By Fred Woods

Last week the Lee County Commission recognized four Lee County heroes who had recently received  awards from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Deputy Dakota Smith, a second generation law enforcement professional and a Lee County Sheriff’s Office employee since 2013 was named Employee of the Year. Smith was selected through support from his supervisor and his peers. Sheriff Jay Jones said Smith was a self-starter and very popular in the department because he doesn’t ask what needs to be done; rather he looks around, sees what needs doing and   goes and does it without being told.
The other three, Deputies Amber Burdette, Terrence Moore and Ray Smith, were recipients of the Sheriff’s Valor/Lifesaver Medal. All three had saved lives. Deputy Burdette responded to a woman threatening suicide by jumping off the overpass at I-85 exit 70 (Bridges/Perlis Truck Stop exit). After a prolonged conversation, Burdette managed to coax the woman away from the bridge railing and restrained her for psychiatric evaluation.
Deputy Terrence Moore jumped in to assist paramedics who needed help in resuscitating a 5 month old child who had stopped breathing. The paramedics credited Moore’s assistance with saving the child’s life. Deputy Ray Smith saved the life of a woman threatening to shoot herself with a handgun. As Sheriff Jones related, “ All the time [that Smith was talking to her] she had her finger on the trigger with the gun pointed at her head. Deputy Smith engaged her in conversation for almost an hour before she surrendered the gun to him, ending what could have been a tragic situation.”
Of the group, who were accompanied by members of their families, Jones said, “They represent everything that is good about law enforcement in Lee County.”
In routine action, the commission
proclaimed April “Fair Housing Month” in Lee County and encourages all citizens to observe and support both the letter and spirit the Fair Housing Law,
approved filling the position of GIS Coordinator, vacant since September 2016, at a level higher than the base salary, based on knowledge and experience of the applicant,
gave the go-ahead to a contract with Ricoh to scan and organize Lee County Business Personal Property files, in connection with the legal requirement  to keep these records for a three-year period and
approved a Lounge Retail Liquor – Class II (Package) license for the La-Z-Bee Package Store located at the intersection of Lee Roads 54 and 146.