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Top employees honored by sheriff
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Deputy Stan Harrison was born to be a school resource officer.


“It’s what he should have been doing the whole time he’s been in law enforcement,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Major Greg Rowan.


Harrison, who has been with the department since 2004, was one of six Dawson County Sheriff’s Office employees recognized Dec. 14 during the department’s annual holiday celebration.


Sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Tony Wooten said the sheriff takes advantage of the holiday celebration each December to honor the staff members that went above and beyond the call of duty throughout the last 12 months. 


“Stan is the example of what a school resource officer should be. Not only is he amazing in his day-to-day operations — he and his wife go the extra mile to mentor children at his school (Robinson Elementary School),” Wooten said. “He is a constant professional and a benefit to our department.”


Going above and beyond was a continuous description of those honored by the sheriff.


When the sheriff office moved into the new law enforcement center last year, Investigator Don Kimbel was tasked with the chore of examining all evidence from years passed on file in the department’s vault, in addition to work he completes as the department’s white collar crime detective.


“He spent a year researching case files to determine the status of evidence,” said Major John Cagle of the criminal investigations division. “We were able to dispose of the old evidence, forfeit some guns and equipment and put them in use at the sheriff’s office.”


Cagle said it is Kimbel’s work ethic and methodology in everything he does that made him an easy choice as Investigator of the Year.


An aggressive passion for getting the job done is also evident in the department’s pick for warrants and court services employee of the year.


“Since Shane Jenkins, who works in our warrants division, came to our department from Forsyth County in March, our active warrants have been the lowest we’ve seen in quite some time,” Rowan said.


Passionate about his job, Jenkins “beats bushes and turns over rocks” to serve warrants, Rowan said.


“Shane’s a bulldog. Other officers and the administrators have praised his willingness to help,” Wooten added. “He’s respectful and whatever needs to be done, he’s going to go out and get it done to the best of his ability.”


“Bulldog” is a connotation that could also describe the patrol division’s employee of the year.


Eric Johnson, who has been with the department for almost six years, made the most overall arrests and the most DUI arrests in 2008.


“Eric has a real passion about law enforcement and truly believes in being aggressive in protecting the safety of others,” Rowan said.


Since Johnson joined the department from Gilmer County in 2003, accident rates have decreased.


“I really believe it is his passion that’s the factor. We appreciate that internally and as a citizen. He’s what law enforcement is all about,” Rowan added.


Donna Rutledge has also made an impact on others in the 911 center, where she works as a mapping coordinator, and throughout the sheriff’s office as a whole.


“It’s Donna’s willingness that sets her apart,” said Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle, who named Rutledge the department’s overall employee of the year. “If you walked in and asked her to do something, she’d do it without question.”


Carlisle asks his staff to nominate the most deserving person for the honor.


While Rutledge is stationed at 911, Carlisle received her nomination from the criminal investigations division.


“She has assisted CID on numerous occasions, helping us when asked. She always has a good attitude and tells us to call her anytime we need her help,” read the anonymous nomination. 


Carlisle said the nomination is testament to Rutledge’s abilities and her desire to help.


Detention Center Commander Major Jim Petrella said no officer would disagree that Officer Larry Busher should be named center employee of the year.


Just over a year as a detention officer, Busher was promoted to rank of corporal.


“Cpl. Busher will come in early and stay late without hesitation. He is always looking for better ways to do things,” Petrella said. “Cpl. Busher sets the standards in work performance, morale, attitude, ethics and a host of other good traits.”