Thurston County Connection Newsletter
Thurston County Connection
Thurston County Connection
December, 2014
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Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

(More) Changes at Thurston County Superior Court

County Benefits from “JBLM Day of Service”

It’s official!

Health Systems Doing a Good Job of Tracking Illnesses

Families Welcome New Members

Perfection is Reality for County Waste Water Treatment Plant

Less Leftovers, More Joy

The Klondike Kings and the telegraph to nowhere

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 Sheriff Recognizes Contributions to the Community

Sheriff’s awards ceremony program held

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza recently held special recognition ceremonies to honor those who have contributed to the betterment of the community. It may be through direct service in the Sheriff’s Office, years of dedication, volunteer work or some other way of making this a better and safer place to live. Below are the stories behind the recognition.

Life Saving Award Pin ~ Given to office members who take specific action(s) resulting in the saving of a human life.

Corrections Deputies Paul Minker, Robert Olson, and David Steinberg


On October 1, 2013, Corrections Deputies Paul Minker, Robert Olson, and David Steinberg saved the life of an inmate in the Thurston County Jail who had attempted suicide. The inmate had tied a sheet around his neck with the other end tied to the top bunk in his cell. Deputy Minker had just finished speaking to the inmate through his intercom. The inmate’s intercom was activated a second time and Deputy Minker heard a sound coming from the inmate’s cell. Sensing that something was wrong, Deputy Minker directed Deputy Olson to check on the inmate. When Deputy Olson arrived, he observed the inmate hanging from a sheet and did not appear to be breathing. Deputy Olson immediately called for assistance and attempted to support the inmate’s weight. Deputies Minker and Steinberg quickly arrived, and while Deputy Steinberg supported the inmate’s weight, Deputy Minker loosened the sheet from around the inmate’s neck. They then laid the inmate on the floor where he soon regained consciousness and started breathing. All three responders knew exactly what to do without delay and saved the inmate’s life. If it were not for Deputy Minker sensing something was wrong and the quick response, the inmate would have been successful in his suicide attempt. Therefore, Corrections Deputies Paul Minker, Robert Olson, and David Steinberg are awarded the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Award.

Deputies Chris Packard and Don Wall


On November 4, Deputies Chris Packard and Don Wall responded to a suspicious person complaint. The reporting party said her ex-husband was at her house and refused to leave. She did not want to pursue any trespass charges but asked the deputies to make him leave. When Deputies Packard and Wall arrived they discovered the subject had just hung himself with some coaxial cable in the garage. Deputy Wall lifted the subject to stop the strangulation while Deputy Packard cut the cable. The subject was conscious but unable to talk to the deputies. Later, the subject’s ex-wife confirmed that he had survived and was under psychiatric care.

Therefore, for the lifesaving action, Deputies Chris Packard and Donald Wall are given the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Award.

Certificate of Appreciation ~ Awarded to individuals who have shown years of dedicated service to the citizens of Thurston County and support to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. This certificate is at the Sheriff’s discretion and may be awarded to any county employee or volunteer.

Detective Marlin Bryant


In recognition of 13 years of dedicated commitment and service to the Sheriff’s Office Riot Team.

Detective Marlin Bryant joined the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Riot Team in 2000. He has been a valuable member, attending yearly training and multiple deployments since. His actions during these deployments and his overall presence on the team shed a positive light on the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. His experience, training, and overall great attitude led to him being assigned as a less lethal operator for the team.

Marlin was thanked for 13 years of dedicated service as a member of this team.

Deputy James E. Esslinger


In recognition of 8 years of dedicated commitment and service to the commissioned deputies as a Firearms Instructor.

Deputy James E. Esslinger was selected as a Firearms Instructor in 2005 due to his expert marksmanship skills, safety practices, and training ability. He has been a valuable member of the Firearms Training Team, and his absence from the team will be missed.

2013 Volunteers of the Year

A new category awarded to volunteers from each bureau who have contributed many hours of dedicated service to the citizens of Thurston County and support to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office during the calendar year.

Art Brown ~ 2013 Corrections Volunteer of the Year


The Corrections Bureau has selected Chaplain Art Brown as Volunteer of the Year.

Chaplain Art Brown began serving in Jail Ministries in 1997 and quickly realized his calling to become the Thurston County Corrections Bureau Volunteer Chaplain. He has filled this position since 2002. Chaplain Brown regularly volunteers 3-5 nights a week for 5-6 hours. He coordinates regular donations of Bibles, glasses, underwear and socks which can be provided to indigent inmates. Chaplain Brown also coordinates the collection and dispersal of cookies, socks and Bibles that are distributed following the annual Christmas program to every inmate in the Thurston County Corrections Facility, as well as the Nisqually Tribal, Mason, Grays Harbor, Lewis and Cowlitz County Jails. This Christmas those collections and distributions served 1300 inmates.

Chaplain Brown also oversees a Christian Recovery and Transitional housing community located in Tumwater that house up to 23 former inmates from prisons and jails, most coming from or through the facility.

George Albertson ~ 2013 Field Operations Volunteer of the Year


Chaplain Albertson spends countless hours responding to numerous, often tragic, events within Thurston County, giving selflessly of his time, day or night, to offer advice and spiritual counsel to the citizens of Thurston County as well as to the deputies and their families whenever needed or asked. He is a man of compassion and grace and never seems “inconvenienced” when asked to respond to any situation, even during the middle of the night. He has a servant’s heart and is truly an asset to Thurston County.

Ron Knapp ~ 2013 Support Services Volunteer of the Year


In 2013 Ron volunteered a total of 760 hours. During that time he has done an outstanding job conducting background investigations and has worked tirelessly at assisting the Sheriff’s Office in getting the best candidates hired. In addition, he has started reviewing "cold case files" which is very valuable with limited personnel in the office. Ron has been an excellent representative of our agency while conducting the background investigations, and his numerous years of investigative experience have been invaluable.

Years of Service Presentations

“Years of service certificates are awarded in five-year increments for Sheriff’s Office employees. Those who have been with the Sheriff’s Office for 20 years or more receive a framed certificate that is presented to them at our awards ceremonies.”

Lieutenant Claude Belcher – 20 Years


Claude started his career with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office in the Corrections Bureau as an extra hire employee in July of 1991. Claude worked so many hours as an extra hire that he often exceeded the hours of a full time employee. He was instrumental in helping with the coordination of the construction of the Options annex and supervision of inmate workers who assisted the contractors. Claude was hired full time in January of 1994.

Claude has worked a variety of positions and in 2007 was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as a shift supervisor. Claude has served as the Administrative Lieutenant in the past and this is also his current assignment. Claude is currently a Professional Standards Investigator and a member of the Honor Guard.

Deputy Eugene DuPrey – 20 Years


Deputy Eugene DuPrey started his career with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office as a provisional deputy in January 1994. By October of 1994 he was hired full time as a deputy sheriff. During his tenure here he served 10 years as a detective, narcotics officer, gang detective, a federal customs officer, and spent 13 years as a member of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Clandestine Methamphetamine Lab Team where he and the other members of the team were instrumental in shutting down numerous methamphetamine labs.

Eugene has received many letters, cards, and awards for outstanding performance and is a bulldog of an investigator. In February 2011 he rotated back to Patrol where he is currently assigned and continues to use his investigative skills to hunt down the bad guys.

Congratulations to Deputy DuPrey for 20 years of dedicated service.

Captain Mike Petrie – 30 Years


Captain Mike Petrie was hired as a deputy sheriff on November 1,1983. On January 9, 1990, he was promoted to Sergeant. By October 1994 he was promoted to lieutenant and then in March 1999 he achieved the rank of Captain.

During his career with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Captain Petrie he has served as a road deputy, narcotics detective, Captain of the Detective Division, Administrative Captain, and during the last 10 years under Sheriff Gary Edwards’ administration he served as Chief Civil Deputy.

Captain Petrie has received numerous cards, letters, and certificates of appreciation for outstanding service.

Ceremonial Swearing In (Oath of Office) ~

Seven individuals were sworn in to duty with the Sheriff’s Office during the ceremonies including-

  • Brandon Dietz, Deputy Sheriff
  • Howard Reynolds, Deputy Sheriff
  • Micah Rose, Deputy Sheriff
  • Paul Baker, Corrections Deputy
  • Patrick Hutnik, Corrections Deputy
  • Lindsey Miller, Corrections Deputy
  • Cory Sands, Corrections Deputy


In the first photo left to right, Sheriff John Snaza and Corrections Deputies David Steinberg, Robert Olson, and Paul Minker.

In the second photo, left to right- Sheriff Snaza and Deputy Sheriffs Don Wall and Chris Packard.

By John Tennis

Sheriff John Snaza and Corrections Deputies. Sheriff John Snaza and Corrections Deputies.

Sheriff Snaza congratulates Wall and Packard. Sheriff Snaza congratulates Wall and Packard.