Law enforcement officials with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office pose for a picture April 10, 2012, after a Lifesaving Awards ceremony at the Range House in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of RCSO)
A dozen law enforcement officials from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office were awarded Tuesday with Lifesaving Awards in recognition of their service to the community.
Sheriff Robert Arnold handed out the awards and commemorative coins to several deputies, corporals and school resource officers during the ceremony held at the Range House.
“I am proud of all of you,” Arnold said, as he spoke to the award recipients.
Arnold also thanked the law enforcement officials’ families who were in attendance.
“Law enforcement cannot do their jobs well without a good support system,” he said. “We have to have the support of our family members to this job.”
Arnold also presented nine officials with Deputies of the Month awards, sponsored by Ford of Murfreesboro owned by David Lee. As part of the partnership, the dealership presents an engraved watch each month to an outstanding official who is chosen by the Sheriff’s Office.
In total, nine people’s lives were saved by the efforts of 12 Sheriff’s Office officials during the past 13 months.
Deputy Luis Parra-Flores was awarded for saving a woman who contemplated taking her own life March 8, 2011, and Deputy Roscoe Sanders was credited for risking his life to save a sleeping man when fire engulfed his home Aug. 3, 2011.
School Resource Officer Carl Watts of Smyrna Middle School was honored for rescuing a child who planned to take his life Sept. 20, 2011.
Sgt. Irvin Turner of Siegel High School was awarded for finding a missing female student armed with a knife who was threatening to harm herself and others in September 2011. Turner calmed her down and convinced her to drop the knife without harming anyone.
SRO Michael Martin was given an award for spotting a man who was threatening people while armed with a pistol in January outside of La Vergne High School and recovering the weapon before anyone was hurt.
Cpl. Greg Wassom was recognized for his efforts during a Dec. 22, 2011, standoff with a suicidal man outside of a home on Cedar Grove Road that ended peacefully. Wassom successfully convinced the man who was armed with a gun not to commit suicide and put down the weapon.
“Our hostage negotiators did a very good job talking him down – basically saved his life,” said Lisa Marchesoni, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, during an interview in December 2011.
Six officials were given awards for saving lives by using emergency medical techniques as they waited for first responders.
In January, Sgt. Trent Givens, as well as Deputies Matt Powell and Shane Vaughn, saved a man’s life in January by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a man who suffered a heart attack at his home.
On Feb. 16, ICE Deputy Christian Wrather came upon a resident having a heart attack and started resuscitation efforts. Sgt. Mike George joined Wrather in performing CPR and saved the person’s life.
And in March, Deputy Jeff Verbruggen responded to a man suffering heart a heart attack. He started CPR and followed the prompts of his Automated External Defibrillator to save the man’s life.
In addition, when Detention Cpl. Joshua Cope observed an inmate hanging himself with a sheet in booking Feb. 10, he responded by lifting the inmate up and cutting him down, which saved his life.
Three patrol deputies also earned awards for their persistence in seizing more than 200 pounds of cocaine last week.
Arnold presented a Sheriff’s Commendation to Cpl. Brian Wright for his persistence in an investigation that led to the recovery of more than 200 pounds of cocaine April 3 in the rural Florence community.
Sgt. Chris Kauffman was recognized for using his experience in the investigation, as well as Deputy Mike Hoekstra and K-9 Balu for locating the cocaine hidden in a horse trailer.
“On behalf of the entire community,” Arnold said, “I would like to thank you all for your dedication and efforts in keeping Rutherford County safe.”