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2017 Bureau of Corrections awards day

The Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Corrections held its first annual awards day on March 30, 2017.

The Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Corrections held its first annual awards day on March 30, 2017.

Bureau of Corrections Awards Day is intended to recognize and commend the actions of both sworn and civilian personnel employed with the Bureau of Corrections who have earned awards and gone above and beyond the scope of their normal duties throughout the last calendar year. This year encompassed a wide variety of recognition across the spectrum, and included some past awardees who have yet had the opportunity to be formally recognized.

Among the distinguished guests were Sheriff Mike Strada, Freeholder Sylvia Petillo, Warden Mark Farsi, Undersheriff Lee Liddy, Captain Will Puentes and Captain Larry Beller.

Sergeant Anthony Masucci and Officer Richard Cullen led the group in the pledge of allegiance, followed by a thoughtful and inspiring invocation from Deacon Wayne Vondoehren, who volunteers his personal time at the jail for church and spiritual programs devoted to the rehabilitation and support of those incarcerated.

Kind words from both the sheriff and freeholder included that corrections staff are subjected to some of the toughest conditions on a daily basis, and that being able to recognize their outstanding efforts on a formal basis is of utmost importance. A segment of Freeholder Sylvia Petillo’s speech reverberated throughout those in attendance when she explained that one of the most prominent aspects she has discovered within the Bureau of Corrections was “pride”—not a selfish type of pride, but a stewardship toward the selfless service that staff, both sworn and civilian, convey on a daily basis, often without recognition or public acclaim.

The formal portion of the ceremony was closed by Captain Will Puentes, who thanked all of the attendees, recipients, staff and family members in attendance that made the day possible. Staff, family and friends were warmly welcomed to stay for cake, coffee and pictures following the event.

The following are a list of recipients and awards, in order of precedence:

Good Conduct Award

Awarded to sworn staff members for a consecutive of four years of service without written reprimand or higher discipline.

  • Officer Jose Rivera

  • Corporal Edward Kayal

  • Officer Paul Liobe

  • Officer John Boeren

  • Officer William Martin

Community Service Award

Awarded to sworn or civilian staff members who devote personal time and energy to a community-based service.

  • Sergeant Erich Olsen

Certificate of Appreciation

Awarded to sworn or civilian staff members who go above and beyond their normal scope of duties.

  • Tehmina Ali

Tehmina goes above and beyond her normal scope of duties for our staff members in the facility, providing fresh cooked meals, mixing up the menu, and often times using her own personal ingredients or items. She is always in great spirits, is a pleasure to work with and a reliable employee. Her work ethic and positivity are recognized and appreciated and we are grateful to have her on our team.

Certificate of Achievement

Awarded to sworn or civilian staff members for a specific achievement within the scope of their duty to the department or field of law enforcement.

  • Susan McIntyre

In March of 2016, Sue McIntyre was able to detect the attempted use of a fraudulent check by an inmate for bail purposes. Her efforts stopped an inmate from possible release. This level of attention to detail reflects great credit upon her work ethic, and reflects positively on our organization as a whole.

Honorable Service Medal

Awarded for diligence and initiative in the line of duty.

  • Sergeant Andrew Boden

  • Officer Robert Cottrell

On May 18, 2016, Sgt. Andrew Boden and Ofc. Robert Cottrell responded to a report of a fire in the laundry area. They assisted Ofc. Blohm in a smoke-filled environment to clear smoke from the building and check for further spread of fire. Both Boden and Cottrell put themselves at risk to help control a situation and prevent the spread of the fire and control the smoke in the building that could have resulted in adverse effects on all employees and inmates in the facility that night.

Meritorious Service Medal

Awarded for a highly unusual accomplishment, under adverse conditions with some degree of hazard to life and limb to the nominee or where death or injury to a third party is prevented.

  • Officer Todd Blohm

On May 18, 2016, Ofc. Todd Blohm responded to the report of a fire in the laundry area. Ofc. Blohm rushed to the area and made sure the inmate laundry worker was clear from the area. He retrieved a fire extinguisher and returned to the laundry room which was filling with smoke and extinguished the fire. He continued to work on checking that the fire had not spread into other parts of the laundry area as the smoke condition worsened.

Ofc. Blohm put himself at risk to help control a situation and prevent the spread of fire and control the smoke in the building that could have had adverse effects on all employees and inmates in the facility that night.

Wound Medal

Awarded for a wound received in the line of duty, inflicted intentionally, resulting in severe puncture wounds, lacerations, fractures or concussion being suffered by nominee.

  • Sergeant Jeremy Lock

  • Corporal Jason Kimble

On June 23, 2016, Sgt. Lock was assaulted by a combative inmate where he sustained major injuries to his face and jaw. Sgt. Lock was able to fight through his sustained injuries and continue to fend off the attack from the inmate until backup arrived and the inmate was finally controlled. Sgt. Lock suffered broken facial bones and had his jaw wired as a result of the punches he sustained during this incident. After requiring facial surgery and months of recuperation, Sgt. Lock returned to his duties in full capacity.

On January 11, 2013, while escorting inmate Giuseppe Tedesco at Superior Court for sentencing on a murder conviction, the inmate was required to be restrained after mouthing obscenities to the jurors and making a verbal threat to a member of his victim’s family. While attempting to gain control and remove Tedesco to a holding cell, the inmate continued to violently resist and not comply with verbal orders. The inmate was taken to the floor by officers, resulting in Cpl. Kimble sustaining a head injury and a fractured right fibula. This major injury resulted in months of rehabilitation, with Cpl. Kimble returning to his duties in full capacity.

Employee of the Year

Awarded for dedication to duty, diligence, professionalism and outstanding representation of the organization. The employee of the years’ service to the department is invaluable and brings credit upon the individual, the Bureau of Corrections, and the Office of the Sheriff.

  • Officer Robert Cottrell

Ofc. Cottrell has been employed with the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections since January 2, 2007, and has been an outstanding officer throughout his tenure. He has also served in the military during his employment with the sheriff’s office. Ofc. Cottrell was the recipient of Employee of the Month for August 2016 for exceptional duty in diffusing an inmate altercation while effectively administering OC spray. His quick actions and professionalism prevented an inmate from becoming seriously injured. Ofc. Cottrell was also recognized for exceptional duty in observing suspicious behavior of an inmate which resulted in the discovery of contraband in the facility. Without Ofc. Cottrell’s attention to detail and outstanding performance, this contraband may have not been discovered, potentially causing harm to an inmate or subsequently a staff member.

Ofc. Cottrell is a member of our Special Operations Group and is an integral part of almost every SOG operation. He has assisted in a wide variety of background investigations for applicants and potential new hires and assists with recruit physical training assessments. He has developed a specific fitness plan for several officers to help them throughout their training period prior to the academy. Ofc. Cottrell is one of our most relied upon field training officers and is also heavily relied upon by supervisors to assist in the training process.

Ofc. Cottrell is respected by his peers and supervisors alike and is used on many occasions for details of high importance or substantial public visibility. Ofc. Cottrell has valuable insight into corrections-based critical tasks and provides critiques, feedback and departmental integration regarding any training that he attends. Ofc. Cottrell is willing and able to perform above and beyond his call of duty and perform any task he is assigned. On more than one occasion, Ofc. Cottrell has obtained valuable information from inmates, which has assisted the facility in detecting contraband, suspicious and illegal activity.

Ofc. Cottrell is an outstanding officer whose positive manner, actions and professionalism reflects greatly upon the Bureau of Corrections and the Office of the Sheriff. Ofc. Cottrell is a great role model for junior officers and an invaluable resource to our team.

Sheriff Strada congratulates all of the recipients and looks forward to another successful awards program for both the officers and civilians of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office.

Pictured from left to right: Sergeant Jeremey Lock, Officer Todd Blohm, Officer Robert Cottrell, Corporal Jason Kimble, Sheriff Mike Strada, Susan McIntyre, Freeholder Sylvia Petillo, Tehmina Ali, Officer Jose Rivera, Sergeant Erich Olsen, Sergeant Andrew Boden.

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