Quarterly Awards Announced

Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:22 a.m.

Officer, Employee and VCOP of the Quarter Awards Announced.

(Cocoa, FL)—Chief Mike Cantaloupe and the Cocoa Police Department Awards Committee have recognized the following employees for outstanding service during the 1st quarter of 2018.

Officer of the 1st Quarter: Detective Ron McCarron

 On February 7, 2018 dispatchers received a 911 call from an employee at the Dixie Motel, 301 Forrest Avenue. The caller reported finding a body in room 216. When officers and detectives arrived it was determined the male was the victim of a homicide. The victim was identified as Terry Scott Hilliard, a 65 year old white male from Ocala. Detective Ron McCarron assumed the lead role in the investigation which involved the entire CID team. Taking the lead role in a homicide is a very trying position. It involves coordinating with multiple agencies, guiding other detectives in different directions, keeping in constant communications with the State Attorney’s Office and responding to any leads regardless of the time of day. The investigation consumed nearly two weeks and led to south Florida and Maryland in attempts to both identify and locate the suspect. Detective McCarron participated in media interviews both locally and in South Florida in an attempt to solicit help from the public to identify the suspect, whose image was captured on surveillance video with the victim at the motel. The suspect was identified as Joshua Kervuori, a 19 year old drifter from Maryland. He was identified from a fingerprint left at the crime scene which matched a passport photo. Detective McCarron then led the effort to locate him which was made more difficult because of Keravuori's transient behavior. With the assistance of Detective Oscar Pimental, U.S. Marshals, state and local authorities in Maryland and South Florida, a national search for the suspect continued. Sgt. Doug Levine appeared before a nationwide audience on Live PD to increase public pressure to help locate the suspect. Twelve days after the homicide investigation began, Keravuori surrendered to authorities in Alpharetta, Georgia. Detective McCarron and the entire CID team's efforts led to a grand jury indictment on March 20th. Cocoa PD was assisted by FDLE, U.S. Marshals, Miami Dade, Silver Spring Maryland PD, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It should be noted that this was Detective McCarron’s first homicide investigation, but it was so well executed it appeared he had been doing it for many years.

Employee of the 1st Quarter: Erin Gutierrez

On February 28th the Cocoa Police Department’s communications division received a silent hold up alarm for the Suntrust Bank, 106 Brevard Avenue in downtown Cocoa. Dispatcher Erin Gutierrez was responsible for deploying resources and communicating information regarding this call. The call was received at 4:26 p.m. and within one minute patrol units were on scene. Officers were able to detain three suspects who appeared to be waiting in a getaway vehicle. Officers immediately set a perimeter and were quickly able to detain two more suspects as they exited the bank. In less than five minutes, officers made entry to the bank and the building was declared secured. This incident under the supervision of Cpl. John Picheco, Sgt. Nick Moon, Sgt. Dabner Roman, Sgt. Mark Rush, Lt. Jeremy Ondo and Lt. Tony Marchica was a model of efficiency. The incident is not a common occurrence, but was executed flawlessly by all involved. It should be noted that communications did an outstanding job remaining calm and directing resources and relaying information in a timely manner.

VCOP of the 1st Quarter: Daren Wiggins

Daren Wiggins has dedicated many years of service in the VCOP program. During the first quarter of 2018 Daren assisted on numerous special details and did an excellent job patrolling the city. His active participation provides an extra set of eyes and ears for the police department.