2014 Employee of the Year Awards

Sheriff Chris Nocco joined Pasco Sheriff’s Office employees to honor the 2015 Employees of the Year at the annual awards banquet conducted Thursday, March 5 at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

Six employees were recognized in different categories for their exemplary work performance during the previous year. This year’s recipients include:

Civilian of the Year


Stephen HiebertCivilian of the Year — Steve Hiebert from the Intelligence-Led Policing Unit. Steve is the only strategic intelligence analyst employed by the Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Hiebert worked closely with Pasco Sheriff’s detectives during a pill mill investigation, and provided them with an in-depth analysis of intelligence. His assistance aided the detectives in their arrest and the conviction of a Pasco County doctor on 12 counts of operating an illegal pain management clinic.

Steve was also instrumental is the programming of newly-designed patrol zone configurations. This reconfiguration allows for better deployment of patrol resources that has decreased response times for deputies, making our service to citizens more efficient.

Mr. Hiebert has also effectively organized intelligence on probationers, registered felons, prison releases and prolific offenders. His techniques have led to a more efficient concentration of certified crime-reduction efforts by our agency.



Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year


Dep. Liddick and SamLaw Enforcement Deputy of the Year — Deputy Joe Liddick and K-9 Ace from the K-9 Unit. Dep. Joe Liddick joined the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in 1996 and became a member of the K-9 Unit in 2000. In 2008, Joe partnered with 9-month-old Ace and the team hit the streets a few months later. This K-9 team has successfully tracked and located 275 people to date, and they hold the record for the most catches in a single year at 75. Joe and Ace are also certified as an Explosive Ordnance Detection Team and are part of the Tampa Bay Regional Bomb Squad.

The pair of Dep. Liddick and K-9 Ace saw another successful year in 2014. The team was able to locate 52 subjects, ranging from misdemeanors, felons, missing children and endangered adults. Deputy Liddick started out the year assisting District 2 STAR units in the apprehension of a suspect wanted in more than 30 burglaries in the Lake Bernadette area of Zephyrhills. The suspect fled from deputies but Joe and Ace was able to track and locate the suspect hiding in a garage. In another case, the team tracked a couple of prolific offenders from District 1 who had fled from a stolen vehicle. But bad guys are not the only ones the team has located. Dep. Liddick and Ace were called out to search for a missing 80-year-old man who had gone into the woods to look for a lost remote controlled plane. The missing man was diabetic and had been missing for 2 hours when the K-9 team began their search. Dep. Liddick and Ace found the man several hundred yards in the woods, cut up from the briars and having a diabetic episode. Dep. Liddick called for emergency medical personnel and the man was soon given life-saving medical attention.

Court Services Deputy of the Year


Court Services Deputy of the Year — Detention Cpl. Mark Bleser. Cpl. Mark Bleser is being recognized by his supervisors as a dedicated and hard-working deputy who has taken on numerous responsibilities. He works closely with the medical staff to ensure all of the inmates get their required medical attention. He is also a member of the Specialized Incident Response Team, or SIRT, and he was selected by his peers to become a team leader of his SIRT squadron. Corporal Bleser is ready to assist all staff members in the facility with any needed moves or details that arise during his shift, and he is called upon often as an area supervisor when short staffed. He completes tasks in a timely manner and produces great results. Cpl. Bleser is adept at noticing discrepancies and is quick to supply possible solutions to the problems observed. Senior staff states that he is a fine example of what all court services deputies should aspire to become and sets the example of a team player.


Detective of the Year


Jody SmallwoodDetective of the Year – Property Crimes Det. William “Jody” Smallwood. Det. Smallwood joined the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in 1985 and has had a diverse experience with a number of units within the agency. This has included a Patrol field training officer; a team leader in the Marijuana Eradication Program; and a corporal in the Community Oriented Policing Unit. In 1993, Jody was promoted to Property Crimes detective and began to specialize in complicated financial crimes investigation, including corporate fraud, construction fraud, embezzlement, and exploitation cases. He served for two years in the Economics Crime unit beginning in 2007, and in 2009 he returned to the Property Crimes Unit where he continues to work today.

During 2014, Det. Smallwood cleared 312 cases of the 381 assigned with an additional 26 referred to the state attorney. This was almost four times the unit average. This was also accomplished with less than 30 hours of overtime. He has been called upon to be acting supervisor, and trains other detectives and support personnel. He assisted the Economic Crimes section with the new construction fraud position and is involved in regulating the scrap metal recyclers. It is not unusual for Det. Smallwood to receive thank you letters from victims for his dedication and support while investigating the criminal acts against them.

Jody is also an active volunteer in the community. He has donated hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars working with the Angelus on their haunted house fundraiser for the last eight years. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police and volunteers with that organization for events. As a former Marine, he has been recognized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars twice for his high-profile property crimes investigations.


Law Enforcement Field Training Officer of the Year


Stephanie ReganLaw Enforcement Field Training Officer of the Year — FTO Stephanie Regan. According to her supervisors, Dep. Regan excels in utilizing her training and experience to assist deputy trainees in developing a solid foundation for their law enforcement careers. She has a proven track record of helping trainees who are struggling in the FTO program to overcome their deficiencies. She consistently provides a positive training environment for her trainees, which helps them to thrive. FTO Regan sets high expectations for her trainees, yet enforces these expectations with patience and wisdom.

FTO Regan has been recognized for her efforts in embracing the Intelligence-Led Policing concept and she effectively shares this perspective with her trainees. Her influence is not limited to the trainees which are assigned to her. She revamped the FTO trainee checklist to improve her ability to comprehensively and consistently address important topics with each trainee. This excellent resource has been shared with other FTOs which has expanded the positive impact of her initiative.



Detention Field Training Officer of the Year


Dep. ValentineCourt Services Field Training Officer of the Year — Deputy William Valentine. Dep. Valentine’s supervisors describe him as determined, enthusiastic, and positive. He is a motivated, committed employee and he leads new deputies with a strong work ethic and sets the example to follow as a role model. Dep. Valentine is continually striving to improve himself and his team and he consistently seeks out new and improved methods of performing his duties. Dep. Valentine instills confidence in his deputy trainees and puts them at ease while ensuring that they have the knowledge and work experience to be prepared in a solo capacity in the inmate environment. His supervisors have noted that once his deputies complete training under his tutelage, they are well prepared and have an excellent foundation to begin their court services career.