8th Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards

NEWS RELEASE 19-078 - MAY 14, 2019
From left: Corrections Lieutenant Arlene Tracy, Detective Ben Lubrano, Crime Analyst Natalie Johnson-Mayer,
Investigations Lieutenant Chris Montalbano and Corrections Sergeant Ivan Nelson

Several members of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office were recognized Monday by Congressman Vern Buchanan during the 8th Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards.
Detective Ben Lubrano is recognized with the Dedication and Professionalism Award for his commitment to excellence and ability to successfully investigate complicated criminal cases. Detective Lubrano joined the sheriff’s office in 2012 and is known for his core values, tenacious work ethic, and team-focused mentality. He is often called upon to assume the role of lead investigator in complex cases and regularly assists fellow detectives in the Criminal Investigations Section. Detective Lubrano is recognized for a series of significant investigations in 2018 including a child drowning, home invasion robbery, carjacking and kidnapping case, attempted murder, heroin overdose, and more. Most notable however, is his role in the nearly 20-year-old homicide of Deborah Dalzell. For nearly two decades, investigators tried tirelessly to identify the suspect in Deborah’s brutal murder. In 2018, Detective Lubrano was assigned the case and spent weeks researching and working closely with DNA experts to identify the suspect. On September 17, thanks to Detective Lubrano’s hard work, detectives arrested and charged Luke Fleming with Murder. It is Detective Lubrano’s commitment to his profession and crime victims that truly sets him apart.
Lieutenant Arlene Tracy and Sergeant Ivan Nelson are recognized with the Dedication and Professionalism Award for their introduction and advancement of new inmate programs in the Sarasota County Jail. In 2018, Lieutenant Tracy and Sergeant Nelson coordinated the proctoring of GED testing which allows inmates to complete their education while behind bars. Another notable example is the addition of Safe Serve, offering vocational classes which give inmates culinary certificates to aid in post-release employment. In January, Lieutenant Tracy and Sergeant Nelson also oversaw the opening of the Re-Entry Pod, which addresses barriers inmates face upon release, and the Collaborative Approach to Reintegration through Education (CARE) Pod, which focuses on mental health awareness and education. Together, they continue to coordinate and monitor program services for an average daily inmate population of nearly 1,000, while also managing more than 400 registered jail volunteers. Lieutenant Tracy and Sergeant Nelson are recognized for their leadership and professionalism in implementing such dynamic programs which continue to positively impact the community.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Section (SIS) is recognized with the Unit Citation Award for their tireless work in combating illegal narcotics in Sarasota County. In 2018, with the opioid epidemic in decline, detectives noticed an increase in cases related to methamphetamine, cocaine and MDMA. SIS detectives focused their efforts on finding drug suppliers, investigating more than 20 trafficking cases in 2018 leading to 30 arrests with a total of 50 trafficking charges. Also worthy of recognition is the Special Investigations Section’s work on a high-profile six-month operation involving the investigation and arrest of a known drug dealer whose trafficking organization had been operating in Sarasota County for a decade. The operation, which was titled Night Train, spanned several Florida counties and involved the support of many local and federal agencies. At the conclusion of the investigation, a total of five individuals were arrested. Detectives seized $163,000 in U.S. currency and more than eight pounds of methamphetamine, the largest amount ever seized in Sarasota County. With such extensive and time-consuming investigations, the collective effort of the entire Special Investigations Section demonstrates their dedication to the community they serve.