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Heroes of Today… Stars of the Future

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Law enforcement officers  and their families/friends gathered together for the Riverside Sheriff Department’s Annual Commendation & Awards Ceremony. The members of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department fill a variety of difficult and demanding roles as they provide law enforcement and related services to our communities.

Those receiving awards were recognized for maintaining superior service and committing themselves to integrity, loyalty, professionalism, and leadership. The Humanitarian Award, Sheriff’s Commendation, Unit Citation Award, and Medal of Valor were among the hundreds of honors presented at the annual ceremony.

Investigator Dean Agnoletto was honored with the Humanitarian Award for his compassion and dedication to a five year old survivor of an attempted murder.  In September 2002, Investigator Agnoletto became involved in a homicide case that touched his heart. A five year old girl, Gracie, witnessed her mother use a hunting rifle to kill her younger sister, and then turn the rifle o­n Gracie shooting her, slitting her throat from ear to ear, and leaving her to die in a bathtub. Gracie survived this horrific event, and from that day Investigator Agnoletto vowed to make a difference in the child's life.

He established a trust fund for Gracie's college tuition, and for the last several years he has raised money for the fund. Twice a year, o­n her birthday and Christmas, Investigator Agnoletto and his family visit Gracie and give his own expense.

Investigator Rickie Simms received the Sheriff’s Commendation for outstanding investigative abilities.  In 2004, Investigator Simms began investigating a series of home invasion robberies, in which the suspects became progressively more brazen and violent. Investigative leads met with negative results and suddenly the crime spree ended. o­n June 15, 2005, a deputy made a vehicle stop and uncovered evidence which was not initially recognized as related to the home invasion robberies. Investigator Simms identified the evidence from the the earlier crimes and obtained confessions from the vehicle occupants.

The Media Information Bureau received the Unit Citation Award. The Media Information Bureau, under the direction of Sergeant Earl Quinata, responds to calls from the print and broadcast media, and markets the Department within the County and across the nation. During 2005, the Media Information Bureau handled over 15,000 calls for service from the media, an increase of 12% from the previous year.

The Sheriff's Personnel Bureau, under the leadership of Lieutenant Shelley Kennedy-Smith,  received the Unit Citation Award. The Personnel Bureau is responsible for marketing, recruitment, testing and conducting background investigations o­n all employees hired by the department. In 2005, the Bureau hired 238 deputies, 48 Correctional Deputies, and 123 classified employees. In 2005, 409 people were hired, compared to 2004 when o­nly 90 deputies and o­ne Correctional Deputy were hired.

The Personnel Bureau had to develop and implement new and enhanced programs for recruiting, testing, and conducting backgrounds to accomplish their goals. The programs included using different media venues such as newspapers, television, radio, movie theaters, direct mail, promotional items, public events, and the development of a Public Safety Expo. In the last 6 months 1016 applicants tested for Deputy Sheriff, a 93% increase in six months.

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