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 February 15th, 2013  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara appoints three to Sergeant
Today, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara promoted three Detention Deputies to the rank of Sergeant: Petri Hayes, Jason Wheeler and James Willingham.

"All three have shown outstanding leadership and other professional skills," said Sheriff Mascara following the ceremony this morning 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."

Sgt. Petri Hayes

Sgt. Petri Hayes is a native of Gary, Indiana, 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 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.

His evaluators have noted his attention to detail and well developed time management skills. He is described as "extremely independent," a "team player," a good decision maker and "needing no supervision." One evaluation described him as a "good candidate for a supervisory position."

He serves as a member of the Special Emergency Response Team at the jail.

He has shown he possesses all the skills to be an effective supervisor.

Sgt. Jason Wheeler

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 has handled a variety of assignments at the jail including Accreditation Manager. This position has earned him the praise of several Sheriff's Offices throughout Florida.

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 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.

He is described by supervisors as an "enthusiastic team player" who is "always willing to help without question or complaint." He has also been described as "always willing to work with and help others" with the "ability to be a strong leader."

Sgt. James Willingham

Sgt. James Willingham is a native of Clewiston in Hendry County, Florida. 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.

He has been described as a "self starter" who shows "unmatched professionalism in his work ethic and displaying a positive mental attitude that motivates his fellow workers. Supervisors also have noted his "superior enthusiasm" on the job and that he "maintains calm and self control in even the most extreme situations."

He will have the opportunity to put these qualities to good use in his new role as a Sergeant.

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