congressional Associate Service Award for her dedication and support of law enforcement. She has served on both the Sarasota City and Sarasota County Commissions and as the City Mayor during her career. She regularly assists the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office with improving the exchange of information with citizens. Mason’s efforts help bring the community and law enforcement together to reduce crime and serve as a mechanism for ongoing problem solving by discussing the important role of all stakeholders. She continually contributes hundreds of hours of her personal time to the sheriff’s office and plays a vital role in creating a stronger bond between law enforcement and the community they serve.