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Page updated Oct 25, 2012 10:02 AM

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Optimist Club Honors Deputies with 2012 Respect for Law Award

The Optimist Club of Alexandria honored two deputies with the Respect for Law Award at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 24, at the Belle Haven Country Club. Optimist president Sue Wilson presented the awards for Deputy Sheriff III Mark Jessup and Deputy Sheriff II Brian Bell in recognition of their outstanding work at the Sheriff’s Office and for their volunteer service to young people. Deputy Jessup and his wife Terri were joined at the luncheon by Deputy Chief Deputy Tim Gleeson, Chief Deputy Clarke Stearns and Captain Frank Milano also attended the luncheon. Deputy Bell was unable to attend and Captain Milano accepted the award on his behalf.

Deputy Jessup joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2004, first working in Detention Center Operations Bureau and then joining the Judicial and Special Operations Bureau where he serves as the Gang Deputy. In this capacity, he is instrumental in ensuring the flow of information about gang presence in the City and about inmates in the Detention Center who may have gang affiliations. Through this intelligence, Deputy Jessup and others are able to prevent serious gang problems inside the jail. In addition to this work, Deputy Jessup has been a mentor at Charles Barrett Elementary School, the first of Sheriff’s Office staff to volunteer when the new mentoring program to benefit young people began three years ago. As a mentor, he provides caring, consistent friendship and guidance to his mentee. Deputy Jessup hopes that his encouragement and support will help the students he mentors to achieve their full potential, effectively solve problems, and to grow to be successful adults. He takes this assignment seriously, recognizing that for the mentor relationship to be beneficial, consistency is a key. He meets weekly with his mentee and during that time, encourages positive choices, promotes high self-esteem, and encourages academic achievement.

Deputy Bell, an 18-year-veteran, sets a strong example of professionalism, dedication to excellence, and teamwork in his assignment at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. He is active in organizations that benefit local young people, and for more than eight years he has been a committed volunteer with East of Anacostia, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth and children. In this volunteer assignment, Deputy Bell has served as a mentor to many young people and has dedicated his time supporting their academic progress by supervising their completion of homework and school assignments as well as organizing educational outings, like trips to museums and historic sites. He has also helped the organization with group events like taking kids to sporting events, organizing sports and games, and sponsoring their participation in summer camps. Deputy Bell gives generously of his time and money to improve the lives of youth who face significant challenges in their daily lives.

The Sheriff’s Office is honored to have both Deputy Jessup and Deputy Bell serving the people of Alexandria and the young people in this area, and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne joins both deputies in thanking the Optimist Club of Alexandria for this special recognition. They also extend congratulations to Officer Marcus Downey who received the award for the Alexandria Police Department.

Below: Optimist Club President Sue Wilson presents Deputy Mark Jessup, joined by Chief Deputy Tim Gleeson, with the 2012 Respect for Law Award.2012 Optimist Awards Ceremony