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Board honors county workers

For The Madera Tribune

Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue honors detective Donald Babineaux. The Madera County Board of Supervisors honored groups and individuals with its annual Madera County Award of Excellence on April 20.


The Madera County Board of Supervisors hosted a number of departments to honor individuals who have gone above and beyond with its annual Madera County Award of Excellence.

Those honoring individuals or groups at the April 20 meeting were Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue, Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno, Madera County Animal Services Director Cindy Avila and Madera County Veterans Service Officer Joshua Christopherson.

Sheriff’s Office

Detective Donald Babineaux

Detective Babineaux has been assigned to the investigations division for approximately one year. In that time, he has authored more than 100 search warrants. Detective Babineaux has focused primarily on the exploitation of children, but has been an important part in many significant cases to include homicide investigations. Since January 2021, Detective Babineaux has arrested four individuals and seized more than 7,000 images and videos depicting the exploitation of children. Detective Babineaux works closely with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Detective Babineaux has demonstrated a tireless dedication to pursue Internet child predators not only in Madera County, but throughout the United States.

Veteran’s Service Office

Jessenia Cervantez andAna Velasquez

Jessenia and Ana exemplify the qualities and values that all employees should strive for in Madera County. While tacking true VSO leadership in recent years, both employees were incredibly proactive and went above and beyond their normal duties to ensure that veterans of Madera County continued to receive the services they deserve. They not only performed duties well above their pay grade, but they also executed their normal daily duties with such efficiency and effectiveness that a recent stale audit of our VSO work revealed the most impressive results Christopherson has ever seen. This is a true testament lo Jessenia’s and Ana’s hard work and dedication to this Country and the county’s veterans.

Animal Services Office

Bonnie Hill, Shane Gray, Colin Burnthorne, Terry Perez, Tramel Thompson, Theresa Herring, Crystal Wiggins, Tina Canestrino, Stacey Burkhalter, Robin Burgess, Chris Huerta, Francisco Padilla, Brittany Robins, Ludwing Casillas

“My team has exemplified the mission of Madera County by being present and willing to give that little extra for the animals as well as the public, no matter the struggles we faced throughout the past year,” Avila said. “COVID 19, the Creek Fire, and transitioning to a new way of shelter operations could have damaged a lesser team. Your Animal Services team shone brightly in uncertain times.

I could not be prouder of my team. Each member has gone above and beyond what is expected of them; they are truly awesome. Never before has our profession been taxed like it was during the unprecedented changes of the past year. My team acted heroically, patiently, and without complaint. Additionally, reductions is shelter disease, length of stay, and euthanasia were met with increases in morale, teamwork, and accountability benefiting animals and Madera County residents alike.”

District Attorney’s Office

Filing Prosecutors Team: Ben Levy Brooke Bergman, Cheryl Bonner, Chris Brooke, Dan Martin, Dave Petersen, Eric DuTemple, Esthela Williamson, Isaul Lemus, James Costello, Jeff Dupras, Keane Anrig, Noah Marchall, Patricia Ziegler-Lopez, Rachel Cartier, Spenser Wagner, Teju Olubeko, Tim Hooyenga, Traci Wise, Todd Spangle

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, as case files began to be moved from the Support Staff Team to the Prosecutors for the new complete filing process, this team stepped up to the plate. The new filing process includes many additional steps, including designating witnesses for contested hearings, making an initial settlement offer, preparing documents for delivery to the defense, making a custody/bail recommendation to the judge, and writing a brief case summary in the file. In addition to their regular duties, these prosecutors moved through hundreds of cases taking dozens of steps and adapting to processes, which changed sometimes daily to reach the new standard of not more than 20 filings pending for any attorney by April 1.

“I am truly humbled to be able to call myself the leader of such an outstanding team of attorneys,” Moreno said. “Their experience levels and skill sets vary as widely as can be imagined, but they each contribute in a critical way to the function of the team as a whole. This team is so much more than the sum of its parts. Through their hard work, creativity, and dedication to each other, It would be difficult to overestimate their contribution to the orderly administration of justice in Madera County.

District Attorney’s Office

DA Support Staff Team: Lisa Childers, Maria Knobloch, Lisa Olson, Angel Keeling, Morgyn Chavira, Breanna Beavers, Laura Flores.

Beginning in May of 2020, The DA’s Office began moving toward paperless function. By the Fall of 2020, the office changed processes multiple times and, through trial and error and teamwork, come up with a fairly complete system of steps to transition from paper submissions from justice partners to electronic submissions. The support staff team then trained justice partners, and scanned, and entered hundreds of existing files, preparing them to be electronically reviewed by attorney staff. January of 2021 marks the first time in the known history of the DA’s office that all pending filings were processed and forwarded to attorneys for filing decisions.

This group of women have endured many changes and challenges this past year, starting with new management, procedure changes, staffing shortage, and a pandemic. There were many uncertainties, obstacles and loss brought by the pandemic. This team joined forces to ensure the mission and vision of our office was brought to fruition. The team not only functioned under these difficult conditions, but continually sought to improve systems by proactively making suggestions to improve function. These suggestions and this team’s loyalty to the mission and each other have resulted in a significantly better ability for the office to pursue justice for all Maderans.


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