2005 Members of the Year

 Deputy Sheriff of the Year

Deputy Sheriff Robert Gray, Pilot Trainee

On the morning of November 17, 2005, a call for assistance was received regarding a missing elderly bird watcher who hadn't been seen by his family for several hours and was believed to be lost in a swamp on county wetlands property in south Lakeland. Due to the inclement weather and age of the victim, an immediate search was initiated on both the ground and the air. Pilot Nat Manning and Flight Officer Rob Gray began a search of the area and within six minutes located the victim in a swamp wading in chest deep water. It was apparent that hypothermia was setting in and time was running out if the victim was to be rescued without suffering serious injury. Rob Gray stepped out and onto the skid of the aircraft and, while Manning hovered above the victim, Gray jumped off the skid into the swamp and guided him back to the helicopter through the swamp waters. He then successfully loaded the elderly and weakened man into the rear seat of the helicopter, and stayed behind in the swamp so that the victim could quickly receive help. The elderly man quickly recovered and suffered no serious physical injury. Due to the quick thinking and experienced flight training of Pilot Nat Manning and Deputy Sheriff Rob Gray, what could have been a tragic incident resulted in a loved one being reunited with his family. Deputy Sheriff Gray is a true professional and a credit to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the law enforcement profession.


Detention Deputy of the Year

Detention Deputy Joy Booher

Detention Deputy of the Year Joy Booher - Detention Deputy Joy Booher is a competent, dedicated, and hard-working member of the Polk County Sheriff's Office. In March 2005, Booher exhibited bravery and courage when she rendered aide to the driver of an overturned vehicle she encountered in the early morning hours while on her way to work. She saw the driver lying by the side of the road and in imminent danger and immediately rendered aide to the driver. She contacted county radio and delivered basic first aide to the driver until EMS arrived on scene. Even after EMS was on scene, Booher continued her efforts to assist the driver. In May 2005, D/D Booher was recognized for her teamwork and officer safety skills used when her platoon was tasked with completing a housing re- assignment for approximately 300 inmates located at the South County Jail due to a custody reclassification. She was also recognized in September 2005 for her tenacity and attention to detail when she discovered an arrestee attempting to smuggle narcotics into the jail, and for her excellent communication skills while working with team members to effectively deal with mentally ill arrestees while working in Central Booking. In recognition of her achievements and contributions to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Polk County.


Civilian of the Year

Sheree Young, Sheriff's Service Officer, Special Victims Section

Civilian of the Year Sheree Young - In July and October, 2005, Sheree Young received two separate missing children complaints and began extensive investigations on each. In both cases, Sheree found the children outside Polk County - one of them as far away as Ohio - all without having to leave her desk. Due to her tenacity on the telephone and following up leads using computer technology, Sheree was able to lead law enforcement officials to the appropriate locations where these juveniles were, and have the suspects arrested for their crimes. These examples are only two of many missing persons investigations Sheree Young initiated last year. Her supervisor and peers can attest that she is constantly networking the phones, talking with other agencies and people, and continually trying to locate the missing juveniles that are reported to the Sheriff's Office every month. Sheree's level of expertise rivals that of any sworn detective in the agency. Sheree Young is tenacious and dedicated, and has a "never give up" attitude. Sheree is a tremendous asset to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.



Reserve Deputy of the Year

Lt. Yener Tugrul

Reserve Deputy of the Year Lt. Yener Tugrul - During his more than 23 years as a Reserve Deputy for this agency, Lt. Tugrul has consistently provided whatever assistance the agency required. He works several times per week and assists the patrol shifts by transporting arrestees, responding as backup for deputies, and performing many other important assignments. During calendar year 2005, he transported 486 arrestees to the Polk County Jail and provided backup to deputies on 179 occasions. Had it not been for his assistance, each of these duties would have had to be performed by a full-time Deputy Sheriff which would have negatively affected our patrol response times and effectiveness. During 2005 he worked over 2300 hours performing law enforcement duties, and his hard work and commitment have had a positive impact on our agency and the community. In recognition of his outstanding service to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and his exceptional performance of duty.