For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara promoted three detention deputies to the rank of sergeant: Petri Hayes, Jason Wheeler and James Willingham.
Sgt. Petri Hayes is a native of Gary, Ind., where he graduated from high school and graduated from Indiana University Northwest with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. Before joining the Sheriff's Office he worked as a correctional officer at Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, rising to the rank of Lieutenant.
He became a member of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office as a Detention Deputy in October 2009.
Sgt. Jason Wheeler is a native of Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining the Sheriff's Office Department of Detention in April 2001, he worked for two years at the Eckerd Youth Development program in Okeechobee.
He has been assigned to several areas of the jail prior to assisting with the re-accreditation process in 2005. Since that time, he has been the jail accreditation manager and has been instrumental in the facility attaining and maintaining 100 percent compliance with all applicable standards.
He also has earned the designation of Master Deputy.
He has received numerous commendations from members of the public whose family members have been confined the jail, as well as professionals whose duties have brought them into contact with Sgt. Wheeler throughout his years with the Sheriff's Office.
His departmental honors include a Life Saving Award, Unit Citation, Detention Deputy of the Quarter (three times), Detention Deputy of the Year.
Sgt. James Willingham is a native of Clewiston in Hendry County. He graduated from John C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C., with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology.
Before joining the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office in November 2008, he worked as a Correctional Officer for five years at South Bay Correctional Facility where he attained the rank of Sergeant and was named Officer of the Month twice.
He has been named Detention Deputy of the Quarter twice.
"All three have shown outstanding leadership and other professional skills," said Sheriff Mascara following the ceremony held recently at the St. Lucie County jail. "Each has worked hard to meet the requirements for promotion. I have no doubt all three Sergeants will make outstanding contributions to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office."