By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Sheriff's Sgt. Nick Turner has received the prestigious Sheriff's Star for his role in the arrest of admitted double-murderer Patrick Drum.
Sheriff Bill Benedict presented the star to Turner — citing his exceptional service June 3, 2012 — along with other staff awards in two ceremonies at the Clallam County Courthouse on Friday.
Turner was awarded the Sheriff's Star for quickly linking a homicide at a Heuslein Road residence to a report of a suspicious person in the woods off Blue Mountain Road.
Turner's reaction enabled deputies to establish a perimeter around the area and close in on Drum in a heavily wooded area.
Drum, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Jerry W. Ray, 56, and Drum's former housemate Gary L. Blanton Jr., 28. Drum was sentenced to life without parole.
Drum told authorities he committed the murders as part of a vendetta against sex offenders. He had planned to target a third convicted sex offender in Quilcene.
Benedict said Turner's actions saved lives.
Turner has been with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office for 30 years.
Also receiving a Sheriff's Star was Chris James, administrative assistant to the sheriff, support services supervisor and administrative coordinator for the command staff.
Benedict said James was instrumental in the Sheriff's Office being accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
“Chris' meticulous, determined and tireless work ethic, as well as her ability to quickly assimilate and adapt to high pressure and fluid changing circumstances, is an inspiration to others and a credit to the citizens of Clallam County,” Benedict wrote in the awards program.
Meanwhile, Deputy Brian Knutson received a Lifesaving Award for deploying an automated external defibrillator on a 22-year-old who suffered a heart attack Oct. 1.
The victim eventually recovered at Olympic Medical Center.
Civil Deputy Kaylene Zellar received the department's Employee of the Year award for her “continual excellence in service regardless of assignment.”
Zellar was hired in 2006 and moved to her current role in 2009. She handles subpoenas and writs, concealed-weapons permits, sex offender registration and myriad other tasks.
“Kaylene's zeal for perfection, her determination to overcome obstacles and solve problems as well as her exceptional work ethic are in the highest standards of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office,” Benedict wrote.
Deputy Stacy Sampson received a special service award for her outstanding work as a detective, department spokesman Jim Borte said.
Dave Hepner, a Community Police Volunteer, was recognized by the Sheriff's Office as Volunteer of the Year.
Since 2010, Hepner has been the special deputy in charge of serving summons and subpoenas.
“Dave has an incredible work ethic and will adjust his hours and days he volunteers to accomplish his mission of serving civil paperwork as well as volunteering at almost every Community Policing Event since 2010,” Benedict said.
Hepner volunteered 528 hours in 2012, the most out of the 41 who earned President's Volunteer Service Awards for serving at least 100 hours.
All told, 115 volunteers gave 9,171 hours of service in 2012, which equates to $208,107 in taxpayer dollars.