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A routine traffic stop for a broken tag light that netted 4 pounds of marijuana and over $7,000 cash won Chiefland Police Officer of the Year honors for Officer F. Macy and his K-9 partner, Dagger.
Macy and six other law enforcement and corrections officers were honored by the Chiefland Woman's Club on Patriot Day, Sept. 11 at Hardeetown Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. More than 100 people attended the dinner catered by Bell's Restaurant.
Karen Brown welcomed the Law Appreciation Night attendees saying, "Tonight we're celebrating your grit and positive attitude."
State Sen. Charles Dean, the keynote speaker, recalled his first foray into politics at the age of 28 when he borrowed against his home $6,000 for a failed first run for sheriff. "And don't think my wife ever let me forget," he said.
"It took me three times before I got to be sheriff," he said.
On a more serious note, Dean urged the officers," Please don't ever, ever, ever abuse the honor and privilege that the public has given us." Their jobs, he told the officers and their families are "to protect liberty."
"Never sell yourselves short on the awesome responsibilities the public has put on you and remember there's always a little pair of eyes looking up at you," he said.
Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas presented Macy with the award saying, "We may be small but we got a loud bark and a big bite when it comes to crime,"
Macy stopped a pickup truck about midnight on August 7 in front of the Pizza Hut on Young Boulevard that resulted in the arrest of one man and the haul of pot and cash, some electronics and a small safe.
The other officer of the year winners, by department, include:
Firefighter Andrew Hofein of the Chiefland Fire Department. Chief John Ward said Hofein joined the department as a volunteer while in high school. He took emergency medical technician courses in high school and after graduation went to Fire College. "He's always there and he's always courteous," Ward said as Hofein beamed at the chief's comments.
Mandy Douglas, public information officer, of the Levy County Emergency Medical Service. Newly appointed EMS Director Trish Seibold said Douglas has gone through so many training courses to become a paramedic who has "gone above and beyond and exceeded" all standards.
Sam Dishman of the Crystal River office of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Capt. John Burton said Dishman's score for the year included 19 illegal deer hunter arrests, 7 drug arrests, numerous gator, turkey and game poaching arrests and one unregistered sex offender hiding out in Chiefland. Burton said among the notable achievements was Dishman's dedication to the job. "After searching 30 hours without sleeping for a man who drowned on the Suwannee," Burton said, "Dishman was on his way home when he noticed some vehicle lights off the road." Dishman went to investigate and caught a man shooting a six-point buck out of season, Burton said, "Officer Dishman was right there to congratulate him on his illegal kill."
Sgt. Richard Reeves of Levy County Corrections. Reeves gave 20 years to the U.S. Navy before joining the county jail staff in 1990, said Capt. Mike Sheffield. The captain said Reeves has worked in all areas of the jail. "It's an honor to have someone who strives to do well," Sheffield said, but then he turned a little mischievous. "He's always coming up with ideas on how to do things better although sometimes they're not always as good as he thinks they are." Reeves, said Sheffield, is " what we call old-school."
Trooper Gabe Martin of the Florida Highway Patrol. Sgt. David Roberts said while Martin's over rest area security for Troop B out of Cross City, he also coaches Little League and is involved in many activities. The muscular 300-lb. trooper is an avid weight-lifter and works out regularly, Roberts said. "He's probably getting little sleep," Roberts said. "He's always getting it done," Roberts said. And one sign that his work is appreciated is that Martin is one of the first troopers to receive the new Dodge Chargers to be used by the Patrol.
Officer Nick Turner of Lancaster Correctional Institution. Maj. Bill Maloy said Turner works with the prisoner work squads, including those who work on the Levy County Quilt Museum and clean county roadways.
Lt. Sean Mullins of the Levy County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Johnny Smith said Mullins started with the office in 1986 and was promoted to sergeant in 1997 and lieutenant in 2001. Mullins is responsible for starting the ATV safety program and teen driver improvement program. Smith also noted, "he's extremely community oriented" having just organized the "Ride To Provide" for the Levy County Association of Retarded Citizens (LARC). The ride netted $10,000 for LARC last year and again this year. "He is one of my go-to guys," Smith said.