Thursday, 12 April 2007 09:28

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Veteran Named Retail Officer of the Year

Runners-Up Honored from Gainesville, Holmes Beach and Miami

(TALLAHASSEE) - More than three decades of law enforcement experience, coupled with a talent for identifying criminal behavior even when it isn’t obvious to others, helped Detective Sergeant Daniel J. Carron of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office break two separate shoplifting rings last year and earn the prestigious honor of being named the 2007 Florida Retail Federation (FRF) Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Detective Sergeant Carron will receive a check for $3,000 and an attractive custom-crafted medallion and plaque when he is honored at FRF's annual awards banquet on Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at The Shores Resort in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. His name will be added to a plaque that lists each LEOY recipient since the program’s inception in 1974. Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats, who nominated Detective Sergeant Carron, will accept the plaque on behalf of the department. Dan Doyle, vice president of loss prevention and human resources for Beall’s, Inc., and chairman of FRF’s LEOY committee, will make the presentation on behalf of FRF’s nearly 12,000 members.

“The Florida Retail Federation is proud to continue its tradition of honoring Florida’s finest law enforcement professionals and to highlight the contributions of Detective Sergeant Daniel Carron in his efforts to combat organized retail crime,” says Richard A. McAllister, FRF president and chief executive officer. “All of the nominees are very deserving and are a credit and inspiration to law officers and law-abiding citizens throughout our state. Our selection committee’s task of choosing among these distinguished officers was not an easy one.”

Three officers were also selected as runners-up from the field of outstanding nominees that represent various law enforcement entities from throughout the state. They are: Officer Carlos Decespedes of the Miami Police Department; Officer Michael Leonard of the Holmes Beach Police Department; and Officer Joseph Register of the Gainesville Police Department. Each officer will be sent a framed certificate of recognition.

2007 RECIPIENT – DETECTIVE SERGEANT DANIEL J. CARRON, PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Detective Sergeant Daniel J. Carron has worked for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office since 1977. He currently supervises the Office’s Tactical Apprehension and Control (TAC) Unit, which is part of the Property Crimes Division, and its staff of experienced detectives. Twice in 2006, Detective Sergeant Carron’s dedication and expertise resulted in the downfall of separate shoplifting rings that were targeting home improvement stores throughout Florida.

In July 2006, Detective Sergeant Carron was in plain clothes conducting a follow-up investigation at a large home improvement store in Largo. He was approached by a woman who asked if he wanted to purchase a store gift card. While he declined, he was aware of ongoing theft scams in which suspects shoplift items, then return the items for gift cards and later sell the cards for cash profit. His astute observation and quick thinking led to the demise of a trio of criminals who, it was discovered, had their car stocked with fraudulent or altered identification, maps, and a list of home improvement stores throughout the Southeast. All admitted their involvement in a multi-state shoplifting ring that was responsible for as much as $100,000 in losses.

Sgt. Carron and his detectives conducted a similar complicated operation at another home improvement store which, after hundreds of investigative hours over a six-month period, culminated in the arrest of more than ten suspects. The gang of shoplifters traveled around the state netting between $2,000 and $5,000 a day for an estimated total theft of as much as $500,000.

Detective Sergeant Carron joins 37 previous LEOY recipients who represent various branches of law enforcement including several police departments and sheriff’s offices, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the former Florida Marine Patrol.

THE RUNNERS-UP

Officer Carlos Decespedes, Miami Police Department
Officer Carlos Decespedes is an 18-year veteran of the Miami Police Department. His driving force is his relentless commitment to protect and serve his community. Described as “dependable” and a “team player,” Officer Decespedes was honored as the Miami Police Department’s “Officer of the Month” for February, April and August of this year for his exceptional work in the Overton area. Specifically, he embarked on an aggressive strategy to rid the area of known street level narcotics dealers and armed offenders. He continues to serve as an example to other officers and leads the entire department with high productivity of arrests and summons each month, including 101 total arrests in April, all without using any form of physical force. Officer Decespedes was nominated by the Honorable John A. Timoney, Chief of the City of Miami Police Department.

Officer Michael Leonard of the Holmes Beach Police
On Christmas 2006, Officer Michael Leonard was dispatched to a Holmes Beach pharmacy to respond to a reported armed robbery in progress. Upon his arrival, the suspect fled on foot into a condominium complex and carjacked a vehicle from a family. A car pursuit took place, with the suspect crossing the centerline of a busy state road, running numerous vehicles off the roadway. The suspect eventually wrecked the stolen vehicle in the middle of a bridge, fled, and attempted to dive off the bridge into the water below. At risk to his own personal safety, Officer Leonard tackled the suspect and prevented his escape. The suspect’s numerous charges included armed robbery and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He was also charged with an unrelated bank robbery that occurred several days before in a neighboring jurisdiction. Officer Leonard was nominated by the Honorable Chief Jay Romine of the Holmes Beach Police Department.

Officer Joseph Register of the Gainesville Police Department
Officer Joseph Register has worked for the Gainesville Police Department for two-and-a half years. During the past year, he has been assigned full-time to the Oaks Mall, a 140-plus store shopping center serving the majority of North Central Florida. Rolling through the mall elevated on his Segway scooter, Officer Register is a welcome sight to busy shoppers and retailers alike, helping to ensure their safety. He is an incredible asset to the mall retail establishments and has conducted crime prevention training for store staff. During the past year, he made a total of 265 arrests, 42 of which were felony offenses. Officer Register also prevents thousands of dollars of merchandise losses each month by catching shoplifters in progress. In the past year, he has recovered over $37,000 in stolen merchandise from subjects attempting to flee businesses without paying for the items. Officer Register was nominated by Captain Ed Book of the Gainesville Police Department.

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