2018 Duty Officer of the Quarter
January through March | Communications Officer Bridgette Turner
Congratulations to Communications Officer Bridgette Turner for her selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for January through March 2018.
On Thursday, March 15, 2018, the MRCC received notification that a pedestrian bridge on SW 8th Street and SW 109th Avenue collapsed with multiple victims. Notifications were immediately made through the on-duty Duty Officer Supervisors. Due to the magnitude of the incident, the responding units were asked to move to a separate channel, which Turner handled for the duration of her shift.
With the large amount of Law Enforcement Officers present from different agencies passing information through the Duty Officers phone, FHP radio, and intercity radios assigned, Turner was able to calmly and professionally maintain control of the chaotic situation.
Turner is commended for her ability to multi-task and maintain situational awareness during this incident. Congratulations to Turner for her selection as the recipient of the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for January through March 2018.
April through June | Regional Duty Officer Alex Pelaez
Congratulations to Regional Duty Officer Alex Pelaez for his selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for April through June 2018.
On Thursday, May 31, 2018, Pelaez received a transferred call from the Miami-Dade Police Department concerning a father who was tracking his daughter’s cell phone due to suicidal threats. The girl was threatening to throw herself into the Miami River. The caller advised Pelaez that he had already lost one daughter due to suicide earlier in the year and now his other daughter was threatening to do the same.
Pelaez gave the father his email address so he could provide him, with the location of his daughter’s cell phone to help locate her. Pelaez dispatched units to the location and updated the call when the location moved into the Miami Police Department’s jurisdiction.
Pelaez handled the situation with a clear and calm mind and remained professional and caring throughout the call. Because of Pelaez’s quick thinking, the young girl was located and could receive the assistance she needed.
Pelaez’s work ethic, professional knowledge, dedication and perseverance make him a real asset to the Florida Highway Patrol. Pelaez is congratulated for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for April through June 2018.
July through September | Communications Training Officer Stephanie Sanchez
Congratulations to Communications Training Officer Stephanie Sanchez for her selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for July through September 2018.
On Sunday, July 22, 2018, Sanchez received a call from the Winter Garden Police Department concerning a domestic violence victim. The victim was very emotional and distraught because the incident had just taken place. She was able to get herself along with her three children out of the house and away from the abuser.
Sanchez was able to calm the victim and obtain the suspect’s information and confirm that he was not following the victim. Sanchez was familiar with the caller’s location and realized she was not far from the Florida Highway Patrol Station. Sanchez directed her to the Station and requested assistance from a fellow duty officer to notify Sergeant Chambers, who was at the Station. Sanchez also notified the Orlando Police Department.
Once the victim arrived and was meeting with Sergeant Chambers along with the Orlando Police Department, Sanchez knew the children were still frightened in the lobby. Sanchez gathered coloring books and crayons and brought them out to give to the children in hopes of distracting them and to calm them down.
During the phone call with the victim, Sanchez remained professional and respectful. By showing kindness and compassion, Sanchez was able to make a traumatic situation a little bit less for the victim and her children. Sanchez’s professionalism and empathy during the incident serve as an excellent representation of the values of the Florida Highway Patrol.
October through December | Communications Training Officer Franco Destin
Congratulations to Communications Training Officer Franco Destin for his selection as the Florida Highway Patrol Duty Officer of the Quarter for October through December 2018.
On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Destin handled three very serious and highly stressful situations, but remained calm, cool and consistent with all three calls.
Early in Destin’s shift, a PAO requested back up to stop a vehicle on the Turnpike. The driver had avoided paying tolls by covering the license plate. Destin reached out to other troops and agencies to assist the PAO in safely apprehending this subject. Later in Destin’s shift, a fight broke out on SR-836. Destin was able to zoom in on the suspects using TMC cameras and give updates to responding units to facilitate a safe end to this incident.
A few hours later, a unit keyed up screaming his ID. Destin immediately tried to raise the unit to find out what the emergency was, but there was no response. Destin put the station on urgent traffic and used AVL to start units to the location. The transmission was gargled but Destin was able to hear a female screaming and the trooper scream for back up. Destin dispatched the Sergeant and responding units with lights and sirens. The trooper advised that the female had crashed while he was “in the car” attempting to stop her. Due to Destin’s quick actions, back up units swiftly responded, and the situation was defused.
Destin’s consistent handling of stressful and chaotic situations makes him an asset to the Florida Highway Patrol. Destin is commended for his exceptional job performance and his willingness to go above and beyond his job duties.