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Deputy of the Year

2015 Charles “Bud” Meeks Valor Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year

Deputy Michael Norris & Deputy Jeff Wilson

Monroe County, Georgia
 

On Saturday, September 13, 2014, deputies Jeff Wilson and Michael Norris responded to a home in southern Monroe County to provide assistance to a man threatening suicide with a handgun. 

When both deputies arrived at the home, a family member was standing outside speaking to Monroe County dispatchers on the telephone. Because a weapon was known to be involved, per standard practice, Monroe County dispatchers contacted Emergency Services who were standing by with an ambulance.

The deputies walked to the front door of the house, with their weapons drawn, in order to make contact with the suicidal man. Deputy Norris pushed the door open with his foot and the man inside the home quickly fired upon the deputies, immediately shooting Deputy Norris in the head and leg. The man continued firing at Deputy Wilson as he attempted to dodge the man’s gunfire. While attempting to take cover behind his patrol vehicle, Deputy Wilson was shot three times. Deputy Wilson returned fire and shot the gunman in the leg at which point the gunman surrendered. Loosing blood rapidly and nearly losing consciousness, Deputy Wilson managed to disarm the gunman and handcuff him before passing out.

Emergency Services responded and transported Deputies Wilson and Norris to the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Deputy Norris was declared brain dead the next day. Per Deputy Norris’ wishes his organs were donated. Deputy Wilson, who was shot three times, is currently undergoing physical therapy and is expected to make a full recovery.

Deputy Jeff Wilson began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in 2010 as a jail officer. He is currently assigned to the Patrol Division. He is married to Donna, and they have four children.

Deputy Michael Norris began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 as a jail officer. Upon completion of his Basic Law Enforcement Training in March 2013, he was assigned to be a school resource officer for the 2013-2014 school year and was transferred to the patrol division in June 2014. He leaves behind a wife, Logan, and parents, Bennett and Fran Norris.

 

2015 Charles “Bud” Meeks Merit Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year

Deputy John McCulloch

Franklin County, Pennsylvania
 

Deputy John McCulloch found himself helping fellow campers when a deadly tornado turned his vacation upside down. He was one of several vacationing first responders moved to help when a tornado and high winds hit the Cherrystone Family Camping Resort on the Delmarva Peninsula in July 2014. He was among the first to tend to the three people who died in the tragedy.

In the days before the tornado, McCulloch and his girlfriend, Megan Ott, were enjoying their first trip to Cape Charles. They shared a camper trailer with her parents, Brian and Lynn Ott.

On July 24, Deputy McCulloch woke up, found it was raining and decided to sleep in when his cell phone went off. He heard a message from the National Weather Service: This is a tornado warning; seek shelter now. He thought, “I’ll keep an eye on things. No big deal.”

Three minutes later, Brian Ott was holding the door shut against a powerful wind. Then, the wind and rain stopped. Outside it was almost pitch black with a wall of gray, as far as you could see, moving toward the campers.

The “wall” slammed into the camper and slid it sideways for about 10 feet. Hail, ranging in size from marbles to baseballs broke windows and peppered the metal sides.

Once they made sure everything was reasonably okay at their campsite and their friends’ next door, Deputy McCulloch said, “I went from victim mode to work mode.”

Out of his hammered car, he grabbed a small first aid kit and a “go bag” with food, water, his off-duty handgun and extra ammo. He looped his badge across his chest and made for the screaming he heard in the distance.

He ran full speed to a place where a small group of people was gathering. An off-duty New Jersey police officer and a vacationing volunteer firefighter arrived at the same time, but they had no equipment.

A three-foot diameter tree had fallen on a yellow dome tent.

A woman was on the ground. She had severe head trauma. A thick branch protruded from her chest. Deputy McCulloch checked her vitals anyway. He then looked over at the man half-pinned under the tree. He thought he felt a pulse and prepared to begin CPR, and checked again, still no pulse. 

Deputy McCulloch checked the boy lying next to the man. He was taking short, gurgling breaths. Massive head trauma prevented other intervention. Deputy McCulloch tapped his foot and tried to talk to him. After kneeling with the boy for about seven minutes, Deputy McCulloch heard emergency personnel trying to cut away trees to get into the campground. He briefed the two nurses, the paramedic and Maryland deputy sheriff who had made their way to the campsite.

He took his bag and went from campsite to campsite for the next three hours doing basic triage. There were no other casualties, just people banged up.

He met a local deputy sheriff who told him they were dealing with a mass casualty incident. Staging areas were assigned to those critically injured, the walking injured and everyone else. Deputy McCulloch helped direct campers to the right spots.

Initial reports noted two deaths and 36 injuries from an EF-1 tornado. It began as a waterspout over the bay and had top winds of 80 to 100 mph. Part of the campground also was hit with 65 to 75 mph downbursts of straight-line winds, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 1,300 people were at the waterfront campground at the time of the tornado, according to Virginia State Police.

 
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 Inv. 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 - Wyoming County, NY
2008  Deputy Thomas Meredith - Erie County, NY
2009  Dep. 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
2014  Deputy William Dunford - San Diego County, CA
2014  Det. John P. Bourque - Kennebec County, ME