Officer of the Month for December 2014
Officers Tony Ferro and Amanda Rodonis
This month, we couldn't make a decision on one...so we selected TWO officers of the month!
I nominate Officer Tony Ferro for Officer of the Month for December, 2014. Officer Ferro is a hard-working officer who handles calls in his zone and others with a positive attitude and compassion for the complainants. Officer Ferro makes a fair amount of arrests, but still shows that he cares about the public and the citizens of Gainesville. On December 27, 2014 there were several business armed robberies on SW Archer Rd all involving a white male with a pocket knife. A Crime Analysis bulletin was sent out with the suspect’s picture from video surveillance. The next day, Officer Ferro was investigating a reported theft where a male was suspected of stealing video games from his roommate. Officer Ferro discovered through his thorough investigation that the suspect was desperate for drugs and his physical description matched that of the suspect from the previous day’s business robberies. Officer Ferro showed the suspect’s mother the video surveillance photo from one of the robberies and she positively identified her son. Officer Ferro spoke with the suspect’s mother who stated that she wanted her son to go to jail, because if he stayed on the streets doing drugs it would eventually kill him. Officer Ferro sent out information about the suspect and his car and he was located at the Hunter’s Crossing McDonalds where he was arrested without incident. The suspect’s mother later reported to Officer Ferro’s Sergeant that she was highly impressed with his compassion and professionalism. She believes that Officer Ferro’s diligent investigation may have saved her son’s life.
Forgery, Conspiracy, Racketeering, Possession of personal identification information, Possession of Cannabis – Ofc Rodonis investigated a suspicious incident in which a citizen reported to her that while he was walking in the area of Lynch Park, he was approached by a B/M who asked if he wanted to make extra money cashing payroll checks in the amount of $200 to $300 each. The citizen was interested at first and obtained a phone number from the male. After contemplating it further, the male called GPD. Ofc Rodonis immediately recognized this to be a scam based on previous calls she has handled in the past few weeks and employed the assistance of Cpl Diehl and Detective Harrison. They quickly comprised a plan to lure the suspects out and made a controlled call. Officers Bunevich and Mosher assisted with the operation. The suspects, (From Georgia and Alabama) and Jane Doe, AKA, agreed to meet the citizen at Rosa Parks Bus Depot. When they arrived, they attempted to flee but were apprehended. Further investigation revealed counterfeit checks, printer, computer, check stock, multiple identifications, books containing personal identification information from hundreds of victims, debit cards, birth certificates, and marijuana. As of this writing, evidence was obtained indicating that these suspects have been utilizing numerous homeless people from the Gainesville area to conduct fraudulent deposits using counterfeit checks. There is also evidence that these suspects have been doing this all over the country. US Secret Service has been called in to assist with this investigation.
Warrant Arrest, Possession of Cannabis <20g: Ofc. Rodonis assisted Cpl. Cardwell and 2 other officers by responding to the above location in reference to a wanted subject. Contact was made with the suspect who had the following warrants: Larceny, Grand Theft, Petit Theft, 2 Fraudulent Use of CC over $100 and Crimes against the Elderly totaling $355,000 Bond. Search of the suspect revealed a baggie containing 1.8g of cannabis in his pocket.
Warrant Arrest –On 12/30/14 Ofc. Rodonis received a bulletin for a suspect who was wanted for Grand Theft. A short time later, Ofc. Rodonis recognized the suspect who was standing amongst a group of people in the Kangaroo parking lot. The suspect was transported to CID, interviewed and transported to ASO-DOJ for booking.
Ofc. Rodonis enjoys giving back to the community and did so in December by participating in “Shop with a Cop” and the “Silver Santa” program.
Ofc. Rodonis has a great work ethic and is never too busy to assist her fellow officers on their calls. When on calls, she volunteers to help out anyway she can to lessen the work load of other officers on her shift. Ofc. Rodonis is very proactive and on her down time she conducts numerous citizen contacts which often lead to good arrests.
Supervisor of the Quarter
Sergeant Nick Ferrara
Sgt. Nick Ferrara has been selected as Supervisor of the Quarter. Daily, Sgt. Ferrara demonstrates the qualities our department looks for in a leader. He is a teacher and a mentor. As a former SWAT team member, his tactical knowledge is very high and other officers trust him to make sound decisions.
Sgt. Ferrara’s management style is firm, but easy going. He has high standards for his subordinates, but treats them with respect. Sgt. Ferrara is clearly well liked by all members of midnight shift.
Sgt. Ferrara leads by example. He is the definition of a FIELD supervisor. Sgt. Ferrara works with his team nightly. He responds to hot calls; he’ll take a perimeter position; he backs-up his team on traffic stops; he mentors and teaches.
Sgt. Ferrara believes in our Community Oriented Policing efforts. He has spearheaded both the reboot of the Safety Kiosk concept at midtown and has developed an Alcohol Awareness Detail. He loves to interact with citizens and is a positive reinforcement for how we are perceived by the citizens we serve.
The following are some opinions from his teammates:
“He was very good to work under as a new officer. He was always available and willing to help out. He was a great source of information and a great teacher, whether it be on tactics or legal issues pertaining to the job. He holds all of his officers to a high standard, which, without micromanaging, pushes them to try harder. He treats his officers as equals, and it's something we all appreciated.”
“As a veteran officer, I have worked with and for Sgt. Ferrara. He has outstanding knowledge and a great ability to impart it to others. I still use him as a resource due to his ability. He is an excellent leader and shares any burden that is asked of officers. He is proactive and substantially contributes to finding and solving crimes. He is exemplar by word and deed to the ethos of professional law enforcement.”
Sgt. Ferrara is tactically sound. His prior investigative experience shines through while assisting on major case calls and in the supplements he writes. He also excels at the administrative aspect of supervising. Whether it be handling complaints or dealing with problem employees. Sgt. Ferrara cares about the team and the overall mission of GPD. For all these reasons and many more, Sgt. Ferrara was selected. Congratulations!
Officer of the Year for 2014
Officer Rob Narayan
Officer Rob Narayan has been selected as the 2014 GPD Officer of the Year!
Ofc Rob Narayan is one of the most experienced, and respected officers within the department. His ability to consistently sniff out crime and make quality arrests is legendary. His peers and supervisors are constantly amazed at the sixth sense he appears to have at finding criminals.
Not only is his proactivity to be admired, but his willingness to impart wisdom on the many younger, less experienced officers he works with is more than admirable. During the month of February, Ofc. Narayan seemingly took it upon himself to singlehandedly resolve any burglary activity in and around his zone, before it could occur. The following Loitering & Prowling arrests serve as a testament.
1017 W University Ave (Mother`s Pub): An employee inside the business called to report someone attempting to gain entry into the business via a locked door. Officer Narayan responded and made contact with Randy R. Randolph, just outside the back door of Mother`s Pub. A BOLO from Union County had recently been given regarding Randolph as missing/ endangered reference MIP.
Loitering and Prowling - 1 Se 1st Avenue, Law office of Scruggs and Carmichael: Officer Narayan was conducting an increased patrol in the downtown area when he noticed Titus Smoaks loitering in the area. Officer Narayan watched as Smoaks put on a pair of black rubber gloves and began pushing on the window of the Gelato Company, 11 SE 1st Ave. When Smoaks saw civilians approaching he walked back to the street until they passed. Smoaks then walked into the recessed entryway at Scruggs and Carmichael. When Officer Narayan approached the business he located Smoaks trying to force the door of the business open by pushing the door open with his body weight. Smoaks could not explain his action nor could he dispel Officer Narayan’s suspicion that he was not about to commit a crime. **** SOU later connected Smoaks to a business burglary and a conveyance burglary.
1100 SW 5th Ave: Ofc. Rob Narayan contacted Joshua Larson after he observed him looking into the window of parked vehicles. Larson immediately began to walk away upon seeing Ofc. Narayan's patrol car. Larson gave several inconsistent stories explaining his presence and activity, all of which were refuted by Ofc. Narayan. Larson failed to dispel concern for the safety of people and property in the area and was arrested.
In between these arrests, Ofc. Narayan still found the time and effort to make the following narcotics arrests:
Poss. of a New Legend Drug, Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia - 400 N Main St: Ofc. R. Narayan stopped Todd Desmarais for a red light violation. A consent search yielded a crack pipe as well as 6 prescription Acetaminophen tablets, for which he did not have a prescription.
Possession of a controlled substance - 300 W University Ave: Ofc. Narayan conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for driving at night with no headlights. The driver consented to a search of the vehicle and a rock of crack cocaine was located on the passenger seat. The passenger, Karen J. Wilson, was arrested. Before the body scan at the jail, Wilson said that she placed a baggie of crack cocaine inside her vagina just prior to the traffic stop. The baggie was seen on the scan, but was not able to be located by NFRMC.
These accomplishments alone are evidence enough that Ofc. Narayan is deserving of the recognition of Officer of the Month, but when combined with his ability and willingness to continue his proactive efforts, he can easily be considered for Officer of the Month twelve times a year.
Congratulations, Officer Narayan for being selected as the GPD Officer of the Year for 2014!