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Opinion: Honoring Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers

08 March 2020  
Honoring local Fire and Police heroes.

Every year in March, the Prescott Elks Lodge holds a dinner and ceremony honoring our local firefighters and law enforcement officers nominated by their departments for excelling in the jobs they do and answering their call to duty. The following are this years recipients and a summary of the citations their departments issued:

From Central Arizona Fire - Captain Rick Olson is a 17 year veteran of the Fire service who demonstrates on a daily basis his care and concern for his personnel as well as the customers he serves. He is a member of the Hazardous Materials response team and is the training coordinator for the team. Rick is the department's primary contact to the National Guard Civil Support Team. Last year, Rick taught a Fentanyl Awareness class to personnel from the Prescott Valley Police Department

He is a PEER support Team Member. Rick is a member of the Honor Guard. The Honor Guard duty involvement takes a lot of time and Rick participates in many events when he is off duty. Not only is he a member of these teams, he is a valued leader of these teams and demonstrates strong leadership to new recruits as well as seasoned veterans. 

Captain Olson has been instrumental in training new firefighters. He takes a personal interest and sees that all of the new firefighters assigned to him receive the very best training.

Rick also provides a good example to all of our personnel by displaying the highest grade of customer service to all the department's customers. 

From the Prescott Fire Department – Fire Engineer Jeff Archer is a highly motivated firefighter who takes on many projects and duties well beyond his assigned position. Jeff provides for much of the wildfire program oversight for the Prescott Fire Department. In this capacity, Engineer Archer willingly volunteers to respond to calls that are out of the primary operational area and has traveled thoroughout the west during wildfire season.

Jeff is a prime driver for the Prescott Fire Department's use of technology to assure a prompt response under the Cooperative Fire Rate Agreement with the State of Arizona Department of Fire and Forestry Management. He is also key to retrofitting all of the department's line personnel with new wildfire personal protective equipment and communications

Engineer Archer is an excellent teacher and has instructed many members of the Prescott Fire Department in how to be better firefighters and fire engineers. His patience, knowledge and experience are invaluable to the organization and to the community he serves. 

From the Yavapai County Sheriff Office – Deputy Pamela Edgerton has been with the Yavapai County Sheriff Office for 24 years and spent 17 of those years in the Criminal Investigation Bureau. She has taken her vast investigation skills back to the Patrol Bureau. Deputy Edgerton has used these skills recently to investigate a fraud case in Cottonwood. This was a complicated case that involved theft, fraud, criminal impersonation and multiple other charges. Her extensive follow up investigation led her to contact several businesses, as well as other law enforcement agencies, that ultimately led her to video surveillance evidence against the suspect that resulted in an arrest.

Pamela's sense of duty led her to look into a call about a missing puppy. After determining that there was a crime, she interviewed the suspects involved, was able to make an arrest and return the puppy to its family. 

Deputy Edgerton displayed her obvious concern about the citizens she serves last August when she responded to a welfare check in Mayer. She contacted a 76 year old woman who was trying to clean her yard, but was unable to do so by herself. Deputy Edgerton contacted the Mayer High School Principal and their agricultural teacher who arranged to have students clean the woman's yard. In addition, Deputy Edgerton was able to get the Mayer Transfer Station to take the trash free of charge. 

Early last year, Deputy Edgerton took a hit and run report. She worked the case as time permitted for a month and a half and was eventually able to identify the suspect through video surveillance and Facebook and was able to contact the driver and make an arrest. On this and on so many other instances, Deputy Edgerton works a case diligently until there are no further leads.

From Prescott Valley PD – Detective Ryan Spriggs is a veteran police officer of more than 5 years. He received the Rookie of the Year award in 2014 in no small part because of his exemplary actions when a domestic violence call turned violent after the suspect confronted Officer Spriggs and his training officer with a shotgun.

As an officer working patrol, Ryan developed a prowess in narcotic investigations and was accepted into the PANT program. PANT stands for Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking. During his 3 years there, Det. Spriggs executed hundreds of search warrants, seized countless numbers of illicit drugs and weapons and took hundreds of career criminals off the streets. 

In 2018, Ryan coordinated the take down of a drug syndicate of 11 criminals who were manufacturing, transporting, distributing and using illegal drugs in Yavapai County.

Det. Spriggs also spends time educating the community about the dangers of illicit drugs. He has given presentations at Embry Riddle, Yavapai College, Prescott Valley Police Citizens Academy, Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy, MATFORCE Overdose Fatality Review Board and various other drug impact panels.

Ryan was selected for an assignment to the Criminal Investigation Section of PVPD in November of 2018 where he is currently solving fraud and property crimes. He is married to his wife, Tori and they are the proud parent of two daughters, Addison and Camdyn. 

From the Arizona Department Of Public Safety Trooper Jonathon Fedel joined the Department in March of 2016 and is assigned to District 12, Squad 6 along the Interstate 17 corridor. In 2019, Trooper Fedel produced the following statistics: 1,173 violator stops, 60 arrests including 24 DUI arrests, 470 citations, 145 commercial vehicle stops which resulted in 105 DVER's and 69 motorist assists. Trooper Fedel also investigated 29 collisions, conducted 15 blood draws and assisted other agencies in the area on 30 separate occasions. Trooper Fedel consistently produces well written collision, offense and incident reports

In addition, last year Trooper Fedel took on addition responsibilities including acting supervisor, law enforcement phlebotomist, level 1 commercial motor vehicle inspector and became a member of the District 12 REACT team. He also attended a Drug Recognition Expert conference in Anaheim, Ca. Trooper Jonathon Fedel was nominated and chosen as the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police - Officer of the year in 2019.

In addition to all of this, Trooper Fedel volunteered his time interacting with elementary age students at Mountain View Elementary School to serve as a mentor. He also volunteers at the Saving Paws animal rescue in Phoenix.

From the Prescott Police Department – Detective Jessica Hugus started her career at the Prescott PD in January of 2012. She quickly developed a passion for the health and fitness of her fellow officers. After attending schools on fitness and personal training she became instrumental in the implementation of the “Fit for Duty” program at Prescott PD.

Her investigative skills were noticed when Jessica was working patrol and as a result she was asked to assist with a child sex trafficking sting as an undercover decoy, a very dangerous assignment. She became a senior undercover decoy who coordinated and trained other law enforcement personnel in conducting these decoy operations. Through Detective Hugus efforts, dozens of suspects were arrested and successfully prosecuted.

In May, 2018, Jessica was selected as the Sexual Assault Investigator in the Investigation Section. In this capacity, she investigates a large number of sex related cases. Detective Hugus works diligently to see the offenders are brought to justice while making every effort to meet the needs of the victims. 

In October of 2018, Jessica handled a case where a 31 year old male had initiated contact with a juvenile female, eventually having relations with the juvenile victim. Utilizing all of her investigative tools, including multiple interviews, a covert confrontation call, search warrant, evident collection and location of the suspect, he was arrested for Sexual Explotation of a Minor. She worked closely with the victim and her family and ensured that the minor received the appropriate victim services.

Detective Hugus has taken over the Department's Sexual Offender Accountability Program that makes sure all registered sex offenders stay in compliance with state laws. 

Those of us who live in this area are so fortunate to have such professional caring first responders protecting our lives and properties. 

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Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.