County recognizes sheriff’s Deputy of the Year


By Fred Woods

Special to the Opelika Observer Sheriff Jay Jones (right) recognizes Deputy of the Year 2014, Richard Zayas. Zayas has been in law enforcement for 23 years.
Special to the Opelika Observer
Sheriff Jay Jones (right) recognizes Deputy of the Year 2014, Richard Zayas. Zayas has been in law enforcement for 23 years.

At this week’s Lee County Commission meeting, Sheriff Jay Jones presented the LCSO Deputy of the Year for 2014, Richard Zayas.
Jones praised Zayas for his investigative skills, citing two instances from last year.  In one, a homicide case had stalled. Zayas broke the case and brought about the arrests of four people. In another, a burglary, Zayas not only solved the case but, in so doing, cleared up numerous burglaries in Lee County and surrounding area over the last couple of years.
Zayas has been in law enforcement for 23 years, the past seven in Lee County. Zayas stated that his guiding principle in life is the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Glenn Buxton and Jim Hardin of the Museum of East Alabama presented the commission with a World War I 42nd (Rainbow) Division framed poster. The poster commemorates the contribution of this division to the allied victory. The Rainbow Division was composed primarily of Alabamians, many of whom were from Opelika. The museum is in the final stages of preparing a WWI exhibit which will be on display for the next four years. The two men also expressed appreciation to the commission for a $2,700 contribution for a recent heat pump replacement.
The commission approved three local legislative considerations to be forwarded to the county legislative delegation. These were (1) a measure to increase the sheriff’s salary 15 percent, from $87,650 (set in 2008) to $100,700, (2) legislation to specifically recognize collection of fees by LCSO for various services performed by the Sheriff’s Office and their subsequent transmittal for deposit in the county’s general fund and (3) legislation to set a 25 mile per hour speed limit for county roads in all platted county subdivisions.
The commission did not take action on a drainage problem on Buddy Messser’s property. Messer has water pooling after rains in the front yard of a house he is building on Lee Road 146. Messer said he believes that his problem is at least partially caused by a county drainage easement that allows water to be diverted across his property from the other side of LR 146.
In other action the commission
– approved the annual levy for alcoholic beverage fees,
– heard Commissioner Harris report on a successful public forum in Loachapoka,
– had  first readings to fill vacancies/reappointments on Beauregard Water Board (Harry Lazenby) and Smiths Station Water and Sewer Authority (Richard Key), and
– at the request of Commissioner Long, agreed for use of county resources to complete site preparation for new Smiths Station Fire and Rescue Station (removal of five trees and topsoil from two acres, according to Long).


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