Short on funds, sure. But the Curry County Sheriff's Office is anything but short on dedication.
That was shown last week when the Oregon State Sheriff's Association (OSSA) presented eight awards to dedicated staff and heroic citizens for going above and beyond the call of duty in the course of their days. The awards were announced during the state Sheriff's Association annual conference in Bend.
"This is a remarkable achievement for such a small Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff John Bishop.
Conner Krieger and Landyn Miller
The organization first recognized the bravery of two youth andndash; Conner Krieger, 6, and his brother Landyn Miller, 8 andndash; for saving the life of their father's girlfriend.
Kimberlee Davis and the boys were at the High Bridge swimming hole on Hunter Creek Aug. 30 when Davis slipped from a rock and fell 4 feet onto another rock. Unconscious, she then fell to the water below and began to float downstream.
Miller reached down and grabbed Davis' arms and started to pull her from the water.
"Using surprising strength for one his size, Landyn was able to life Kimberlee partially out of the water," Bishop wrote in its nomination for the award. "Conner then made his way down the rocks to assist his brother and the two boys were able to pull the unconscious Kimberlee over rocks out of the water."
Krieger held Davis' head while Miller tried to call 911, but there wasn't cell phone service in that area.
Davis eventually regained consciousness and was able to drive to the hospital. She suffered a broken jaw, several broken teeth and a 2-inch cut beneath her chin.
"She's convinced that without the amazing courage and strength of her 'guardian angels,' she would not be alive to tell this story," the nomination reads. "We're proud of what these boys did that day."
The two received the OSSA Life Saving Award.
Curry County citizen Bruce Cockerham was recognized as OSSA's Volunteer of the Year for his service as a Reserve Civil Deputy. Bruce distinguished himself by assisting the Sheriff's Office serve hundreds of civil papers, manning the Harbor Sheriff's sub-station and assisting with background investigations.
"Bruce's expertise and dedication in these areas has proved crucial to the sheriff being able to meet as many mandates as possible," the nomination reads. "When Bruce isn't available, patrol deputies spend the majority of their shift serving these mandated civil process papers. Bruce's contribution to the Sheriff's Office is extraordinary. He is truly one of a kind."
Curry County Deputy Andrea Shannon was awarded OSSA's Civil Deputy of the Year award for her work processing the array of civil process papers that come from the courts.
In 2012 Shannon processed more than 1,100 civil actions, all requiring detailed legal handling. She accomplished this while administering the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) program for the county, processing the issuance, review or renewal of 393 CHLs of the 1,441 issued in the county.
Civil process in Oregon is a mandated Sheriff's function, and a Sheriff can be held personally liable if these papers don't get served.
"Andrea's professional diligence and attention to detail set her apart," Bishop wrote, "and resulted in her being given singular recognition from all 36 Sheriffs in the state."
Lt. Dave Denney received OSSA's Jail Commander of the Year award for his work to meet or exceed state jail standards, in spite of having one of the oldest jails in the state and a staff turnover rate that this year exceeded 50 percent.
"Lt. Denney did all this while also supervising the 911 center andndash; a full time job in and of itself," Bishop wrote. "Dave's leadership to raise and maintain standards throughout one of the toughest years on record for Curry County is remarkable."
Undersheriff Bob Rector was recognized as the Enforcement Commander of the Year for his overall work, Bishop said.
"Most people don't know what an undersheriff is or does, and that's because they do a little bit of everything," he said. "Bob typically works behind the scenes and troubleshoots every critical function the Sheriff is responsible for, and there are many.
He ensures patrol and investigations personnel solve major crimes and catch criminals to keep the community safe.
"He also successfully handles critical issues and solves problems for every division in the Sheriff's Office, and is the director of Parole and Probation for Curry County to boot," Bishop said. "That's why the 36 sheriff's gave Bob this award."
Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton nominated Bishop for helping him in his role as OSSA President.
"I have made sure I put Curry County's needs at the state and federal level, and the networking pays off when it comes to acquiring mutual aid, assistance, technology and equipment when our old stuff fails," Bishop said.
"It also serves well to have our voice heard at the state legislature and the Governor's Office as we rapidly approach our own financial abyss with the loss of federal timber related revenue."
And Marine Deputy Ted Heath received an honorable mention as Marine Program Manager of the Year, recognizing his handling of the program and his work as a trainer for the state Marine Board Academy.
"I can say that I am very proud of, and humbly grateful for, the hard work of all my staff and volunteers," Bishop said.
"These awards give credit to those individuals, but many other of our staff also deserve recognition and could be awarded in similar fashion. We are very fortunate to have this talent serving our citizens, and me as Sheriff. I am very confident that we do add exceptional value to the quality of life enjoyed here in Curry County."