Port Orange officers and citizens received awards commending their contributions to keeping Port Orange safe.
Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi awarded several officers and citizens with awards at the Port Orange City Council meeting on May 22, as recognition for exemplary work in the community.
Officer Nicole Avila and detectives Benjamin Benezette and Silvio Portillo were given the Award of Achievement for their work on February 4, when Avila responded to a 911 call surrounding vehicle burglaries on Hyde Park Drive.
She recovered a Brevard County man’s fingerprint from a truck’s door, prompting officers Benezette and Portillo to respond in Brevard County to interview the suspect. The suspect admitted to his vehicle thefts in Port Orange and gave the Port Orange Police Department leads to more suspects implicated in related vehicle burglaries.
The Bravo Platoon was awarded the Unit Citation for exemplary police work for stopping vehicle theft on Kendrew Drive on February 13. Lieutenant Ryan McGee accepted the award for the platoon.
A 911 call from a resident alerted POPD to a suspect pulling on vehicle door handles. Officer Sean Lowery stopped the suspect and recovered several stolen purses from his SUV that he crashed while trying to leave the neighborhood.
Crysta McBride and Jared Alevisatos, as well as K-9 Niko, were given the Award of Merit for a 2 a.m. traffic stop turned crime bust on March 13. McBride pulled over the three men for several traffic violations. Their “extreme nervousness,” according to Grimaldi, is what prompted Alevisatos to conduct a K-9 sniff of the vehicle.
Once Niko was alerted, several items in the car were found to belong to a resident of an unincorporated area of Port Orange who told the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office that the items were stolen in a recent car burglary. The suspects were arrested on eight felony counts and five misdemeanor violations.
Another Award of Merit was given to Officer Justin Sorrell, who took a suspect into custody after the suspect broke into vehicles and proceeded to flee the scene on foot after confronted by Sorrell, who used his taser to stop the suspect. The stolen items were then confiscated and returned to the victims.
Citizen awards were given to Casey Fisher, William Wetherill and Ethan Pickavance for outstanding measures to keep Port Orange safe, alongside the POPD.
Grimaldi said the actions by Port Orange residents to intervene in crimes “show that the residents of Port Orange are willing to be involved in the protections of our city.”
Witherill tackled a suspect on bicycle on Bellevue Avenue, Grimaldi said. Fisher and Pickavance called 911 to alert the police department about suspicious activity surrounding vehicle thefts and property trespassing, respectively.