Orion Township deputies, officers receive recognition during sheriff’s awards ceremony

By Jim Newell
Review Editor
PONTIAC — The men and women of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office are hardworking, thoughtful individuals who care about the communities they police and their efforts deserve recognition.

That’s the message Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard shared during his annual awards ceremony in May, honoring those deputies and officers who went above and beyond in commission of their duties this past year. The awards included lifesaving and valor citations, citizen and community service awards and eight “Of the Year” recognitions.

Deputies and command officers at the Orion Township Substation received 12 recognitions to 11 individuals who were honored for their work and commitment to the community.

“It is such a joy to work with our team each and every day, and I am very proud of the job they do in one of the toughest environments I have ever seen in law-enforcement.” Bouchard said. “It is only right that we pause to honor them and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Lt. Darren Ofiara, commander of the Orion Township Substation, was recognized as the Command Officer of the Year.

“I just have to thank the Orion Substation staff for making my job so much easier. They really go above and beyond to do the best they can for the citizens. So, the award is really more for them than me,” Ofiara said.

Lifesaving citations

Deputies Kurtis Harrison, Nicholas Rule, Caleb Garcia and Patrick Vanbiesbrouck received lifesaving citations after saving an individual with a history of drug use.

Upon arriving, the individual had no pulse, so deputies rendered CPR until the individual began to breathe. Once the individual was breathing, the deputies administered Narcan, and the individual started breathing normally and sat up, Bouchard said.

Vanbiesbrouck is an Orion Township deputy.

Sheriff’s Special Commendation

Sgt. Ricardo Meza and deputies Patrick Vanbiesbrouck, Reynolds Grant, Erin Allen and John Mozak received a special commendation for preventing a potential shooting. Vanbiesbrouck is an Orion Township deputy.

On Oct. 12, 2022, deputies were dispatched for a weapons violation. The suspect posted pictures online with a firearm and made threats.

Deputies identified the suspect and subsequent searches revealed the suspect had the means and ability to conduct the threats.

Due to the exhaustive teamwork and reacting immediately to a tip, a potential shooting was prevented, Bouchard said.

Sheriff’s Distinguished Unit Citation

OCSO Crash Reconstruction Unit
Captain Bart Wilson, Lt. Anthony Spencer, Sgt. Christopher Miller and deputies Michael David, Scott Kendrick, Franklin McSpadin, Michael Reeves and Jerry Yaldoo. McSpadin is a deputy in Orion Township.

The Crash Reconstruction Unit is composed of highly-trained investigators who respond to serious and fatal traffic crashes.

In 2022, the unit investigated 64 car crashes, including 40 fatal crashes and issued over 21 arrest warrants.

Some cases, such as hit and runs, can take months to investigate to track down the responsible.
The CRU completes the exhausting task of combing over every detail of the disturbing aftermath of crashes, and making sure families see justice for loved ones deceased by negligent or criminal drivers, Bouchard said.

Sheriff’s Distinguished Unit Citation

Drone Unit

Deputies Eryn Janes, Alisha Linstrom, Charles Piotrowski, Gregory Scheuer, Carl Sorensen, Tory Tederington and Kenneth Wakerley from the Orion Township Substation.

“Starting in late 2022, the Drone Unit became operational, utilizing the latest technology to support day-to-day functions. Drones were incorporated into our first responder process, providing deputies with additional information, situational awareness, and a bird’s eye-view of potentially dangerous situations. There are 66 trained pilots, two on full-time duty and five working as part-time instructors in the state’s only Drones as First Responder program,” Bouchard said.

Equivalency Bar Citation

The Equivalency Bar Citation is presented to sheriff’s office employees who have been given citations and awards by other agencies or organizations while employed by the sheriff’s office.

Orion Township Deputy Jennifer Eriksen received the 2022 Youth Impact Award from the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce.

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