Sheriff Hoffman Holds Awards Ceremony

NEWS RELEASE 22-032 - MAY 24, 2022

Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman presented several awards during a ceremony Tuesday to recognize employees who demonstrated exemplary service to their community.

Detective Carlos Verdoni received the Life Saving Award for his efforts to render aid to a woman who was choking. On January 22, Verdoni was attending a social gathering while off duty when a fellow attendee was suddenly unable to breathe and made the universal sign for choking. Without hesitation, Verdoni relied on his training to quickly assess the situation and began performing life saving measures. He was eventually able to dislodge the item and clear the woman’s airway. She regained her breath and recovered without needing any additional medical care. Detective Verdoni’s quick actions in a life-threatening situation undoubtedly saved the woman’s life.

Corrections Sergeant Jessica Evanish and Corrections Deputy Brandon Goldberg received the Life Saving Award for their efforts to save an inmate who attempted suicide. In February, Sergeant Evanish and Deputy Goldberg responded with fellow Corrections personnel for a suicide attempt in the East Wing of the Sarasota County Correctional Facility. When they arrived at the cell, they found an inmate with a self-inflicted wound to his neck. Deputy Goldberg immediately rendered aid by putting pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. Deputies continued providing first aid while maintaining security as paramedics transported the inmate to the hospital. Due to the severity of the injury, the inmate underwent emergency surgery and eventually recovered. It is through their timely intervention that Sergeant Evanish and Deputy Goldberg were able to save the inmate’s life.

Forensic Chemists Alison Kaskey and Nancy Ludwigsen received the Meritorious Achievement Award for their efforts in successfully achieving accreditation status for the agency’s Drug Lab. They began the process in June 2020 by applying for a grant from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD). Through this accreditation initiative, Kaskey and Ludwigsen both completed an ASCLD mentorship program over the course of nine months while also maintaining their day-to-day responsibilities in the lab. In October 2021, assessors conducted a three-day on-site visit to review policies and procedures, audit casework and documentation, conduct personnel surveys, and inspect instrumentation. Based on the assessment, the A2LA Accreditation Council found the sheriff’s office Drug Lab to be in full compliance with all internationally recognized laboratory standards for forensic testing of controlled substances. It is through the hard work and dedication of Forensic Chemists Kaskey and Ludwigsen that A2LA Accreditation was awarded on November 19, 2021.

Members of the Traffic Unit received the Unit Citation Award for their achievements during 2021. Currently comprised of 18 deputies and four sergeants, the Traffic Unit's mission is focused on enforcing traffic laws, investigating crashes, and arresting impaired drivers. Traffic Unit deputies were frequently reassigned to a wide variety of events, including parades, motorcycle escorts, educational demonstrations, along with seasonal celebrations such as Spring Break, Fourth of July, and more. In October 2021, members of the unit were tasked with participating in the funeral escort of fallen Deputy Joshua Welge, the first line of duty death in the sheriff’s office 100-year history. Throughout 2021, the Traffic Unit investigated nearly 4,000 crashes, made 638 DUI arrests, issued more than 2,000 written warnings and nearly 14,000 civil citations. The Unit Citation award was presented to Sergeants Darrell Seckendorf, Samuel Lutz, Charles Flint, Danny Schumann, and Deputies Mike Feltovic, Jimmy Adams, Carrie Luce, Simon Franks, Michael Mitchell, Matthew Binkley, Thomas Shirley, Matthew Kostyal, Gregory Pufahl, Luke Heyman, Jeremy Barr, Timothy Brenckle, Kyle Martin, Matthew Ackley, Joshua Sanders, Cory Pierson, Daniel  Watson, and Daniel  Davenport.

“As Sheriff, these are the days I am most proud of,” commented Sheriff Hoffman. “The men and women we are honoring today go beyond the call of duty. I am very proud of these members, and their community should be as well.”