NR 24-05 Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Announces Agency Award Recipients

March 23, 2024 - 11:27 am Author: Category: |

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office held their annual awards ceremony on Friday, March 22, 2024, recognizing the many achievements accomplished during 2023 by our sworn and civilian employees.  Also recognized were members of the community who had a profound impact in Brevard County during the year. 


Special Recognition Award

Corporal Lisa Vennard-Medeiros

Since joining BCSO in June of 2011, Corporal Lisa Vennard-Medeiros has embodied the very essence of excellence. In March of 2018, she was assigned to supervise the Jail Chain Gang and it was then, that her remarkable journey of service truly began to unfold.

Under her leadership, hundreds of projects have been completed, each contributing to the betterment of our community. From filling sandbags during storms, constructing trails, removing graffiti, to lending a helping hand in parades, her passion for service shines brightly. Lisa’s “can-do” attitude and formidable work ethic are not just evident, they’re inspirational.

But perhaps where Lisa’s impact is felt most profoundly is in her role as a mentor. She has become a beacon of hope and change for the inmates assigned to her, guiding them towards a path of positive transformation. Through presentations like “It’s Time To Be A Parent Again,” she encourages inmates to share their stories with parents to help them with their own children. Her influence extends beyond just the completion of projects, she is changing lives- motivating inmates to make lasting changes for themselves and their families.

This past year, Lisa, alongside her dedicated team, raised the bar even higher. When the Christmas Light Festival faced cancellation, they stepped in and partnered with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Charity. She worked tirelessly, changed her vacation plans, came in on her days off and went above and beyond to ensure that the event was not just saved but was a resounding success.

Lisa often says, “I love my job and I love this agency.” Tonight, we want her to know that the feeling is mutual. Her actions have set a high standard, serving as a source of motivation for all of us.

For her outstanding dedication, exceptional service, and profound impact on both our community and those she mentors, it is with great pride and deep gratitude that we present Corporal Lisa Vennard-Medeiros with the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award.

Lucy Ross Award

Chief Frank Ross

The Lucy Ross Award is presented to a person who best exemplifies the outstanding qualities and spirit of our lost family member, Sergeant Lucille Ross.  Throughout her career, Lucy demonstrated an unwavering dedication to community service and excellence in her profession.  Lucy was a genuinely compassionate person who never hesitated to assist others in need regardless of the situation.  Her talents really became obvious when she was helping crime victims and their families.  Despite the rigors and demands of her work, Lucy could always be counted on to arrive with sincere compassion and an always cheerful disposition.  Lucy made people feel better, regardless of their circumstances.  Lucy’s high level of caring was probably the reason children loved her so much.

This award recognizes an individual, who throughout their career, has best honored Lucy’s memory by the consistent demonstration of these same qualities.  No one exemplifies these characteristics more than Frank Ross.

Frank dedicated his life to public service in a career spanning nearly 40 years.  He began as a police officer for the City of Titusville in 1966 and later served as Chief of Police from 1998 to his retirement in 2004. In addition to Titusville, Frank also served as Chief of Police for St. Cloud, Kissimmee and Waynesville, North Carolina.  At one point, Chief Ross even came out of retirement briefly to serve as interim Chief of Police for the towns of Brooksville and Orange City, Florida.  In addition to these communities, Frank also proudly served our country as a United States Marine.

Devoutly religious, Frank believed that children were our most precious resource and the most important facet of policing was service to the community and restoration of the victims of crime.  He believed every opportunity to repair the trauma suffered by a child victim should be the major goal of each investigation.  He was an innovator, a proponent of the Children’s Advocacy Center and fierce advocate for victims, in particular the victims of abuse.

During his career, he mentored many officers who rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Chiefs of Police within Brevard County.  Each of these law enforcement professionals took with them the lessons learned from Frank that victims of crime deserved every available resource necessary to heal their wounds, both physical and mental.  In retirement, he was used as a resource and consultant to officers throughout the country, providing his insight in the best practices for law enforcement organizations to operate.

This past September we lost not only an exceptional law enforcement officer, but a great friend to our agency.  However, his legacy lives on through the many officers he mentored, lives he touched, and citizens he served.  Chief Frank Ross truly embodies the qualities of Lucy and we are honored to recognize him as this year’s Lucy Ross Award recipient.

Volunteer of the Year 

COP Linda Allen

For the past five years, COP Linda Allen has been supporting the daily operations of North Precinct and Project Lifesaver.  Project Lifesaver is designed for “at risk” individuals with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Autism and Down Syndrome who are at constant risk to the life-threatening behavior of wandering.

This project requires consistent communication with the participant and their family members to ensure they are constantly protected.  At any given time, COP Allen is responsible for the deployment and maintenance of tracking devices provided to as many as 29 individuals living in north Brevard County from Port St. John to Scottsmoor.

During 2023, COP Allen volunteered approximately 200 hours while assisting both North Precinct and Project Lifesaver.  Even while out of the office for an extended period of time, she coordinated with each of the participants and their families to ensure they would not need to have a battery or bracelet replaced prior to her return.

North Precinct Commander Carlos Reyes could not be more complimentary of COP Allen’s work and determination.  He describes her as a valued member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office who consistently provides a much needed service to the precinct and Project Lifesaver participants.

For her dedication and commitment to the citizens of our community, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to recognize COP Linda Allen as our 2023 Volunteer of the Year.

Partnership Award

Al Boettjer

For the past 60 years, former Air Force Sergeant Al Boettjer has proudly focused his life on military, law enforcement, and correctional services.  In the law enforcement sector, he served the New York City Police department for 20 years prior to being hired by the Florida Department of Corrections.  While working for DOC at the Hamilton Correctional Institute, he was recognized by the Florida Police Benevolent Association as someone who could partner closely with their organization and others to improve working conditions.

As a 20-year employee of Coastal Florida PBA, Al served as a staff representative for deputy sheriffs, police officers and public employees throughout Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie counties.

He is currently the chair of Recovery Ministries and of the ASIS Law Enforcement Awards.  He is also the Vice President of the Brevard County 10-13 Club and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the National 10-13 Club.  Previously to these roles, Al assisted the Brevard County Public Safety Charity and served as president of the Brevard 10-13 Club.  Rarely is there an event that supports our public service members in the Central Florida region where Al is not involved providing friendship, support and a partnership voice.

For his years of service and dedication, we are proud to recognize Al Boettjer with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office 2023 Partnership Award.

Citizen of the Year 

Travis Furst

On a fateful Saturday night in November, Travis Furst was attending a sporting event with his family at Viera Regional Park.  He had no way of knowing that in the next few hours, his life would forever be changed.  Just down the street from the ball fields, a domestic disturbance was unfolding inside a vehicle parked at a nearby apartment complex.  During this disturbance, the male subject fired a shot as the female was leaving the vehicle.  While deputies were responding to the female’s call for assistance, the male fled the scene still armed with the handgun.

The male eventually made his way to the park where he brandished the firearm and began threatening harm to both spectators and participants.  Several of the victims fled from the area on foot while others barricaded themselves in bathrooms in an attempt to escape the armed assailant.  As the male continued through the park, he broke into a vehicle and attempted to start it up so he could drive away.  Unsuccessful, the male noticed another vehicle beginning to leave the parking area, this vehicle was being driven by Mr. Furst.  The armed subject headed towards Mr. Furst’s vehicle, displaying the firearm while threatening to shoot him.  Faced with no other option, Mr. Furst struck the armed male with his vehicle rendering him incapacitated stopping the threat to both himself and the other citizens in the park.

The actions taken in that split second likely saved not only his life, but possibly averted what could have been a mass casualty event and potentially saving multiple citizens from harm. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to recognize Travis Furst as our Citizen of the Year.

Reserve Deputy of the Year

Reserve Deputy James Hoffman

Since joining the agency in September 2020, Reserve Deputy James Hoffman has consistently demonstrated a level of service that sets him apart as a valuable asset.

Throughout 2023, Reserve Deputy Hoffman participated in an impressive 40 posted Reserve Unit details recording in excess of 884 hours of volunteer service. This selfless contribution not only reflects his dedication to the agency but also underscores his genuine commitment to making a positive impact within the community.

Deputy Hoffman’s successful completion of the BCSO Field Training and Evaluation Program is a testament to his professionalism and competence. This accomplishment has enabled him to seamlessly assist at various precincts, particularly during manpower shortages, thereby proving instrumental in supporting patrol operations. His versatility and willingness to step in when needed makes him a valuable asset to both the Reserve Unit and the agency. Deputy Hoffman’s positive attitude and collaborative spirit significantly contribute to fostering a supportive and cohesive work environment.

In recognition of his exemplary service, dedication and remarkable achievements, we are proud to honor James Hoffman as this year’s Reserve Deputy of the Year.

Public Safety Telecommunicator of the Year

Shift Supervisor Andrew LeBeau

Shift Supervisor Andrew “Andy” LeBeau joined the BCSO Communication Center in July of 2013 as a Communications Officer and added the duties of Communications Training Officer and Lead Worker in August of 2021.

This year, Andy participated in multiple high-priority calls, demonstrating his commitment to excellence during each one. However, one particular call summarizes the professionalism and commitment to not only our agency but the citizens of Brevard County.

While covering West Melbourne Police Department’s City radio channel, Shift Supervisor LeBeau answered a 911 call in reference to a shooting incident. Within 45 seconds of receiving the call, he was able to ascertain enough information, although limited, to start dispatching units to this priority call.

He continued to ask questions regarding both the suspect and potential victim, as the caller was not with either and did not know their locations. Although the caller had little information to provide, Supervisor LeBeau was able to obtain descriptions for vehicles believed to be involved in the incident. Additionally, multiple calls were received by other Communications Center personnel regarding the same incident, requiring him to sort through the information and relay anything new to the responding units.

While the first units were arriving on scene, Supervisor LeBeau continued to coordinate with surrounding precinct dispatchers and agencies to have additional units respond and look for the vehicles involved. He coordinated a radio patch to bridge the communication gap while the agencies worked together. For the next 30-minutes, Supervisor LeBeau worked this incident and provided detailed pass-on to the dispatcher taking over the radio.

Managing a chaotic incident, either on the phone or dispatching it on the radio, is not foreign to Supervisor LeBeau. He thrives under pressure and always maintains a very calm and collected demeanor, even in the most stressful of situations.

Through his excellent performance, it is evident that Andy demonstrates unwavering devotion to his colleagues, the deputies of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Brevard County with each passing year.  The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to name Andrew LeBeau as this year’s Public Safety Telecommunicator of the Year.

Employee of the Year

Human Resources Support Specialist Debbie Moody

Human Resources Support Specialist Debbie Moody serves as one of the friendly faces of our Human Resources team, where her positive and helpful demeanor shines through in every interaction. On a monthly basis, she handles an impressive workload responding to approximately 1,000 phone calls, accommodating over 200 in-person visitors, and managing a significant volume of email correspondence. Despite the demanding nature of her responsibilities, Debbie remains consistently polite, friendly, and always willing to go the extra mile to assist anyone in need.

One of Debbie’s significant responsibilities is the coordination and facilitation of the agency’s swear-in ceremonies, a task she executes with utmost precision and dedication. Ensuring the success of each ceremony, Debbie meticulously manages every detail from participant coordination to event logistics. Her ability to organize and oversee these ceremonies is truly commendable, especially considering the challenges that occasionally arise that require her to adapt swiftly to changes in dates, times, or venues. In 2023 alone, she skillfully organized a dozen ceremonies, successfully recognizing over 300 agency members who were newly hired, changed assignment, or had received a promotion.

Debbie’s remarkable 25-year tenure with BCSO reflects her longstanding commitment to supporting the agency in various capacities. Throughout her career, she has worked in both Human Resources and Career Development performing duties ranging from employment records, benefits, recruitment, background investigation and the coordination of the on-boarding of new agency members.  Debbie approaches every role with enthusiasm, professionalism, and an unwavering dedication that sets a high standard for all team members. Her positive attitude is contagious, creating a workplace environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Debbie’s impact on the Human Resources Unit and this agency as a whole is immeasurable, and she truly deserves this recognition as the 2023 Employee of the Year.

Corrections Deputy of the Year

Corrections Corporal Jose Ortiz

Corporal Jose Ortiz joined the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Deputy in August of 2016.  He became a member of the Crisis Response Team in March of 2018, was assigned as a Field Training Officer in May of 2018 and promoted to Corporal in October of 2022.

While processing an inmate and watching as he changed into a jail issued uniform, Corporal Ortiz recognized the subtle acts of an inmate trying to bring an illegal substance into the Jail Complex.  Due to the inmate’s refusal to cooperate by not opening his hand to allow him to inspect for contraband, Corporal Ortiz immediately had the inmate turn and face the wall to handcuff him.  During the handcuffing procedure, the inmate attempted to ingest what he had been concealing.  Corporal Ortiz was able to stop the inmate and recover the contraband, which was found to be four small baggies that contained what he believed to be narcotics.  Upon further questioning, the inmate admitted that the baggies contained “molly” and heroin.

Due to Corporal Ortiz’s extensive experience, his fast response to the situation stopped the illegal substance being brought into our facility.

On another occasion, Corporal Ortiz was escorting an inmate when the inmate began to tell Corporal Ortiz that he “needed forgiveness” for something he had done.  The inmate told Corporal Ortiz that while babysitting, he had sexually abused a member of his family.

Corporal Ortiz checked the booking documents of the inmate and learned that he may have admitted to an undiscovered crime.  Due to this incident occurring in another jurisdiction, Corporal Ortiz immediately contacted that local agency with the information he had obtained and an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse was initiated.  Corporal Ortiz provided a sworn video/audio recorded statement attesting to the inmate’s statement.  Based on the results of the criminal investigation, the inmate was charged with two counts of Lewd or Lascivious Conduct.

These two incidents exemplify the dedication, experience and professionalism Corporal Ortiz displays on a daily basis.  Through his actions, dangerous drugs were intercepted before they could enter the facility and a child molester was identified and prosecuted allowing the healing process to begin for the child victim.

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is proud to recognize Corporal Jose Ortiz as our Corrections Deputy of the Year.

Deputy of the Year

Sergeant Matt Murphy and Sergeant Josh Williams

In a heartening display of bravery and selflessness, Sergeant Matt Murphy and Sergeant Josh Williams demonstrated exceptional courage on the morning of August 19, 2023. Responding to a distress call from citizens who spotted smoke billowing out of a commercial building on North Atlantic Avenue in the City of Cape Canaveral, these two deputies immediately acted, ultimately saving multiple lives and animals.

Upon arriving at the scene, Sergeants Murphy and Williams observed the commercial building’s roof engulfed in flames. Realizing the gravity of the situation, they sprinted to the back of the building, discovering that adjacent residences were also on fire. With flames reaching a height of thirty feet and entering the eaves of the nearby residence on Madison Avenue, the officers knew immediate action was required.

Undeterred by the intensifying fire, Murphy and Williams banged on the doors of the adjacent units. When receiving no response, they made the split-second decision to force entry into apartment #1, where they found the occupants asleep and unaware of the impending danger. Despite the rapidly spreading fire, the officers successfully woke and evacuated the adults and their two sons, aged seven and nine.

As the family was being led to safety, the mother informed Sergeant Williams of several hamsters and cats still inside the residence. Despite the increasing danger, Sergeant Williams re-entered the burning building, successfully rescuing the hamsters, though the cats were unfortunately unreachable due to the fire’s intensity.

Moving swiftly to unit #2, Murphy and Williams alerted the occupant and his dog, evacuating them just moments before both units were fully engulfed in flames.

Learning the Red Cross would not be able to provide immediate assistance, Sergeant Murphy and Sergeant Williams took it upon themselves to secure accommodations for the families who were displaced by the fire. Through their efforts, accommodations at a local hotel were arranged at no cost to the families, offering them a temporary respite during this critical time.

In the days following the fire, one of the occupants shared her experience in an interview that highlighted the confusion and devastation she felt during the incident and expressed gratitude for the timely rescue.

Sergeant Murphy and Sergeant Williams exhibited quick thinking, disregard for personal safety, and selfless actions that undoubtedly saved lives. The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office recognizes and honors these brave officers for their heroic efforts by recognizing them as our Deputies of the Year.

For additional information concerning this News Release, please call PIO Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at 321-501-7594.