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Sheriff's deputies, programs win eight state awards

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department earned eight state awards in 2003.

The department's marine division landed the bulk of the honors. Deputies in training at the state's police academy also earned kudos.

The Oregon State Marine Board named the county's marine patrol program the best in the state in 2003. The program also took top honors in 1994, 1997, 1998 and 2002.

Jackson County really excelled this year, providing a strong program on a number of fronts and serving boaters extremely well, said Bill Rydblom, the Marine Board's law enforcement program manager.

Sgt. Pat Rowland, who formerly worked for the Marine Board, took the helm of Jackson County's marine division in October 2002, sheriff's Capt. Joe Puckett said. He increased staffing and shifted schedules to put deputies on the water on weekends and evenings.

— The program led the state in the number of boat inspections done and started a high school boater education class.

Marine Deputy Tom Turk headed up the boater education class started at Eagle Point High School. That and his other work to keep boaters safe earned him the title marine deputy of the year. It was his third time winning the award, although he has worked for Jackson County only a year. He previously worked for Columbia County.

He's very dedicated and had lots of contacts with people and lots of time on the water, Puckett said.

The Marine Board named marine Deputy James Gyllenskog rookie of the year. He worked as a deputy in the county jail for 18 years before transferring to the marine division, Puckett said.

He really took to it, Puckett said.

Gyllenskog also got the 2003 boating under the influence of intoxicants (BUII) enforcement award for citing 21 impaired boaters.

Marine Deputy John Tucker was named seasonal deputy of the year. Since retiring from law enforcement in California, he has spent the last seven summers on Jackson County waterways, Puckett said.

He is really excellent at talking to people and giving them tips on equipment and safety, Puckett said. He's always willing to help.

During 2003 two Jackson County deputies training at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training academy in Monmouth graduated at the top of their classes. Students and instructors pick the top student in academics, defensive tactics, firearms use, physical fitness and leadership for the Victor G. Atiyeh Award. The award is named for the governor in office when the training academy started.

In June, Dave Penkava earned the award. He had worked as a corrections deputy for two years before joining the patrol team.

In December Rick Kennedy earned the award. He had worked as a corrections deputy since January 1997 before transferring to the patrol division in September 2003.

Another December grad at the training academy, Greg Schuster, earned an outstanding fitness award. He completed a training obstacle course with a time just four seconds slower than the state record, Puckett said. Schuster started working for the county as a corrections deputy in September 2002, then transferred to the patrol division a year later.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4459, or e-mail