Published on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
in the Tallahassee Democrat
A laboratory analyst whose work saves taxpayers money on criminal investigations and two Florida Highway Patrol troopers who rescued an injured trucker from a canal were among law-enforcement employees honored Tuesday by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet.
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent who specializes in white-collar crime was named "special agent of the year" and a top administrator from FDLE's Tallahassee headquarters received the annual "commissioner's award" for saving her agency money on major purchases and contracts.
Crime-lab analyst Dan Richardson was recognized as "forensic scientist of the year" for a series of major contributions and extra effort in FDLE's Tallahassee Regional Operations Center. He developed methods for identifying marijuana usage in blood samples and modified the processing of urine samples, saving time on laboratory analyses in criminal cases.
Richardson is working on a new screening instrument that Attorney General Charlie Crist said may save $10,000 a year in toxicology analysis costs.
FDLE said Richardson also helps screen new employees and train forensic technologists, while maintaining a laboratory workload that exceeds his job description. Toxicology analysts are expected to process 110 items per month, but Richardson has averaged 191 items per month for the past 10 months.
He praised FDLE for giving analysts the necessary tools.
"There's been a solid commitment to providing the necessary resources to get the things done we need to get done," Richardson told Bush and the Cabinet.
Linda Martindale, an FDLE operations and management consultant in Tallahassee, got the commissioner's award for coordinating statewide meetings and handling personnel needs of the agency's professionalism program. She also coordinates performance-based budgeting data.
"Thanks to her analysis of procedures and subsequent recommendations, FDLE has saved significant amounts on contracts and purchases," Crist said. "She tracks and analyzes annual figures in order to develop financial forecasts, to make sure FDLE's performance-based budgeting is working at peak efficiency."
Special agent Claudia Mulvey was named FDLE "agent of the year" for her work with the economic-crimes unit in Miami. She was praised for her work in a complex $2 million interstate case of embezzlement by managers of an aviation company and cracking a major identity-theft case involving credit-card manufacturing equipment, fake numbers and more than $28,000 in cash.
"I am honored to be a member of one of the best law-enforcement agencies in the state of Florida," Mulvey said.
Picking up on her reference to "one of the best," Bush playfully asked Mulvey where she worked before joining FDLE, and Mulvey said she had been an FHP trooper. Several troopers, who had come to the Cabinet meeting for the Trooper of the Year award, had stayed at the meeting to applaud Mulvey when she got FDLE's top honor.
Troopers Jorge Lopez-Torres and Carlos Austin shared the Trooper of the Year award, sponsored by the Florida Petroleum Council. They were cited for jumping into a Broward County canal and rescuing a dump-truck driver from his submerged vehicle after a head-on collision on the Sawgrass Expressway.