Sheriff Knight Holds Awards Ceremony

NEWS RELEASE 19-206 - DECEMBER 19, 2019
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From left: Deputies Steven Klinge, Christian Murphy, Christopher McConnell and Scott Thomas with Sheriff Tom Knight.

Sheriff Tom Knight presented several awards during a ceremony Thursday to recognize employees and citizens who demonstrated exemplary service to their community.

Deputies Christian Murphy and George Gipson (not pictured) received the Life Saving Award for their efforts to save a man experiencing a medical emergency. On July 22, deputies responded to a Sarasota residence for the report of a man lying unconscious in the driveway. Deputies Gipson and Murphy arrived on scene and immediately located the victim who was unresponsive and turning blue. Deputy Gipson began CPR while Deputy Murphy began administering rescue breaths using his agency-issued Ambu bag. The man began breathing again as paramedics arrived on scene. He was transported to the hospital and made a full recovery. Medical professionals confirmed the man survived only thanks to the quick response of Deputy Gipson and Deputy Murphy.
Deputies Christopher McConnell and Scott Thomas along with citizens Bob Beene and Vanessa Little are recognized for their efforts in successfully bringing a man back to life. On August 25, deputies responded to a retail store in Sarasota for an unconscious elderly man. When Deputies McConnell and Thomas arrived, they found the patient on the floor of an aisle with two employees, Bob Beene and Vanessa Little, performing CPR and administering an automated external defibrillator (AED). Both deputies took over rendering aid until paramedics arrived a short time later. The patient regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital. Had it not been for the heroic actions of exceptionally well-trained employees and continued resuscitation efforts performed by Deputy McConnell and Deputy Thomas, the man would not have likely survived.
Deputy John Robertson (not pictured) received the Life Saving Award after he moved a man from the path of an oncoming car. On August 19, Deputy Robertson responded to a Sarasota home to deliver court documents. While the male victim was standing in the driveway, the female suspect got into her vehicle and accelerated towards him. Deputy Robertson quickly pushed the victim out of the way, preventing him from being hit. The driver was immediately taken into custody and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Violation of an Injunction. Without Deputy Robertson’s quick and decisive action, the victim may have been seriously injured or potentially killed by the driver. Deputy Robertson’s actions showed personal bravery and self-sacrifice.
Deputies Steven Klinge and Leo Egan (not pictured) along with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Lieutenant Thomas Christensen are recognized for their response to a motorcycle crash near South Tamiami Trail and Oneida Road in Venice. Lieutenant Christensen was off duty and first to arrive at the scene where he found the motorcyclist with a severe laceration to his upper arm. Lieutenant Christensen used his own belt as a tourniquet to control the bleeding. When Deputies Klinge and Egan arrived, they took over rendering aid until the victim could be treated by paramedics and air-lifted to the hospital. Flight medics confirmed the efforts of Lieutenant Christensen, Deputy Klinge and Deputy Egan ultimately saved the victim’s limb and life.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Special Agent Konstantinos “Dino” Balos received the agency’s Intergovernmental Service Award for his valued contributions to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Through his partnership with the sheriff’s office which dates back to 2012, Special Agent Balos has supported numerous investigations and trials involving federal charges for drugs and weapons. In one case, Special Agent Balos assisted the agency’s Special Investigations Section recover nearly 8,000 pounds of explosive materials and hundreds of ammunition rounds in what is considered the largest seizure of its kind in the state of Florida. Special Agent Balos has also assisted in the conviction of several Armed Career Criminals, one of whom received a 40-year sentence in federal prison. These cases and many others reflect the passion and high level of work ethic and service displayed by Special Agent Balos. His longstanding relationship with and support of the sheriff’s office has positively impacted the Sarasota County community in more ways than one and we are absolutely grateful for his dedication.
“This is a great day for our agency and for the Sarasota County community,” said Sheriff Knight. “These men and women are true public servants with a passion for making this community a safer place. I am especially proud to present the Intergovernmental Service Award to Special Agent Balos who represents ATF with professionalism and a true commitment to public partnerships."