|April 13, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Attorney General Pam Bondi honored five law enforcement officers and four victim advocates for their exceptional dedication to assisting crime victims and their families. The award recipients were honored during a ceremony hosted by the Attorney General to recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“The level of commitment these men and women show to victims is inspiring,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize these heroes today.”
The award recipients are as follows:
· Ms. Fawnisha Brown, Victim Advocate, Tallahassee Police Department – Ms. Brown was the victim advocate on a kidnap and murder case in 2010. Due to her extensive involvement, Ms. Brown was able to bring a small sense of order to friends and family of the victim.
· Ms. Lourdes Mendoza, Victim Advocate, Hialeah Police Department – Ms. Mendoza provided outstanding services to the families of three victims of a brutal murder that took place in a Hialeah restaurant. Ms. Mendoza’s relentless work ethic touched many lives in her community and her efforts displayed the true meaning of victim advocacy.
· Ms. Debbie Shepherd, Victim Advocate, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office – Ms. Shepherd has shown exemplary effort in providing victims with assistance in numerous domestic violence and child abuse cases throughout Islamorada.
· Detective Bruce Ferris, Gainesville Police Department – Detective Ferris has served in law enforcement since 1994 and worked exclusively with domestic violence cases. In addition to developing a domestic violence program for the Sheriff’s sworn and civilian employees, Detective Ferris participates in numerous domestic violence and crisis intervention programs.
· Corporal Donnie Brown, Deputy Cory Horne, Deputy Wayne Kelly, Deputy Martin Lee and Sergeant Sam St. John, all with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office – These deputies demonstrated enormous courage by rescuing a gun-wounded victim from a burning house. After the victim was shot, the perpetrator set fire to the house.
· The event’s key note speakers were Drew and Joyce Kesse, parents of Jennifer Kesse, who has been missing from Orlando since January 2006.
Nominations for the tributes paid today were solicited throughout the state from criminal justice agencies, as well as from public and private organizations.