The Law Enforcement Administrators in Del Norte (LEADN) held its 20th annual awards ceremony Tuesday.
Retiring Sgt. Steve Morris, right, gets a Special Recognition Award from Sheriff Dean Wilson. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
The event recognizes outstanding achievements from individuals in six law enforcement agencies.
Tuesday’s ceremony began on a somber note. On officers’ badges throughout the Cultural Center were black ribbons.
“These black ribbons are in recognition of a fallen officer,” said Del Norte Sheriff Dean Wilson in his opening remarks. “Our flags are at half-staff. This is in honor of Deputy Sheriff Ricky Del Fiorentino of the Mendicino Sheriff’s Department. He was ambushed and killed by a suspect.”
After a moment of silence, awards were distributed to out to employees of the California Highway Patrol, Del Norte Probation Department, Del Norte Sheriff’s Office, Del Norte Search and Rescue, the District Attorney’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department.
Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Clarkson was named deputy of the year by Wilson. Wilson called Clarkson a model deputy and hard worker, never shying away from casework. Wilson said Clarkson was responsible for 293 crime reports and 180 arrests last year.
“He is also one of our best field training officers,” Wilson said. “This is a critical moment for Del Norte County because we are hiring and training a lot of new recruits. He has earned our respect. He is one of our best officers, and he does such an excellent job that we want him to train our new officers.”
One of the reasons for the new recruits is the recent retirements of three sergeants, Steven Morris, Bill Fischer and Allen Dubreuil. Wilson said they will all be missed. Morris was the only one of the three in attendance and he received special recognition.
“Hiring Steve Morris to head up our investigative unit was the smartest decision that I have ever made,” Wilson said. “The team that he put together of exceptional officers, investigators and policy agents did a lot of work putting away serious offenders in Del Norte County.”
The Police Chief Commendation went to officer Justin Gill. New LEADN president Mike Redel mentioned how pleased Crescent City is to have Gill back after he moved to Arizona for several months.
“Justin Gill is the type of officer that does things because they need to be done,” Redel said. “He doesn’t wait until he is directed or assigned to do something. He is a self-initiating individual.”
Here is a list of the awards handed out Tuesday:
Officer of the year — Officer Rick Borges
Deputy Probation Officer of the Year — Sarah Chaves
Bar-O-Group Counselor of the Year — Jordan Anderson
Supervising Juvenile Correction Officer of the year — Zach Whestine
Deputy of the Year — Robert Clarkson
Correctional Sergeant of the Year — Cathi Ghiringhelli
Special recognition — Detective Sgt. Steve Morris
Special Recognition — Sgt. Bill Fischer
Search and Rescue
Member of the Year — John Williams
Community Service Award — Tom Kinney/ CA Auto Image
District Attorney’s Office
Outstanding service — Jeff Dickson
Outstanding service — Mike Shine
Outstanding investigation assistance — Forrest Gregg
Commitment to Excellence in DUI Prosecution — CHP Officer Ted Luna
Officer of the Year — Jennifer Owen
Reserve Officer of the Year — Keith Doyle
Special Recognition Award — CA Auto Image
Community Recognition Award — City of Crescent City Public Works
Community Recognition Award — Crescent City Community Development
Police Chief Commendation — Officer Justin Gill