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News Sheriff’s Office honors outstanding officers

From left, Sheriff Robbie Holland, Rep. Mark Meadows, Tory Stewart, Deputy of the Year Josh Stewart and Major Andy Shields at the annual banquet to honor outstanding members of law enforcement.Recognizing the dedication and willingness to serve the residents of Macon County, each year the Macon County Sheriff’s Department holds an annual banquet to honor the outstanding men and women in law enforcement. In appreciation of local law enforcement, Congressman Mark Meadows attended the MCSO annual banquet at the Dillard House. Meadows thanked Macon County law enforcement officers for their sacrifices made by the officers and their families and assisted Holland in presenting the awards.

The Macon County Sheriff’s Department named Joshua Stewart Deputy of the Year during their annual banquet.

"Josh Stewart is very deserving of the Deputy of the Year and Brent Ledford couldn’t be more deserving to be named Detention Officer of the Year,” said Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. ”Both of these men are the type of officers you can always get in touch with even when off duty and you can count on them no matter what the situation might be. They both conduct themself in a professional manner and are always willing to help others. They care about the community they serve and do not hesitate when duty calls. I know their fellow officers join me in congratulating them and agree they are very deserving of these honors.”

“I am very honored and filled with gratitude to be the 2013 Deputy of the Year,” said Stewart. “I was ecstatic when Sheriff Holland presented me with the award.”

Stewart attended Lenoir Rhyne University for two years on a football scholarship and then attended Western Carolina University for one year before deciding to pursue his dream career in law enforcement. “Sheriff Holland initially hired me as a part-time detention officer and transport officer in the spring of 2010,” said Stewart. “I attended Detention Officer Certification at AB Tech in Asheville shortly after I began working. I was hired full-time as a detention officer after completing my Detention Officer Certification and worked in the Macon County Detention Center until Sheriff Holland sent me to Basic Law Enforcement Training [BLET] at Southwestern Community College the spring of 2011.”

After completing BLET in September of 2011, Stewart began working as a Patrol Officer.

“I have attended hundreds of hours of additional training that improves my performance as a Patrol Officer such as Radar Certification, Intoximeter Certification, Standardized Field Sobriety Testing training, Alco-Sensor SFST training, and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training,” said Stewart. “I joined the Macon County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team in July of 2013 and attended over 100 hours of SWAT training classes such as Basic Swat Operator, Advanced Swat Operator and Basic Ballistic Shield Operator. I currently work on Patrol and also function as a SWAT Operator on the Macon County SRT.”

When asked if one incident stands out over the past year as reaffirming his decision to be a law enforcement officer, Stewart said the culmination of his experiences reminds him why he joined the profession. “Every day that I put on a uniform and go to work on patrol is different from the last,” said Stewart. “I enjoy my profession because of the diversity of incidents that require our response and the opportunity to meet, interact and help so many people from every walk of life. There is no single incident that reminds me of why I wanted to work in this profession, rather, the summation of all the distinct incidents keep me excited and motivated to go back to work every day. That's why I wanted to have a career in law enforcement.”

Stewart comes from a family of law enforcement officers, which he attributes to his passion for the career. “I have several members of my family that have worked in law enforcement and I grew up with a deep respect and interest in the profession,” said Stewart. “I wanted to have a career that would allow me to contribute to my community while providing for my family. I enjoy every aspect of being a patrol officer and take pride in the performance of my duties.

Being named Deputy of the Year right before Christmas, Stewart was once again reminded of the hardest part of his job. “By far the most difficult aspect of my job is the time that I miss with my family,” said Stewart. “Missing holidays, birthdays and family gatherings while at work is difficult. Without such a supportive and loving wife, son and family, working in this profession would be very tough. All of the excellent officers that I work with, including myself, are blessed with supportive families that appreciate and understand the sacrifices made to work in law enforcement.”

Recognizing the commitment of the families of law enforcement officers, Holland thanked Stewart’s wife for supporting Stewart in his career. “We want to thank his wife who also deserves some credit for the sacrifice she and all officers’ families make in allowing each of them to do their jobs,” said Holland. “If not for the support of our families none of us could do our jobs. “

“I would like to thank Sheriff Holland and all the officers that contribute to the success of the Macon County Sheriff's Office,” concluded Stewart. “I am proud to be a part of such a professional group of men and women that devote themselves to outstanding service to the citizens of Macon County.”

Detention Officer of the Year

From left, Derek Roland, Rep. Mark Meadows, Detention Officer of the Year Brent Ledford, Sheriff Robbie Holland and Major Andy Shields.Just two years after becoming employed with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, Brent Ledford was named Detention Officer of the Year. Ledford, who is married with two sons and a daughter, attended Middle Tennessee State University and is still working toward completing a degree in Public Relations. Ledford received his Detention Officer Certification from AB Tech in August 2012 and has been employed with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department since April 2011.

“I was in shock when I was presented with this award,” Ledford said of his reaction to being presented with the award. “I was also very grateful.”

According to Ledford, the most rewarding part of his career is having the opportunity to positively influence inmates who come into the jail. “Being a detention officer is certainly not a glory-type position, but to see that I can make some type of positive influence on an inmate is glory enough for me,” said Ledford. “To see them and hear about them doing well and helping to make a positive contribution to our community is why I love my job.”

Unlike Stewart, Ledford’s pursuit of law enforcement came as a surprise. “I never thought I would work in law enforcement until one day it just kind of happened,” said Ledford. “But it has truly become a career that I have grown to love and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I hope to one day be able to see this job from the patrol side because that aspect is something that really interests me. I am very interested in continuing in this field and continuing to receive as much training and education as possible.”

As a Franklin native, Ledford is dedicated to making a difference in his community, but the long hours away from his family proves to be the hardest part of the job. “The hardest part of my job would have to be the time spent away from my family,” said Ledford. “I work a lot, I not only do it for them but I do it for my community. I want to see Macon County be the best place it can be. I want that because I love my wife and kids so much and want the place that they live, grow, and learn in be the safest place possible. And I want to do all I can to make sure that it is.”

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