Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
March, 2014
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This Month's Articles

Recently Elected Officials Honored at Swearing In Ceremonies

Service Comes First

Thurston County’s Specialty Courts Hit Milestone

One Family, One Judge.

Sheriff Recognizes Contributions to the Community

Romance on Mound Prairie

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 Wounded Police Officer Recognized in Sheriff’s Ceremonies.

Olympia Officer receives Purple Heart.

Olympia Police officer Bryan Houser was among those who were honored recently in recognition ceremonies put on by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO).

On June 6, 2011, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was tasked with serving a high-risk search warrant on a violent subject. Officer Houser, who is a member of the TCSO SWAT Team, approached the subject’s house planning to break out the bedroom window and take control of all people in that room. Just as Officer Houser broke out the window the male subject inside fired a shot. This round struck Officer Houser in the upper arm. Despite being wounded, Officer Houser continued with his assigned task until the individuals inside the residence were detained.

Afterwords, Officer Houser and Tumwater Police Officer John Kenderesi began to move away from the window. It was then that Officer Houser realized he was wounded. Officer Houser was taken to the SWAT van for treatment by Medic Lance Slosson. Slosson recommended that Officer Houser be transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital for further treatment. Police Commander Steve Nelson quickly volunteered his vehicle and drove Officer Houser to the hospital for emergency treatment.

In addition to the Purple Heart given to Officer Houser, Commander Steve Nelson, Officer John Kenderesi, and Medic Lance Slosson were honored with Certificates of Commendation.

Also at the ceremonies, Thurston County resident Teal Russell received the Citizen Commendation for her part in rescuing an overturned kayaker.

On September 30, 2011, at 6:17 p.m. an emergency call was made to dispatchers regarding an overturned boat. The reporting party had heard someone calling for help while struggling in the waters of Henderson Inlet and could see an overturned boat in close proximity to the struggling swimmer. The caller’s niece, Teal Russell, headed out in her kayak to provide assistance. The swimmer was attempting to tread water but would disappear under water for moments of time. According to a neighbor Teal rowed out and rescued the person who was near drowning.

Without concern for her personal safety, Teal Russell placed herself in harm’s way to rescue an individual who was in jeopardy in the cold waters of Henderson Inlet. Without the quick response and selfless, heroic effort of Teal Russell, the struggling swimmer could have lost his life.

Corrections Deputies Joseph Pagnotta and Matthew Webberding received Certificates of Commendation for their part in a suicide intervention.

On September 17, 2011 they were working swing shift in the intake area of the Thurston County jail. A male subject was screened and placed in a holding cell to await booking. Pagnotta later observed the subject manipulating his blanket and alerted his partner. When it became clear that the male subject was intent on hanging himself Deputy Pagnotta and Deputy Webberding responded. The blanket was removed and the inmate was restrained from harming himself any further. The vigilance and quick response displayed by the deputies prevented what could have been a successful suicide.

Also receiving recognition in the ceremonies-

Detective Louise Adams and Legal Assistant Pam McClure received Certificates of Commendation for a huge reclassification project of registered sex offenders. With the completion of this project the Thurston County is in line with all other counties in Washington State, which has reduced the number of times verification of offenders residing in Thurston County is required.

Legal Assistant Julie Gillis was given a certificate of appreciation for her leadership in rallying volunteers from the various agencies to support Special Olympics through the Red Robin Tip-a-Cop fundraiser.

Years of Service Presentations – 20 Years, Sgt. Ken Clark, Legal Assistant Jill Zimbelman and Sgt. Teri Noble.

Receiving the Oath of Office- Sheriff John Snaza also swore in new Corrections Deputy Rachel Rosa.

By John Tennis

Olympia Police Officer Bryan Houser. Olympia Police Officer Bryan Houser.