Sheriff's Office Honorees
Sheriff's Office Holds Annual Awards Ceremony
Santa Barbara - September 19th, 2013
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office employees gathered at Earl Warren
Showgrounds today, September 19, 2013, for the agency’s annual Department Awards
Luncheon. Sponsored by the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, the ceremony followed
the Attorney General’s Zone Meeting and Awards Ceremony, which was held earlier
in the day at the same location. Some of the same Sheriff’s personnel were
honored at both events. The Department Awards recognize sworn officers,
professional staff and citizens alike for exceptional performance.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill
Brown had the honor of handing out the awards and said, "The men and women of
the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office perform outstanding work each and
every day, but sometimes what they do is deserving of special recognition. Today
we honor those members of our agency, and two members of our community, who have
exhibited extraordinary bravery, dedication to duty and selfless service to
The agency’s rarely awarded Medal
of Valor went to Senior Deputy Chris Gotschall, who also received an H. Thomas
Guerry Award for Valor in May and today an Attorney General’s award. Senior
Deputy Gottschall was recognized for his bravery and resolute action stemming
from an incident in October of 2012. Sr. Deputy Gotschall responded, alone, to
a shots fired call. After warning innocent bystanders to evacuate the area he
was confronted by and shot an armed suspect who brandished a loaded handgun. His
actions potentially saved many lives.
There were an unprecedented
number of officer-involved shootings in Santa Barbara County in 2012, and two
other Sheriff’s Deputies were recognized for their bravery during one such
encounter. Sgt. Rob Wilkinson and Sergeant (then Senior Deputy) Marc Hammill
were presented with Meritorious Service Awards for their actions during an
incident at a residence in the Santa Maria area in April of 2011. They were
confronted by a male suspect who had displayed irrational behavior and
threatened the deputies with a large concrete paving brick. During a violent
attempt to take the suspect into custody, Deputy Hammill was struck in the head
with the brick, sustaining serious injuries. When the suspect then attacked the
deputies with a wooden chair, he was shot and killed. Both Wilkinson and Hammill
were recognized for the leadership and courage they exhibited during this
Custody Sergeant Timothy Morgan,
who also received an Attorney General’s Award today, received the Meritorious
Service Award for the way he handled a viscous attack by an inmate he had
transported to court in October of 2011. In a pre-meditated attack, the inmate
used a homemade instrument to stab Custody Sgt. Morgan in the head. Custody Sgt.
Morgan was recognized for his ability to fight off and subdue the inmate and for
his dedication to return to work that same day after receiving medical treatment
at a hospital.
Custody Deputy Christina Ascedo
was given a Meritorious Service Award for helping save the lives of two inmates,
on two separate occasions in 2012, when the inmates were discovered in their
cells not breathing. In both cases, Custody Deputy Ascedo applied life saving
measures until paramedics arrived. Both inmates survived as a result of Custody
Deputy Ascedo’s actions. She was recognized for her swift response and
dedication to the welfare of others.
Deputy Julio Gutierrez, also
recognized today with an Attorney General’s award, received a Meritorious
Service Award as well. Deputy Gutierrez, along with a former University of
California Santa Barbara Police Officer, is credited with rescuing a woman who
was drowning at Goleta Beach in March of 2012, then applying life-saving
measures until paramedics arrived.
Public Safety Dispatchers were
recognized as a group with the Department’s Unit Citation Award for their
performance during 2012. Sheriff’s Office dispatchers handled approximately
284,000 calls that year and on a typical day dispatched over 500 calls for law
enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. In 2012, eight lives were
saved as a result of Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) procedures and the
Dispatch Center’s overall compliance score exceeded national standards. The
dispatchers were honored as a group for their response times, ability to
multi-task, professionalism and teamwork.
outstanding citizens were honored by the Sheriff’s Office as well.
Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse President John Wilczak was given an Exceptional
Citizen Award for his ongoing support of the Sheriff’s Office and the community
at large. Mr. Wilczak played a key role in the formation of the Sheriff’s
Benevolent Posse, a non-profit charitable organization, and was instrumental in
raising funds to help purchase Copter 3, to buy equipment for the Sheriff’s
Special Enforcement Team, and to keep the Drug Abuse Resistance Program (DARE)
going during difficult financial times. Mr. Wilczak was recognized for his
extraordinary commitment to help provide resources for the Sheriff’s Office,
beyond those obtainable via the agency’s traditional budget, that helps
safeguard our community.
United States Air Force Airman
David Russell, who also received an Attorney General’s Award today, was
presented with the Exceptional Citizen Award from the Sheriff’s Office. Mr.
Russell was recognized for his quick thinking in September of 2012 when he heard
gunfire and came upon a homicide scene in Orcutt. Mr. Russell managed to obtain
the gunman’s license plate number and direct a citizen to call 911. He also
provided first aid to two shooting victims until paramedics arrived. His
decisive action is credited with helping save the life of one victim, and for
providing the Sheriff’s Office with vital information that led to the capture of
the murder suspect.
For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover
Business Hours: (805) 681-4100