Sheriff Knight Holds Award Ceremony

NEWS RELEASE 18-147 - AUGUST 29, 2018
 Unknown Image

From left: Deputy Jesse Gieske, Lynda Morris, Clayton Reese, Leon Traska and Shaun Martin, Lieutenant Jay Doyle, Assistant State Attorney Karen Fraivillig, and Sheriff Tom Knight.


Sheriff Tom Knight presented several awards during a ceremony Wednesday to recognize employees, citizens and community partners who have demonstrated exemplary service.

Citizens Brad Denis and Jamie Davis received a Certificate of Recognition for their efforts in saving the life of a man who went into cardiac arrest at the Ellenton Sports Complex. The incident took place on December 1, 2017 when the two men were playing hockey with sheriff’s office Deputy Stephen Brown. Deputy Brown, with support from Davis, administered an AED while Denis performed CPR. The three men continued life-saving efforts for approximately 15 minutes until paramedics arrived. The victim regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital where he stayed for one month while he made a full recovery. Doctors explain less than five percent of people recover from what the victim suffered. Denis and Davis are recognized for their outstanding response which saved this man’s life. Deputy Brown was recognized during a ceremony in May.

Lieutenant Jay Doyle is recognized with the Meritorious Achievement Award for his role in the implementation of video visitation programming including phone systems and wireless tablets at the Sarasota County Jail. The process began in October 2017 with a projected implementation schedule of 60 days. Lieutenant Doyle worked so diligently and with support from other jail personnel, the implementation was cut down to only 40 days. Doyle monitored contractors, coordinated installation, distribution, as well as removal and disposal of old visitation kiosks. He worked to identify copyright laws, incorporate new safety features and gather free reading and educational materials for inmates. Lieutenant Doyle continues to liaison with vendors to incorporate future functions of the tablets including streaming news feeds, voice and digital biometrics, credits for educational coursework, and more. The implementation of the program has resulted in a more orderly and safer environment for inmates and staff alike.

Deputy Michael Day received the Life Saving Award for his effort in saving a patient suffering an opioid overdose. On December 22, 2017, Deputy Day responded to a residence where he found the patient lying in a bathtub unconscious with a syringe nearby. Deputy Day immediately administered a single dose of agency-issued naloxone and began resuscitation efforts. Responding paramedics confirmed without Deputy Day’s quick response, the patient would not have likely survived. Thanks to the swift action of Deputy Day, the patient now has a second chance at life.

Deputies Jesse Gieske and Lynda Morris received the Life Saving Award for their efforts in saving the life of a man who attempted suicide by hanging. On May 13, 2018, deputies Gieske and Morris responded within seconds to a residence where the victim’s spouse reported finding her husband in the garage. Deputy Gieseke located the victim, grabbed him by his midsection and with the knife in Gieske’s pocket, cut the rope and pulled the man down to safety. Deputy Morris retrieved her first aid kit and the duo immediately began rendering life-saving efforts. After three rounds of CPR, the victim gasped for air and began breathing on his own. Deputy Morris continued administering rescue breaths until paramedics arrived and transported the victim to the hospital. The victim made a full recovery and has expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to both deputies who saved his life. Deputies Gieske and Morris exhibited extraordinary merit and dedication to duty by saving this man’s life.

Deputy Clayton Reese received the Life Saving Award for his efforts while off-duty, to save the life of a man who collapsed while jogging. On March 25, 2018, Deputy Reese was on his way home from working a special event when he noticed several bystanders on the side of Bee Ridge Road.  Deputy Reese pulled his vehicle over to see if he could assist and immediately noticed the jogger was suffering from a significant medical event. Deputy Reese notified dispatch and administered three rounds of CPR. The victim regained a pulse as paramedics arrived and transported him to Doctor’s Hospital. Deputies followed up with the victim who recovered from the incident thanks to the swift actions of Deputy Reese.

Deputies Shaun Martin and Leon Traska received the Heroic Achievement Award for their response to a head-on collision with fatalities on April 21, 2018. Just before 4:00 a.m., deputies responded to the northbound lanes of I-75 at mile marker 211 for the report of a wrong-way driver and subsequent head-on collision. As deputies Martin and Traska arrived, both vehicles were on fire and the fire was quickly spreading. Deputy Martin ran from his patrol car to one of the vehicles where the driver was unconscious. Deputies worked together to pull the driver from the vehicle through a shattered window, to the edge of the road. Deputies then approached the other car, broke two windows and attempted to remove the other driver. Unfortunately, the vehicle was nearly completely engulfed in flames and no further attempts to remove the driver could be made. Both deputies were treated and released for smoke inhalation. Deputies Martin and Traska went above and beyond placing themselves in great personal harm in an attempt to save both drivers. Despite the fire and gasoline quickly spreading from both vehicles, deputies put their personal safety aside and ran toward danger without hesitation.

Assistant State Attorney Karen Fraivillig is recognized with the Intergovernmental Service Award for her outstanding service for and with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Nominated by the agency’s Investigations Bureau, Karen began prosecuting criminal cases for the sheriff’s office in August 2002. She has a reputation for being a highly knowledgeable, experienced and well-rounded attorney with a strong devotion to obtaining justice for victims in our community. She has built a strong relationship with the sheriff’s office and is recognized for her unparalleled dedication to several high profile cases including the murder of Thomas Jamar “TJ” Mills in 2011; the murder of Charlotte County Fire Department Lieutenant Sam Dreher in 2012; the murder of Jonathan Jeffery which put four defendants behind bars for life in 2014; the homicide of Darryl Davis in 2016; the conviction of an ex-sheriff’s office deputy in 2017; the manslaughter of Joey Hallmark in 2017; and the murder of Kristen Kelley, a mother of three, in October 2017. Karen’s tenacity, work ethic, professionalism and high level of service to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and community is second to none.

 “Today is an exceptional day for our community, our employees and our government partners,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “If you look at our values and wonder what it means to serve with integrity and show fairness and respect; these men and women define those principles. It’s not just what we do; it’s who we are. Congratulations to all who continue to make Sarasota County the phenomenal community it is.”