At an awards ceremony that took place today at the Sheriff’s Office, Justin Cassidy was given a certificate of accommodation for risking his own life to save a fellow citizen, Stephen E Ruder.
On May 27, 2013, Ruder was traveling south on Clyde B. Wells Bridge when he lost control of his 2009 Nissan pickup truck and dropped 60 feet into the Choctawhatcee Bay landing upside down. Cassidy just happened to be fishing on the south side of the bridge and ran towards the wreckage, dove into the water and made his way to the driver side door which was jammed. The cab of the truck was completely immersed in the water but Cassidy was able to get the door open and pull Ruder to safety.
Ruder did receive injuries but is forever grateful to Cassidy for his heroic actions in saving his life.
On July 30, 2013, The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received information from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office about marijuana growing in northeast Walton County. The marijuana plants were by spotted by aerial view and the location was provided to our agency. Upon notification, Walton County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Unit and K-9 Unit located 60 marijuana plants growing in a heavily wooded area near the Holmes County line. The plants varied in size from approximately three feet to seven feet tall. The marijuana was pulled and transported to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office where it was turned in to evidence to be destroyed. At this time there are no known suspects.
Congratulations to the newest members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office who were sworn in this morning.
(L to R: Sheriff Adkinson, Deputy Jonathan Smith and Deputy Lester Rodgers)
In order to maintain good health and meet the demands of being in law enforcement, physical fitness is a top priority. It is a policy of the Sheriff’s Office to encourage all employees to maintain a level of health, wellness and physical fitness that permits them to effectively perform their duties. All sworn members pass a physical abilities test as a requirement of employment and once employed to successfully pass the test twice a year as a condition of employment.
To challenge all Sheriff’s Office employees, Crossfit was introduced in February 2013. The program has been instrumental for employees to lose weight, feel good and to encourage fellow employees to finish the daily workout. The Sheriff’s Office has 8 instructors who are also employees that teach Crossfit at the north end and south end office Monday thru Friday, 3 times a day. Currently there are 40 participants. Sergeant Johnny Jordan with the Professional Standards Bureau Training Section stated, “The Crossfit program has been a blessing for many of us at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. We all need some form of exercise to give us better ability to serve our community, protect ourselves and create a higher quality of personal life. The Crossfit program was exactly what most of us needed, a challenge. It is a short intense workout that incorporates cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, flexibility, agility, accuracy, balance and coordination. Every day you walk into the gym excited to see the workout but nervous about being able to make it to the end. When the buzzer signals the start you attack the workout, you’re in a battle against yourself, how much can you do and will you give up on yourself. Your friends waiting their turn cheer you on and you push harder to the end. You reach the end, heart racing, lungs hurting and muscles fatigued. You are overwhelmed with a feeling of personal victory that no one or nothing can take away from you.”
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center partnered with Hyper-Reach Emergency Notification Systems, an industry leader with over 10 years of experience notifying communities. Hyper-Reach allows the Sheriff’s Office to quickly send a message to residents in a specific area informing them of an emergency situation that may require action on their part. The system is designed to send thousands of calls or messages simultaneously. It has been successfully used on countless occasions for incidents such as hazardous chemical releases, missing persons, barricaded persons, storm warnings, boil water alerts and much more. The message informs residents of what is occurring and what steps they need to take along with informing them of when the incident is over.
The Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to log on to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office website at www.waltonso.org and click on the Hyper-Reach icon. It only takes a minute and the information is kept confidential. Users have the options of receiving an audio message, text message or both along with email or TTY alerts. If a user moves they can use the same method to update their address.