News Cast for February 4th:

In terms of weather, it was not the most pleasant day on Friday, but it was a wonderful day at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department for their annual Sheriff’s Department Awards. Several members of the Sheriff’s Department received awards for their years of service, Meritorious Service and Medals of Valor. Sheriff Noel Stephen says it’s a day to bring staff and their families together to appreciate the work they do because they are reflections of the job he does. Stephen says “a wheel without the spokes is no good,” and each member of his staff is a spoke in that wheel. Stephen says a word used to describe his staff is amazing. One member of the department, Public Information Officer Michele Bell, received an award for her 20 years of service to the department and Administrative Employee of the Year. Bell says she was “very excited and humbled” to receive the awards and she says the best part of her job is working with the people around her and the fact she gets to help people. Notable awards given include Deputies Cody Hurst and Matthew Grumbling for Law Enforcement Officers of the Year and Richard Long, Matt Hurst and Kenneth Hernandez each received awards for Meritorious Service.

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Sheriff’s Awards 3

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Okeechobee County Sheriff’s deputies have a local man in county jail at this time on charges of battery in connection with an incident Thursday evening. Deputies were called to a home on the 58 hundred block of SE 86th Boulevard just before 6:45 for a report of a domestic disturbance and found that 38 year old Jason Christopher Koos was causing the disturbance. Deputies say Koos came home intoxicated and was screaming after arguing with his brother. He was trying to leave and he took keys to his mother’s vehicle even though he was told he could not drive her car. After his mom told him that, Koos threw the keys at her arm, leaving behind a bruise. Koos was arrested and charged with domestic battery. He’s being held without bond.

A Lake Placid man is facing considerable charges after unlawfully conducting a traffic stop on a motorist back in late December. Highlands County Sheriff’s investigators arrested 18 year old Harrison Alexander Howes on January 21st after he stopped a 20 year old man who was driving his ATV in the parking lot of a restaurant on Lake June Road in Lake Placid on December 28th. Spokesperson Scott Dressel says Howes, who was dressed in a shirt with a fire/rescue emblem on it, asked the victim several law enforcement type questions like his address and if he had weapons on him. Howes was arrested at Lake Placid High School after video evidence surfaced, thanks to a Go Pro camera the victim had on his ATV. Dressel says Howes more than likely learned his lesson after this incident; now knowing that traffic stops are not fun, but potentially dangerous. Howes was arrested and charged with impersonating a law officer and conducting criminal acts under the guise of law. Both are third degree felonies and Howes was released after posting a two thousand dollar bond. Dressel says this is Howes’ first offense and likely will enter a diversion program.

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On the arrest report:

19 year old Zachary Seth Gopher of Okeechobee was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on a warrant for possession of and selling oxycodone. His bond is set at $30 thousand dollars.

27 year old Jordyn Bryce Miller of Okeechobee was arrested for driving on a suspended license with knowledge of it after a traffic stop. His bond is set at $250 dollars.

22 year old Justice J. Baker of Okeechobee was arrested for battery on her boyfriend during a domestic dispute. Her bond has not been set.