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Deputy of the Year

2014 Charles “Bud” Meeks Valor Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year
Deputy William Dunford
San Diego County, California


NSA is pleased to announce that Deputy William Dunford, with the San Diego County, California Sheriff’s Department, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Charles “Bud” Meeks Valor Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year. 

In February 2013, Deputy Dunford was involved in an incident where two of his fellow deputies were injured by shotgun blasts from a deranged suspect who had a history of drug abuse and negative interaction with law enforcement. Deputy Dunford’s ability to both think and perform under stress greatly contributed to the successful outcome of the incident and ensured that the deputies who were involved survived their injuries.

The incident began when deputies responded to the home a to contact a vehicle theft suspect. Upon arrival, deputies located the suspect hiding in the attic of the home. The homeowner indicated that her son (the suspect) was not armed and had no access to weapons. Previous contacts with the suspect suggested the same.

Deputies on scene used various tactics and negotiation techniques to persuade the man to voluntarily come down from the attic. None of their efforts proved successful. Ultimately, a plan was made to deploy pepper spray into the general area where the suspect was believed to be hiding. Deputy James Steinmeyer stood on a table to access the ceiling panel suddenly birdshot pellets penetrated Deputy Steinmeyer’s face and head.

Deputy Danford saw the wound and immediately assisted with a tactical retreat. Deputy Steinmeyer was in a state of confusion and panic, not knowing what had just happened. Deputy Dunford reassured Deputy Steinmeyer that he was going to be fine and was not seriously injured. Paramedics arrived on scene and provided Deputy Steinmeyer with the appropriate care.

With no method of accurately identifying the location of the suspect, deputies established a perimeter around the home. Deputy Colin Snodgrass positioned himself in a neighboring yard unaware that the suspect could see him through a vent. The suspect pushed the barrel of the shotgun through the vent and shot Deputy Snodgrass, striking his right knee and leg. Deputy Snodgrass fell to the ground and was unable to retreat due to massive vascular and structural damage caused by the shotgun round.

Deputies Justin Cheney and Amber Reeves immediately put themselves in the line of fire to aid Deputy Snodgrass. Both attempted to stop the bleeding but were unable to. Deputy Dunford arrived shortly after and observed the profuse bleeding. He had just received tourniquet training weeks earlier and applied a tourniquet while the other deputies provided cover. Deputy Dunford then formulated and communicated an exit strategy that would pose the least risk to all involved. Deputies Cheney, Reeves, and Dunford carried Deputy Snodgrass out of the line of fire so he could receive medical attention.

As this was occurring, Deputy Steinmeyer heard the radio traffic calls for help. He exited the ambulance to assist his partners whom he believed were still being shot at. Deputy Steinmeyer took a perimeter position with and AR-15 rifle.

Several units from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and allied agencies arrived on scene. Deputy Dunford coordinated perimeter positions and noticed from afar that Deputy Steinmeyer appeared to be having difficulty. Without concern for his own safety, he ran to Deputy Steinmeyer and unloaded and secured his rifle and again, without concern for his own well being, ran with Deputy Steinmeyer across open space to a position of safety.

Deputy Dunford immediately returned to perimeter position and directed the placement of personnel while waiting for the arrival of the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail (SWAT). When SWAT and the Crisis Negotiation Team arrived, they attempted to convince to suspect to surrender. During negotiations, the suspect took his own life. Deputies Steinmeyer and Snodgrass recovered from their injuries.

Deputy Dunford demonstrated calm, supreme leadership in the face of extreme danger and his actions during this critical life or death incident epitomize everything associated with the word courage. His actions during this incident are a testament to his dedication and courage as a law enforcement professional.


2014 Charles “Bud” Meeks Merit Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year
Detective John P. Bourque
Kennebec County, Maine

NSA is pleased to announce that Detective John P. Bourque, with the Kennebec County, Maine Sheriff’s Office, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Charles “Bud” Meeks Merit Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year. 

Detective John Bourque began his tenure with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s office on 1997. During this time, he has held various positions within the agency including patrol deputy, detective and narcotics investigator. He has been extremely successful in investigating local drug dealers and users, where he has composed complex cases, managed confidential informants, maintained contact with other agencies, and used the resources available to put offenders behind bars and, ultimately, interrupting the drug trade.

Detective Bourque also has a unique drive and determination needed to fulfill the role of an undercover detective. As a result, he has made numerous sacrifices at the expense of his personal life; all of this to benefit the citizens in the communities he serves.

In 2010, Detective Bourque was afforded the opportunity to join forces at the federal level by being assigned as a Task Force Agent within the Drug Enforcement Administration. Detective Bourque was selected based on his success and dedication as a local drug investigator as well as his reputation to aggressively hunt and capture the very people involved in the narcotics enterprises that poison society.

He has since been instrumental in the successful investigation and prosecution of numerous federal level offenders; some having ties in the drug world all over the United States. Detective Bourque’s efforts have resulted in lengthy prison sentences and the collapse of organized syndicates and yielded nearly three million in assets.

Detective Bourque has also been a key player in managing the Drug Take Back Initiative for Kennebec County. This initiative targets the surplus of unused prescription drugs found in so many medicine cabinets in households across the state. This effort keeps these drugs out of the hands of children, abusers, and the ecosystem.

The Charles "Bud" Meeks Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year was established to recognize deputy sheriffs who have demonstrated conspicuous bravery in the performance of their duties. The award is given in memory and honor of Charles "Bud" Meeks, who served as executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association from 1989 to 1997 and in 2000. This award is sponsored by Motorola, Inc.


Previous Winners

1985               Deputy Roy Wrightam - Lake County, FL

1986               Lt. Jerry Agnew - Pulaski County AR

1987               Sgt. Michael Graves - St. Lucie County, FL

1988               Sgt. James Wilkerson - Orange County, FL

1990               Capt. David Osborne - Daviess County, KY

1991               Deputy Devin South - Crisp County, WI

1992               Sheriff Investigator Allen Albee - Burnett County, WI

1992               Deputy Michael Severen - Polk County, WI

1993               Deputy Kevin Sowers - Hillsborough County, FL

1994               Sgt. Rodney Stern - Howard County, MD

1995               Lt. Lloyd Prescott - Salt Lake County, UT

1996               Deputy Ernest DiMatteo - Dona Ana County, NM

1996               Deputy Roger Rosenberry - Chesapeake, VA

1997               Investigator Charles Barton - Loudoun County, VA

1997               Deputy Tod M. Thompson - Loudoun County, VA

1998               Eeyk Todd Heck - Allen County, ID

1999               Lt. Robert Schutt - Ionia County, MI

2000               Agent James O. Hunt - Robeson County, NC

2001               Deputy Jonathan Potter - Brevard County, FL

2002               Deputy Sammy Brown - Jessamine County, KY

2003               Sgt. Mosholi "Mike" J. Rolls - Marion County, FL

2004               Deputy Jeffrey A. Cooper - Jefferson County, AL

2005               Deputy Jennifer Fulford - Orange County, FL

2006               Deputy Wayne Koester - Lake County, FL

2007               Sgt. Gregory J. Rudolph - Wyomig County, NY

2008               Deputy Thomas Meredith - Erie County, NY

2009               Deputy Martin Jefferson Lawing - Burke County, NC

2010               Deputy Derek Pope - Alameda County, GA

2011               Deputy Brandon Moore - Morroe County, OH

2012               Deputy Krista McDonald - Kitsap County, WA

2013               Detective Matthew C. Hanlin - Clay County, FL