Officer of the Month for December 2014
Officers Tony Ferro and Amanda Rodonis
This month, we couldn't make a decision on one...so we selected TWO officers of the month!
I nominate Officer Tony Ferro for Officer of the Month for December, 2014. Officer Ferro is a hard-working officer who handles calls in his zone and others with a positive attitude and compassion for the complainants. Officer Ferro makes a fair amount of arrests, but still shows that he cares about the public and the citizens of Gainesville. On December 27, 2014 there were several business armed robberies on SW Archer Rd all involving a white male with a pocket knife. A Crime Analysis bulletin was sent out with the suspect’s picture from video surveillance. The next day, Officer Ferro was investigating a reported theft where a male was suspected of stealing video games from his roommate. Officer Ferro discovered through his thorough investigation that the suspect was desperate for drugs and his physical description matched that of the suspect from the previous day’s business robberies. Officer Ferro showed the suspect’s mother the video surveillance photo from one of the robberies and she positively identified her son. Officer Ferro spoke with the suspect’s mother who stated that she wanted her son to go to jail, because if he stayed on the streets doing drugs it would eventually kill him. Officer Ferro sent out information about the suspect and his car and he was located at the Hunter’s Crossing McDonalds where he was arrested without incident. The suspect’s mother later reported to Officer Ferro’s Sergeant that she was highly impressed with his compassion and professionalism. She believes that Officer Ferro’s diligent investigation may have saved her son’s life.
Forgery, Conspiracy, Racketeering, Possession of personal identification information, Possession of Cannabis – Ofc Rodonis investigated a suspicious incident in which a citizen reported to her that while he was walking in the area of Lynch Park, he was approached by a B/M who asked if he wanted to make extra money cashing payroll checks in the amount of $200 to $300 each. The citizen was interested at first and obtained a phone number from the male. After contemplating it further, the male called GPD. Ofc Rodonis immediately recognized this to be a scam based on previous calls she has handled in the past few weeks and employed the assistance of Cpl Diehl and Detective Harrison. They quickly comprised a plan to lure the suspects out and made a controlled call. Officers Bunevich and Mosher assisted with the operation. The suspects, (From Georgia and Alabama) and Jane Doe, AKA, agreed to meet the citizen at Rosa Parks Bus Depot. When they arrived, they attempted to flee but were apprehended. Further investigation revealed counterfeit checks, printer, computer, check stock, multiple identifications, books containing personal identification information from hundreds of victims, debit cards, birth certificates, and marijuana. As of this writing, evidence was obtained indicating that these suspects have been utilizing numerous homeless people from the Gainesville area to conduct fraudulent deposits using counterfeit checks. There is also evidence that these suspects have been doing this all over the country. US Secret Service has been called in to assist with this investigation.
Warrant Arrest, Possession of Cannabis <20g: Ofc. Rodonis assisted Cpl. Cardwell and 2 other officers by responding to the above location in reference to a wanted subject. Contact was made with the suspect who had the following warrants: Larceny, Grand Theft, Petit Theft, 2 Fraudulent Use of CC over $100 and Crimes against the Elderly totaling $355,000 Bond. Search of the suspect revealed a baggie containing 1.8g of cannabis in his pocket.
Warrant Arrest –On 12/30/14 Ofc. Rodonis received a bulletin for a suspect who was wanted for Grand Theft. A short time later, Ofc. Rodonis recognized the suspect who was standing amongst a group of people in the Kangaroo parking lot. The suspect was transported to CID, interviewed and transported to ASO-DOJ for booking.
Ofc. Rodonis enjoys giving back to the community and did so in December by participating in “Shop with a Cop” and the “Silver Santa” program.
Ofc. Rodonis has a great work ethic and is never too busy to assist her fellow officers on their calls. When on calls, she volunteers to help out anyway she can to lessen the work load of other officers on her shift. Ofc. Rodonis is very proactive and on her down time she conducts numerous citizen contacts which often lead to good arrests.
Supervisor of the Quarter
Sergeant Nick Ferrara
Sgt. Nick Ferrara has been selected as Supervisor of the Quarter. Daily, Sgt. Ferrara demonstrates the qualities our department looks for in a leader. He is a teacher and a mentor. As a former SWAT team member, his tactical knowledge is very high and other officers trust him to make sound decisions.
Sgt. Ferrara’s management style is firm, but easy going. He has high standards for his subordinates, but treats them with respect. Sgt. Ferrara is clearly well liked by all members of midnight shift.
Sgt. Ferrara leads by example. He is the definition of a FIELD supervisor. Sgt. Ferrara works with his team nightly. He responds to hot calls; he’ll take a perimeter position; he backs-up his team on traffic stops; he mentors and teaches.
Sgt. Ferrara believes in our Community Oriented Policing efforts. He has spearheaded both the reboot of the Safety Kiosk concept at midtown and has developed an Alcohol Awareness Detail. He loves to interact with citizens and is a positive reinforcement for how we are perceived by the citizens we serve.
The following are some opinions from his teammates:
“He was very good to work under as a new officer. He was always available and willing to help out. He was a great source of information and a great teacher, whether it be on tactics or legal issues pertaining to the job. He holds all of his officers to a high standard, which, without micromanaging, pushes them to try harder. He treats his officers as equals, and it's something we all appreciated.”
“As a veteran officer, I have worked with and for Sgt. Ferrara. He has outstanding knowledge and a great ability to impart it to others. I still use him as a resource due to his ability. He is an excellent leader and shares any burden that is asked of officers. He is proactive and substantially contributes to finding and solving crimes. He is exemplar by word and deed to the ethos of professional law enforcement.”
Sgt. Ferrara is tactically sound. His prior investigative experience shines through while assisting on major case calls and in the supplements he writes. He also excels at the administrative aspect of supervising. Whether it be handling complaints or dealing with problem employees. Sgt. Ferrara cares about the team and the overall mission of GPD. For all these reasons and many more, Sgt. Ferrara was selected. Congratulations!
Officer of the Year for 2013
Officer Jeff Bailey
Ofc. Bailey is a member of GPD’s Honor Guard, Awards Committee and the Employee Advisory Committee. As the GPD Military Liaison, Ofc. Bailey oversees the GPD Military Assistance Program. He provides assistance to our employees who currently serve in the US Reserves or National Guard, as well as to those who have served in the past. He assists employees who are in the process of deploying, are deployed and those returning from deployment. He assists with various issues that arise and acts as a liaison for the members and GPD. While they are deployed, Ofc. Bailey corresponds with them and ensures they are kept up to date with current events at GPD. When requested, he checks on the well-being of their family members back home. Upon their return, he provides assistance to help solve issues and ensure they have a seamless transition back to GPD. When new personnel are hired, he briefs them all on the GPD Military Assistance Program and provides relevant information. Ofc. Bailey also ordered the GPD Military Service Recognition Pins and facilitated the awarding of that recognition. This past fall, Ofc. Bailey coordinated two presentations at UF football games with UF’s Athletic Association’s program: Saluting those that served. This year, Ofc. Bailey has been working tirelessly on a military policy for GPD.
Ofc. Bailey is a consummate team player. He is perhaps the most humble police officer at our department. His extracurricular work ethic does not overshadow his patrol work:
On 09/13/13, Ofc. Jeff Bailey worked a retail theft at 1515 N Main St. where he identified Glenson L. Duncan as the suspect. Ofc. Bailey arrested Duncan the next day. At the time, Duncan was in possession of obvious stolen goods, still packaged and obviously possessed for re-sale on the streets. The Kangaroo clerks said that Glenson was a habitual thief and had targeted their store many times before. Duncan’s MO (stealing items in bulk) and physical description also matched several other cases worked by GPD officers all over the city on all three shifts. Ofc. Bailey researched only a 5 month window of retail thefts in RMS and narrowed down Duncan as the suspect in many. Ofc. Bailey adjusted his work schedule by coming in on his days off and before work. He obtained and reviewed video surveillance in 7 cases where he himself could identify Duncan as the thief. In collecting these videos, identifying stolen goods and speaking with store employees, it was relayed to Ofc. Bailey that Duncan stole many more times than what was reported to LEO, most likely dozens of times. Some had even nicknamed Duncan the “Red Slippered Bandit.” All the businesses were highly appreciative of his investigation. Duncan had18 felony convictions and 16 misdemeanor convictions. He had 7 theft convictions (4 times for misdemeanor petit theft, 2 times for felony – petit theft and once for felony grand theft.) Again, Ofc. Bailey adjusted his schedule and met with two assistant state attorneys on how to create the mittimus so as to streamline the charging and clerking process. Although he could have kept digging deeper into more cases, the SAO was satisfied with 7 cases and will prosecute all as felonies. Ofc. Bailey ultimately charged Duncan with 7 counts of felony petit theft and scheming to defraud via a 4-page mittimus. As these cases were [seemingly] only misdemeanors, no one would ever have followed up had Ofc. Bailey not connected the dots and put forth great effort and work, Duncan would have continued on with his crime spree.
Congratulations to Officer Bailey for being selected as the GPD Officer of the Year for 2013!