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The original item was published from 9/17/2020 2:23:48 PM to 10/1/2020 3:36:59 PM.

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Posted on: September 17, 2020

[ARCHIVED] YCSO Awards & Commendations for June - August 2020

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Medal of Valor Corporal Mike Melton 

Corporal Mike Melton has been awarded the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions in the aftermath of a shooting in early April 2020.  On the morning of April 8th, Corporal Melton responded to a residence in reference to shots fired.  As the first person on scene, Corporal Melton went to the front of the residence and looked through the glass front door and saw an adult male lying on the floor inside of the house with a gunshot wound to the head.  Corporal Melton then went to a side door of the residence where he saw signs of forcible entry.  Not knowing whether an active threat still existed inside the residence, Corporal Melton made entry to search for the shooter and any shooting victims.

Upon entering the residence, Corporal Melton found to two victims, an adult female and a male child, both of whom had visible gunshot wounds.  Corporal Melton then cleared the residence and located another adult inhabitant, who was able to confirm that the adult male gunshot victim was the only shooter.

Once other deputies arrived on scene, Corporal Melton directed them to render first aid to the victims, secure the scene and firearm, and remove an unharmed child from the scene, who was found hiding downstairs in the residence.  Corporal Melton was able to give clear, concise information over the radio about the scene to responding units, while controlling his emotions on a very difficult scene.

Corporal Melton displayed exceptional bravery and compassion when responding to this incident.  His bravery was showcased when he entered this home not knowing if the shooter was still an active threat.  Upon finding unharmed inhabitants, he was able to remove them from the residence and shield the crime scene from them so that they would not have to see the bodies of their loved ones.

Corporal Melton’s heroism and compassion during this tragedy are deserving of the Medal of Valor, one of the York County Sheriff’s Office’s highest honors. 

June 2020 Awards and Commendations

Employee of the Month:  Deputy Nicholas Suriano 

Deputy Suriano has been selected as the June 2020 Employee of the Month based on his interaction with a young child who was out in his neighborhood washing cars.  Deputy Suriano noticed that the young man looked overheated and stopped to give the child water and a snack.  The two chatted for a while and Deputy Suriano let the child look through his patrol vehicle and try on his heavy vest.  Deputy Suriano then gave the child a ride home in his patrol car.

This child was so impressed with “Deputy Nick” that he called the Sheriff’s Office to say that he wanted to be a police officer like Deputy Suriano when he got old enough.  The young man wanted to nominate Deputy Suriano for a commendation and he also asked that Deputy Suriano be promoted.

Deputy Suriano is to be commended for making a positive impact on this individual.  Interactions like this are what reinforces the community’s trust in our office and deputies.

Employee of the Month – Transport Officer Bobby Heath 

On June 23, 2020, Officer Heath was on his way with 4 inmates to Columbia when he had a tire blow out on I-77.  He reduced speed and drove to a nearby gas station.  He then contacted his supervisor who gave him instructions on who to contact.  The York County vehicle shop was notified and Officer Heath contacted the Highway Patrol of his location and situation so a trooper could respond to help. Officer Heath also contacted the local Sheriff’s Office to coordinate potential use of facilities for the inmates. The vehicle was moved to a different location, and the tire was changed while the Trooper helped with security of the inmates.  

Officer Heath responded to this situation in a calm manner, used his training to move the vehicle to a safe area away from danger to himself and the inmates, and also contacted the appropriate agencies for assistance. Officer Heath was in a similar situation several months ago, and continued his professional and calm response to this type of situation, which has multiple moving parts, as well as placing him in a vulnerable position with a small group of inmates. 

Supervisor of the Quarter – Lieutenant Khatari McMillan

Lieutenant McMillan was nominated for this award by staff assigned to his shift.

Lieutenant McMillan has always been supportive and encouraging to his team.  He is fair to all officers, new and old, and he supports officers not only in work related matters but also in their personal lives.  He makes new team members feel welcome and recognizes officers for good work.  Lieutenant McMillan informs officers of matters that may be hard to hear but with their best interest at heart to help them become better officers.  He is not only a great mentor but a positive role model and a wonderful leader to his team.  

Lt. McMillan has purchased breakfast for his entire shift and delivered it to them multiple times in the past.  He believes in a fun, stress-free, family environment and does everything to promote that on his team.  He is deserving of this award for all he has done for his shift as well as the Detention Center.

July 2020 Awards and Commendations

Employee of the Month:  Corporal Travis Shealey 

Corporal Shealey has been selected as the July 2020 Employee of the Month for his hard work and proactive work ethic.  The K9 Unit has been working nonstop this summer, averaging nearly 1 call per day.  One notable arrest by Corporal Shealey involved a stolen vehicle that was spotted in Rock Hill.  Corporal Shealey began searching the area where he believed the vehicle to be located.  He spotted the car and a short pursuit ensued.  The vehicle stopped and the two occupants fled.  Corporal Shealey quickly caught the driver and took him into custody.  Corporal Shealey then put his K9 on the track and quickly found the second suspect.  These arrests cleared several crimes that had been committed in recent weeks.

Even though his responsibilities with the K9 Unit keep him very busy, Corporal Shealey is always willing to assist other divisions.  For example, in early July, Corporal Shealey responded to a suicidal man on the Catawba River Bridge.  Corporal Shealey recognized the individual and was able to initiate a dialogue.  Corporal Shealey kept the man talking while a plan was devised to get the man from the edge of the bridge.  Deputies were successful and this man was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Deputy Shealey has faithfully served the people of York County for many years and his work ethic is unparalleled and should serve as an example to all law enforcement officers.

Commendation:  Corporal Tim Davidson   

Corporal Davidson is to be commended for his outstanding work with the Court Security Unit.  Corporal Davidson provides exemplary customer service to members of the public as part of this unit.  He has willingly taken on additional responsibilities and always volunteers for additional assignments when they become available.  Corporal Davidson has shown tremendous professional growth during his time with the Court Security Unit and his positive attitude and work ethic led to him being named the lead Corporal in the unit.  Corporal Davidson is to be commended for his positive contributions to the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Employee of the Month – Lieutenant Crystal Blauser 

Lieutenant Blauser has spent the last several months preparing for the PREA Audit.  She had to organize and prepare for 37 pages worth of standards.  She also remained in contact with our PREA auditor before and after the audit, providing any documentation that was needed.  During the audit, she spent the entire time with the auditor providing thorough tours of the facility, security while escorting him through the facility to speak with staff/inmates, as well as providing additional documentation as needed.  She was interviewed constantly while working with him on site.  Lieutenant Blauser was able to answer his questions quickly and professionally.  The auditor had a lot of extremely positive remarks about the facility, and even more positive remarks towards Lieutenant Blauser and her knowledge of the PREA information.  This is evidence of the effort that she personally put in to being prepared for this audit.  With all of Lieutenant Blauser’s effort, the facility passed the audit with 100% of the standards met, and no standards needing post-action reviews.  

In addition to preparing for the PREA Audit, Lieutenant Blauser also had to multitask with PreEmployment Testing, Background Investigations, Policy Creation (Body Scanner), and other tasks.  

Lieutenant Blauser has an extremely high work ethic, and takes a lot of pride in her work, which is evident in all the above mentioned tasks she is able to complete.

Commendations – Lieutenant Jessica Hall, Sergeant Michael Plyler, Sergeant Lamanda Hooper, Corporal Ginger Barnhill, Corporal Leslie Hamblen, Officer Derick Ward, Officer Robert Craze and Officer Rita Ayers 

On July 26, 2020, a major water pipe burst in the hallway outside of Housing Unit J.  This issue was initially noticed by Corporal Barnhill while exiting Housing Unit I.  Lieutenant Hall, Sergeant Plyler, Sergeant Hooper, Corporal Barnhill, Corporal Hamblen, Officer Ward, Officer Craze and Officer Ayers responded and helped push all of the water out of the hallway with squeegees to keep it from flooding any worse until maintenance arrived to fix the leak.  

The quick actions and teamwork of the officers along with the inmate trustees helped keep the flooding in the facility to a minimal amount.

August 2020 Awards and Commendations

Employee of the Month – Officer Maria Love 

Officer Love was nominated by one of her supervisors. Officer Maria Love has been with York County Detention Center since November 2008.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Officer Love was assigned to C-team and has been one of the hardest working officers on the shift.  She comes into work with a positive attitude and always gets her duties completed in a timely manner.  It has been a pleasure having her on the team!

Commendations – Records Management Clerk Sheri Garren 

On Wednesday, August 19, 2020 Records Management Clerk, Sheri Garren, located a smart card in the Detention Center lobby. After researching the card, it was discovered that it had over $1,200.00 still on it.  The smart card had the pin number attached and could have been easily used.  Sheri turned the card into the front lobby; the card owner was contacted, and came to retrieve the card.  The owner was thankful and appreciated everyone’s honesty at the York County Detention Center!   

Letters of Appreciation – Officer Maria Love and Officer Cierra Young 

On Thursday, July 23, 2020, Officers Maria Love and Cierra Young noticed an inmate and his cell had a foul odor.  Upon further investigation, they found mold and mildew on his clothing and linens located in his cell that he had not exchanged. They placed the inmate in the shower and proceeded to clean the cell and give him clean clothing and linens. 

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