This month, we honor the more than 500 deputies, firefighters and civilian employees, who faced significant danger, saved lives and performed exceptional acts in 2020 and 2021 during the Broward Sheriff's Office Annual Awards Ceremony.
The awards ceremony celebrates the best and bravest in public safety. These dedicated professionals were selected for their exemplary actions, outstanding achievements and service in safeguarding Broward County. The accolades for these individuals are well deserved, and I'll share with you some impactful highlights.
2020 Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year
Deputy Michael Francis embodies what it means to be a trusted public servant and leader. Each day, he diligently works to improve the lives of Broward County residents. From assisting families with legal aid to helping homeless individuals obtain shelter, his efforts have tremendously benefitted our community. It is an honor to recognize Deputy Francis as BSO's 2020 Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year.
2021 Unit of the Year: Department of Preparedness and Response
The BSO Aviation Unit serves as our eyes in the sky. Comprised of six pilots, six tactical flight officers (TFO), and two pilot-sergeants, this unit is called out for incidents anywhere they are needed at a moment's notice. From finding missing or endangered children to aiding in offshore water rescues, the unit is a proven asset for all of Broward County. In 2021, the Aviation Unit flew 3,127 missions totaling 1,711 flight hours; of those missions, 1,305 were requests from outside agencies. Their efforts resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the recovery of 241 stolen vehicles. Excellence defines this unit, and I am proud to announce them as the 2021 Unit of the Year for the Department of Preparedness and Response.
2021 Volunteer Service Award
I've always said it takes a village to raise a child — and we take that to heart at BSO. Helping our county's children grow into responsible, civically engaged adults is one of our passions. Last year, BSO launched our summer L.E.A.D. Camp (Learning, Educating, and Developing). The innovative eight-week leadership program helps shape the lives of Broward youth ages 10-18. The success of our inaugural camp was made possible thanks to our incredible volunteers, including many BSO employees, who dedicated their time to managing the program and serving as mentors – encouraging and enriching the lives of Broward's youth. It is a privilege to award these employees the 2021 Volunteer Service Award.
These highlights are just a few of the tremendous accomplishments of the BSO team. In addition, we will award our most prestigious recognition, the Medal of Honor, to four courageous BSO veterans who performed extraordinary acts at significant personal risk to their lives. Additional accolades will be given to the detective of the year, firefighter of the year, communications operator of the year, civilian employees of the year, citizen of the year and units of the year, among others.
I invite you to join me as we formally honor these outstanding individuals at the 2020 and 2021 Annual Award Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. on September 14 at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center. I hope to see you there.
Sheriff Gregory Tony
Service Equals Reward