For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara announced the promotion of veteran agency members Suzanne Woodward and Wes Harbin to the rank of Sergeant.
Sgt. Woodward is a 20-plus-year law enforcement veteran. She was born in Schenectady, New York, and graduated from high school in Rotterdam, N.Y. She has received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Union Institute and University of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Prior to joining the Sheriff's Office, she worked as a police dispatcher in Rotterdam, N.Y., and then as a patrol deputy and detective with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
There, she investigated thousands of sex crimes, crimes against children, and child abuse cases including but not limited to suspicious and non-suspicious deaths of children. This was the true beginning of her love for the job and where her sincere child advocacy began.
Sgt. Woodward was a Public Safety Officer for the Greenacres Public Safety Department and as sexual offender notification program coordinator with the Port St. Lucie Police Department where she created and ran the program.
She joined the Sheriff's Office in January 2003 and established our agency's sex offender unit, responsible for checking on all registered sexual offenders and predators in the county supervising quarterly offender sweeps and conferring daily with probation and parole officers, detectives and numerous others.
She also has investigated countless sex crimes, demonstrating highly developed investigative skills, exhaustive knowledge of applicable law and regulations, teamwork with fellow officers, empathy for victims and a relentless dedication to arresting offenders. She is a member of the St. Lucie County Child Abduction Response Team, a Special Deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service and a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
She is an adjunct professor at Indian River State College where she teaches at the police academy as well as teaching advanced law enforcement classes.
She has earned the praise of crime victims, prosecutors, members of other law agencies and fellow deputies.
Her departmental honors include detective of the quarter (three times), commendation, two unit citations, and exceptional duty.
Her leadership skills are well known. She will now put these skills to good use in her new role as Sergeant.
Sgt. Harbin is a native of Tucson, Ariz. He has been a St. Lucie County resident since he was a year old. He graduated from Fort Pierce Westwood High School in 1994. He has received his Associate of Arts degree in Criminal Justice Technology from Indian River State College. He currently is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice Administration.
He joined the Sheriff's Office in September 2000. He has served in Uniform Patrol, SWAT and Criminal Investigations, which is his current assignment. He is the agency's Human Trafficking Coordinator, and he is a member of the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team. He also has been a Field Training Officer. Since 2005, he has been a High Liabilities Use of Force Instructor.
In all his assignments he has earned a reputation for attention to detail, empathy for crime victims and the ability to interact well with fellow law officers and members of the public. Whether on or off duty, he takes decisive action in a professional manner. He is also committed to physical fitness.
His departmental honors include three commendations, deputy of the quarter, detective of the quarter, three safe driver awards, four unit citations and two lifesaving awards.