Sheriff Knight Holds Awards Ceremony


Deputy Dan Smith, Communications Operator Meghan Buckley, Deputy James Lynch, Deputy Luke Sniegowski, Deputy Brian Schroth, Deputy Clayton Reese, Deputy C.J. Sunderman, Captain Daniel Tutko, Captain John Walsh and Sheriff Tom Knight. 

Sheriff Tom Knight presented several awards during a ceremony Thursday to recognize employees who demonstrated exemplary service to their community.

Communications Operator Meghan Buckley received the Life Saving Award for her efforts in assisting a caller administer aid to a patient having a heart attack. On February 23, 2019, Operator Buckley received a call about an unconscious man. She quickly learned that the patient was in cardiac arrest and in need of CPR. Operator Buckley relayed instructions on proper CPR techniques until paramedics arrived and transported the patient to the hospital where he survived. Because this was the caller’s first time performing CPR, the caller relied solely on the guidance of Operator Buckley to provide life-saving first aid. Her quick assessment and verbal directions resulted in the preservation of the patient’s life.

Deputies Brian Schroth and Robert Brinton received the Life Saving Award for their efforts to save the life of a man who overdosed on heroin. On February 26, 2019, deputies responded to a Venice home where they found the patient unresponsive and immediately administered first aid. Deputy Brinton began CPR while Deputy Schroth deployed his agency-issued naloxone. The man began breathing again and was transported by the Sarasota County Fire Department to the hospital. Thanks to the quick response from Deputy Schroth and Deputy Brinton, the patient was given another chance at life.

Deputies James Lynch and Bradley Pope received the Life Saving Award for successfully intervening in a man's attempt to end his life with carbon monoxide poisoning. Deputies responded on December 26, 2018, after receiving a 911 call from the victim’s sister. While attempting to locate the victim at his home, deputies noticed the victim’s car in the garage with the hazard lights flashing and engine running. Deputies Lynch and Pope opened the main garage door to ventilate the exhaust fumes and found the victim unresponsive in the driver’s seat.  After breaking the window of the car, they pulled the victim out of the garage to safety where he soon regained consciousness. The self-sacrificing actions of Deputies Lynch and Pope successfully stopped the victim's attempt at suicide.

Captain Daniel Tutko received the Life Saving Award for his effort in saving a patient suffering an opioid overdose. On December 22, 2018, Captain Tutko responded to a parking lot along Cattlemen Road where there was a female lying unconscious from a possible overdose. Captain Tutko retrieved his medical bag and immediately deployed his agency-issued naloxone. The patient regained consciousness just before paramedics arrived. The patient later admitted to snorting a crushed prescription pill prior to overdosing. Thanks to the swift action of Captain Tutko, the patient was given a second chance at life.  

Captain Walsh, Deputies Dan Smith and C.J. Sunderman received the Life Saving Award after rescuing a wanted man from a lake after he fled from deputies. On January 18, 2019, deputies responded to suspicious activity near the intersection of Burnt Branch Circle and Greystone Lane, in Sarasota. When deputies arrived, they made contact with a wanted man who was entering a van parked alongside the road. As deputies attempted to talk to the man, he quickly fled and jumped into a nearby lake. The agency’s Aviation Unit responded to assist deputies and captured video which showed the man swim to the middle of the lake and then struggle to stay above water. Deputies entered the lake and brought the man to safety. The defendant later admitted he is unable to swim but went into the lake to avoid being arrested on several warrants. Thanks to the swift action of Captain Walsh, Deputies Dan Smith and C.J. Sunderman, the man made a full recovery.

Deputy Luke Sniegowski received the Life Saving Award for his efforts to save the life of a Sarasota County teen and baseball player at Cardinal Mooney High School. On February 7, 2019, Deputy Sniegowski was travelling east on Fruitville Road approaching the I-75 northbound exit ramp when he witnessed a serious traffic crash caused by a driver running a red light. Deputy Sniegowski immediately began rendering aid to the injured driver and although he was pinned underneath the crash, Sniegowski pulled him carefully to safety where he continued talking to the victim to keep him calm. Thanks to Sniegowski’s quick actions, paramedics arrived within nine minutes of the crash and transported him to Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s trauma center. Doctors confirmed if not for the quick actions of Deputy Sniegowski along with the immediate deployment of paramedics, the victim would have likely died.

"I am extremely proud of these dedicated individuals who serve their community through actions of bravery and selflessness," said Sheriff Knight. “Keeping in line with our values and commitment to public safety, each of them embodies exactly what it means to serve with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.”