Member Recognition

2008 Duty Officers of the Quarter

July through September | Duty Officer Leah Mendella

Congratulations to Duty Officer Leah Mendella for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for July through September, 2008, for her role in assisting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with providing backup to one of their officers in Palm Beach County.

On August 24, 2008, FWC Lieutenant Atwell Pride attempted to call in a traffic stop to the Lake Worth Regional Communications Center at approximately 9:45 PM. Only portions of his radio transmissions could be heard which left his location unknown and any additional attempts to call him were going unanswered.

Once aware of the incident, Duty Officer Mendella assisted the FWC Duty Officer, Melissa Stephens, by locating Lieutenant Pride on her CAD mapping system allowing Duty Officer Stephens to immediately dispatch various law enforcement units to his location for backup. Officers arriving on the scene found Lieutenant Pride with two combative subjects that he was trying to secure. One subject was subsequently arrested for DUI, and the other for resisting arrest. Without Duty Officer Mendella‘s immediate assistance to Lieutenant Pride, an already difficult situation may have been worse.

Officer Mendella has been commended by both FHP Colonel John Czernis and FWC Colonel Julie Jones for her actions during this incident. Also noted was how this incident reflects upon the working relationship that has been established with the Florida Highway Patrol’s counterparts within the Regional Communications Centers. Officer Mendella exemplifies the very best of what our duty officers are expected to handle at any given time.

Officer Mendella is commended for her prudent actions, and is congratulated for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for July through September, 2008.


October through December | Duty Officer Victoria Davis

Congratulations to Duty Officer Victoria Davis for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for October through December, 2008, for her role in assisting with the highway birth of a baby

On December 12, 2008, at approximately 4:55 P.M., Duty Officer Davis received a phone call from a mother whose daughter was in labor and was on her way to the Kissimmee hospital with her grandmother. The trip to the hospital was approximately 25 miles from their home and she was concerned for their well being. Officer Davis obtained the cellular telephone number and called to check on their location and welfare. The mother-to-be was put on the phone and she advised her contractions were 4 minutes apart.

At that time, Officer Davis instructed them to pullover to the side of the roadway at the 281 mile marker of the Florida Turnpike, while another duty officer called for Fire Rescue to respond. Officer Davis stayed on the phone with the mother-to-be, instructing her not to push, but to breathe through the contractions using the Lamaze method.

It soon became apparent that the baby was not going to wait for Fire Rescue to arrive. Officer Davis then instructed the grandmother to move the mother-to-be to the back seat of the van where she could lay flat and directed the grandmother to be in a position to take delivery of the baby when it was time. At approximately 5:14 P.M., the baby was born into the arms of her great-grandmother.

Officer Victoria Davis did an excellent job as a birthing coach throughout the entire incident. She was professional, encouraging, and comforting during this special but stressful moment. Officer Davis exemplifies the very best of what our duty officers are expected to handle at any given time, and is congratulated for being the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for October through December, 2008.