Charles “Bud” Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award

The Charles "Bud" Meeks Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year was established to recognize deputy sheriffs who have demonstrated conspicuous bravery in the performance of their duties. There is one awarded for merit and one for valor.

2020 Charles “Bud” Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year for Valor Award

Undercover Detective
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Florida

Nominated by:
Sheriff Mike Williams, 
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, FL

It is my pleasure to nominate one of our undercover detectives for the 2020 National Sheriffs' Association's Deputy Sheriff of the Year award.

This undercover detective earned the title as JSO's 2019 "Police Officer of the Year" for his work in stopping a potential mass shooting at a local mosque. He has been credited for his initiative and for taking charge to deflate the situation that could have been detrimental to the Jacksonville community.

Additional information is attached detailing his hard work, commitment to this agency, this community and our profession.

2020 Charles “Bud” Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year for Merit Award

Deputy John Curcio (Homicide Detective)
Broward County Sheriff's Office, Florida

Nominated by:
Sergeant Bryan Tutler
Broward County Sheriff's Office, FL 

It is a pleasure for me to bring attention to several great accomplishments that have been achieved by Detective John Curcio of the BSO Homicide Unit and to nominate him for the National Sheriff's Association Charles "Bud" Meeks Deputy of the Year Award. Detective Curcio has served the citizens of Broward County as a Police Officer / Deputy Sheriff for approximately 40 years; as well as a Homicide Detective for approximately 25 years. Detective Curcio, affectionately referred to by co-workers and citizens by his nickname of "Mongo," is a staple in the Broward County Criminal Justice system; known and respected by law enforcement, prosecutors, Judges, defense attorneys, as well as media personnel. His professional reputation and accolades have been well documented for the past four centuries. Throughout his ongoing career spanning all the way from 1980, Detective Curcio has been assigned as the Lead Detective in the majority of the highest profile investigations that have taken place within Broward County. Some of the investigative accomplishments by Detective Curcio in the calendar year of 2019 are as follows:

In 1983, victim Regina Harrison was murdered in the city of Hollywood. Suspect Ronald Stewart was arrested and subsequently pied guilty to the victim's murder charge to allow for the sentence to run concurrently with his sentence for a string of rapes he committed. Detective Curcio just happened to be one of the FLPD Detectives (Detective Curcio is retired from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department) involved in Stewart's arrest for the rape charges.

In 1991, a woman by the name of Lorraine Anne Barrett was murdered in the city of Fort Lauderdale. Several years later, Detective Curcio re-opened the homicide investigation and eventually received a confession from a suspect named Jack Harold Jones. Jones was arrested and convicted in this murder, along with a second murder in Bald Knob, Arkansas. In the decades following Jones' convictions, Detective Curcio built and sustained a relationship with Jones based on his intuition that Jones was responsible for additional homicides.

In November 2018, Jones admitted to Detective Curcio that he was in fact responsible for the murder of Regina Harrison. Detective Curcio re-opened Harrison's murder, and in late March 2019 / early April 2019 (through DNA evidence and the ongoing investigation) the conviction of Stewart was vacated as it was proven that Jones was the actual person responsible for Harrison's murder. Detective Curcio went above and beyond his duties for the course of several decades to ensure that justice was served.

In April 2019, Detective Curcio was the Lead Detective responsible for making an arrest in the March 3rd homicide of John Altidor. This case proved difficult as there were no leads at the onset of the investigation. Through subpoenas, warrants, numerous interview and investigative diligence, Detective Curcio was able to arrest suspect Brandon Woollery on April 2nd for the charge of First Degree Murder.

On July 29th, 2019 Detective Curcio was assigned as the Lead Detective responsible for handling the investigation into the death of 2 year old victim Noah Sneed. Victim Noah Sneed was neglectfully left inside of a daycare van outside of a daycare facility in the City of Oakland Park. The investigation entailed numerous facets including multiple adult parties bearing different levels of responsibility along with multiple layers of neglect, each very difficult to prove to the point of an arrest warrant approved by the Broward SAO. Through a tenacious investigation, Detective Curcio was finally given approval to arrest the adult most directly responsible for the victim's death.

Throughout the course of this investigation, Detective Curcio was still responsible for investigating two ongoing Homicide cases that occurred in the city of Tamarac in June and the city of North Lauderdale in July. These cases were not neglected in the slightest, even with the responsibility of this high profile case involving a child death amongst all of his other cases.

On September 25th, Detective Curcio was assigned as the Lead Detective in a Double Homicide involving two victim's murdered inside of their residence. The detailed investigation, spearheaded by Detective Curcio, led to the arrest of multiple suspects for two counts of murder. This investigation involved multiple investigative tasks including surveillance video review, search warrants and suspect interviews.

Furthermore, Detective Curcio volunteered to be the Lead Detective in several Law Enforcement Involved Shootings that occurred in Broward County in 2019. These three cases, occurring in May and August of 2019, showcase how his investigative stamina and relentless attitude. Detective Curcio's work ethic is a sight to behold as he is never too busy to volunteer for the most highly critiqued police involved cases.

Aside from his Homicide and Non-Homicide cases he is assigned to investigate, Detective Curcio also takes on a leadership role within the BSO Homicide Unit. He is always available to assist other detectives with their investigations and puts the citizens of Broward County at the forefront of his focus. Detective Curcio dedicates his time off duty to helping the community and animals in need, rescuing animals and also taking in animals that other people can no longer care for. Detective Curcio cares for all animals, including dozens birds, dogs, turtles, tortoises, pigs, etc ... This dedication towards the humane and respectful treatment of animals needing a caring home showcases the kind of person Detective Curcio is. His humane and compassionate attitude extends way beyond his professional duties, showing that he has a compassionate side of his personality directed towards his community and the humane treatment of animals, which is not something driven by his professional duties. 

In closing, Detective Curcio is an extraordinary deputy/ individual who is dedicated to his victims, their families, his co-workers, the citizens of Broward County, as well as animals in need of rescuing and a caring home. He takes personal pride and ownership over each of his cases. His relentless efforts include long periods of lack of sleep, sacrifices with his personal life, and exposure to the kind of challenges most investigators do not encounter in an entire career. He goes way beyond extra effort, extra work, and personal risk. His distinguished performance and life is worthy of recognition, and it is my privilege as his eight year co-worker and current Sergeant to nominate him for this prestigious award. 

2020 Charles “Bud” Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year for Merit Award

Deputy Ross Jessop
Missoula County Sheriff's Office

Nominated by:
Captain William Burt
Missoula County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Ross Jessop was hired with the Missoula County Sheriffs Office as a full-time deputy on January 91\ 2012. He had prior experience as a law enforcement officer as a police officer for the city of Hamilton, Montana. Deputy Jessop has served as a patrol deputy, a detective, and is currently one of our K-9 handlers and a member of our EOD team.

On July 7, 2018 our 911 center received a call from Lolo Hot Springs located in a remote, mountainous area located in southwest Montana. The caller was reporting that a man who had been asked to leave the property was threatening people and claimed to have a gun. Due to the location, it took deputies a while to arrive. By the time they got there, the suspect was gone. Witnesses said he left in a blue passenger car with his girlfriend's 5-month old baby. Deputies searched the area but due to the vastness, they were unable to locate the suspect, the vehicle, or the baby.

A couple hours later the 911 center received another call reporting the suspect had returned on foot, but the car and the baby were missing. Responding deputies contacted the male to discover that he was under the influence of drugs (later determined to be a mixture of methamphetamine and bath salts). The suspect made numerous illogical and unintelligent statements about the location of the baby, the most concerning was that he claimed to have killed and buried him but also claimed to have left him with friends at the nearest town which was more than 30 miles away. The suspect's level of impairment rendered him unable to help us even ifhe had wanted to do so. Deputies had very little information but knew they had to begin searching the thousands of acres of woods in an attempt to find the baby.

Deputies and other law enforcement began driving the multitude of roads without any success. However, even if they had several days to perform this search, there are just too many roads to conduct a thorough search. After more than 8 hours of searching, and now well past mid-night, based on a "hunch" Deputy Ross Jessop decided to check a closed road (previously used for an old logging operation) that contained approximately l O years of new growth on it. Deputy Jessop drove over the top of the new growth to the end of the road but found nothing. Again, based on a hunch, he left his vehicle and began searching on foot. Walking along a steep hillside that was heavily forested, he began to see evidence of broken branches and knocked over trees. Several hundred yards past the end of the road and into the woods, Deputy Jessop found the vehicle stuck against a large tree. The baby seat located in the back of the car was empty.

Deputy Jessop communicated having found the vehicle and a small group of searchers responded to his location. Debris from the car, including items clearly belonging to the baby were strewn about downhill from the vehicle. Following the debris field, we began searching downhill toward Lolo Creek and US Highway 12. The creek was raging due to the melt and Spring runoff and left me with a sick feeling that this was where the suspect disposed of the baby. My fear was that we were never going to find him, and had it not been for Deputy Jessop, we wouldn't have. 

Again, based on a hunch, Deputy Jessop decided he wanted to search the mountain above the vehicle. In my mind, there was no logical reason to do so as everything pointed searchers in a different direction. Deputy Jessop hiked for more than 15 minutes before stopping to listen to
some radio traffic and catch his breath. As he was about to begin hiking again, he heard what seemed like a whimper. Using his head lamp, he looked around but saw nothing. At approximately 2:30 in the morning, in pitch dark and near freezing temperatures, Deputy Jessop heard the noise a second time. Deputy Jessop moved some twigs and debris from where his next step would have been to find the baby lying face down in the dirt. Deputy Jessop quickly picked the baby up and discovered not only that he was alive, but that he seemed relatively uninjured.

Deputy Jessop wrapped the baby in his jacket and walked to where my vehicle was parked at the end of the road. I was astonished to see how alert he was, considering the cold and that the baby was dressed only in a soiled and dirty onesie. Before transporting the baby off the mountain, I checked the outside temperature and found that it was 44 degrees. Had we all not been moving during the search; we certainly would have been cold.

I transported them to Lolo Hot Springs where we met an ambulance where we did our initial assessment on the "Miracle Baby." Again, other than being dirty, having some cuts, scratches, and bruising, he seemed to be uninjured. One of the most unexplainable aspects to this
assessment was that the baby was inexplicably able to maintain his body temperature at 98.6 degrees with only one garment. I followed the ambulance to the hospital where he was examined, cleaned up, and treated for dehydration. In all, I spent more than 4 hours with the baby, and not once did I witness him cry or display discomfort. This included the multiple failed attempts at placing an IV into his arm. He was simply too dehydrated for his veins to accept the needle. Ultimately, it had to be placed in his head. I remained with the baby to photograph the injuries and other conditions. I was using my index finger to keep his hand up so that I could show the dirt in his palms. A nurse put a Pedialyte bottle in his mouth. I was.surprised at the veracity of the baby; as he drank from the bottle, he grasped my finger and squeezed harder with each drink.

Surviving the car ride off the side of the mountain, strangulation, being buried, various predators (birds of prey, fox, coyote, bears, wolves just to name a few) and near freezing temperatures, the Miracle Baby survived and endured just long enough to allow Deputy Ross Jessop to find him. Deputy Jessop's tenacity, dedication to service, and his instincts saved the life of this baby and ultimately led to putting a dangerous criminal behind bars for years to come.

The Charles "Bud" Meeks Deputy Sheriff of the Year for Valor/Merit Awards were established to recognize deputy sheriffs who have demonstrated conspicuous bravery in the performance of their duties. The award is given in memory and honor of Charles "Bud" Meeks, who served as executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association from 1989 to 1997 and in 2000. This award is sponsored by Motorola, Inc.

Previous Winners

2019: VALOR - Deputy Robert Kunze III - Sedgwick County, KS (posthumously); MERIT - Sr. Deputy First Class Richard Dean - Harford County, MD; and Det. Cheryl Patty - Dane County, WI

2018 Deputy Terry Harper - Hamilton County, Ohio

2017 Deputy Sheriff Brian Martin, Reserve Sergeant Robert Knight and Sergeant Fred Westerberg - Orange County, FL

2016 Deputies Collin Walfehukl and Christopher Smith - Leon County, FL

2015 Deputy Michael Norris & Deputy Jeff Wilson - Monroe County, GA

2015 Deputy John McCulloch - Franklin County, PA

2014 Deputy William Dunford - San Diego County, CA

2014 Det. John P. Bourque - Kennebec County, ME

2013 Detective Matthew C. Hanlin - Clay County, FL

2012 Deputy Krista McDonald - Kitsap County, WA

2011 Deputy Brandon Moore - Morroe County, OH

2010 Deputy Derek Pope - Alameda County, GA

2009 Dep. Martin Jefferson Lawing - Burke County, NC

2008 Deputy Thomas Meredith - Erie County, NY

2007 Sgt. Gregory J. Rudolph - Wyoming County, NY

2006 Deputy Wayne Koester - Lake County, FL

2005 Deputy Jennifer Fulford - Orange County, FL

2004 Deputy Jeffrey A. Cooper - Jefferson County, AL

2003 Sgt. Mosholi "Mike" J. Rolls - Marion County, FL

2002 Deputy Sammy Brown - Jessamine County, KY

2001 Deputy Jonathan Potter - Brevard County, FL

2000 Agent James O. Hunt - Robeson County, NC

1999 Lt. Robert Schutt - Ionia County, MI

1998 Eryk Todd Heck - Allen County, ID

1997 Deputy Tod M. Thompson - Loudoun County, VA

1997 Investigator Charles Barton - Loudoun County, VA

1996 Deputy Ernest DiMatteo - Dona Ana County, NM

1996 Deputy Roger Rosenberry - Chesapeake, VA

1995 Lt. Lloyd Prescott - Salt Lake County, UT

1994 Sgt. Rodney Stem - Howard County, MD

1993 Deputy Kevin Sowers - Hillsborough County, FL

1992 Deputy Michael Severen - Polk County, WI

1992 Sheriff Inv. Allen Albee - Burnett County, WI

1991 Deputy Devin South - Crisp County, WI

1990 Capt. David Osborne - Daviess County, KY

1988 Sgt. James Wilkerson - Orange County, FL

1987 Sgt. Michael Graves - St. Lucie County, FL

1986 Lt. Jerry Agnew - Pulaski County, AR

1985 Deputy Roy Wrightam - Lake County, FL