Local Law Enforcement/Firefighter Awards – Buz Blog

I’ve always seen first responders as unsung heroes and very special people because, when everyone else is running away from danger, they run into it.” – Dwayne Johnson

Each year, Prescott Elks Lodge #330, recognizes and shows its appreciation to the first responders in our area. The police officers, sheriff deputies, troopers, firefighters and paramedics provide us with their selfless services. They protect us from chaos and conflagrations that would occur without them.

This year, Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes, Prescott Police Chief Amy Bonney, Prescott Valley Police Chief Bob Ticer, Yavapai-Prescott Tribal Police Chief Scott Desjadon, Prescott Fire Chief Holger Duree and Central Arizona Fire Chief Scott Freitag, named individuals from their departments that they determined were exceptional in their jobs. The District 12 captain for the Arizona Highway Patrol declined to name a trooper this year.


The recipient this year for the Prescott Fire Department is Kristofer Yount. Firefighter Yount serves on the board of the Prescott Firefighter Charity, which was founded in the aftermath of the Yarnell Hill tragedy. This organization helps members and public safety responders in need. Kristofer Yount participated in the 2022 edition of Dancing for the Stars and helped raise over $400,000 for youth in Yavapai County.

Even though he works one of the busiest stations, he always comes to work with a positive attitude regardless of the workload. Firefighter Yount is noted for his exemplary patient and customer care. He has prior experience in this field yet he is humble and willingly shares his knowledge with all members of the department. Firefighter Yount is a dedicated family man. He is the kind of firefighter that never rests and always works on a project between calls for the improvement of the department. His chief describes Kristofer as “being focused on the community first, working and living with a sense of courage, grit, and duty; and is driven by excellence. “


Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority has named Engineer Jace Hall as this year’s recipient. Engineer Hall has taken on different roles in the organization, one of which is in the EMS Training Division. He has maintained his American Heart Association certifications as both a participant and an instructor enabling him to teach many required classes to fire personnel. He is a mentor to others, assisting them in obtaining their AHA certifications. Engineer Hall was instrumental in the initial HandTevy App training which is a system that enables EMS and hospital systems to treat and rapidly document the care for critically ill and injured patients safely and effectively.

Engineer Hall has assisted with many off-duty public presentations. He goes above and beyond his regular duty to come up with ways to improve not only his department’s EMS delivery, but also the quality of training that is provided to all. His supervisors state that Engineer Hall “continues to demonstrate an understanding of the ever-changing needs of the Fire Service and the organization he serves, showcasing his dedication to the success of both.”


The recipient for the Yavapai-Prescott Tribal Police this year is Officer Ben Shelby. Officer Shelby joined the Yavapai-Prescott Tribal Police in 2015 with previous law enforcement experience with the Arizona Game and Fish. He was promoted to the Tribes Conservation Officer in 2021. Even though he was unable to move to that new position because of staffing issues, Officer Shelby never complained. His supervisor states that Ben is a “go to employee.” Whenever he is asked to do anything, to change his schedule, reassign a shift, Officer Shelby’s response is, “whatever you need boss.”

When asked to travel to the White Mountains last September to assist the White Mountain Apache Tribe with coverage so their officers could attend a memorial for their fallen officer, Officer Shelby did so without hesitation. While answering a call for service there, Ben responded to a house fire along with several other officers. Officer Shelby heard what he thought was a subject in distress. He went above and beyond in checking out a building located on the property. Officer Shelby located an individual who was attempting to take his own life. He intervened and was able to prevent a tragedy.


Prescott Police Department has named Officer Kevin Forrest as their recipient this year. Since joining the Prescott Police Department in 2015, Officer Forrest has worked in the Patrol Operations Bureau and since 2019 he has worked the Community Services Section as a bike officer. He is described by his department as “a dedicated, self-motivated law enforcement officer who goes about his job with passion, determination, and drive.” He is a team player. When asked to temporarily leave his Community Services position to help in Patrol Operations, Officer Forrest did so without complaint showing “the same dedication, work ethic and positivity he has demonstrated throughout his career.” He is considered a leader in the Prescott Police Department and the community.


For Prescott Valley Police Department this year, the recipient is Officer Kenny Sease. Officer Sease has been with the Prescott Valley PD for five and a half years. He has worked in the Patrol Division and the Drug Enforcement Unit. Sergeant Hader describes Kenny as “a shining example of an exemplary police officer.” Officer Sease is bilingual and a certified Spanish speaker who uses his skill for the benefit of his unit and the department. Kenny has received compliments which refer to his demeanor on calls, traffic stops and court appearances.

Officer Sease is very involved in community events in Prescott Valley. He has worked with Puente De La Communidad, the Turkey Drive at Fry’s, Big Brother/Big Sister events, Cops and Kids and Coffee with a Cop, amoung others. He was voted Officer of the Year by his peers in 2021. Kenny Sease has recently been selected as a Corporal, working with his sergeant on his squad.


This year’s selection by the Yavapai County Sheriff is Deputy Elijah Smith. In 2022, Deputy Smith was one of the top performers in the categories of total calls handled, total assisting calls and total arrests made. He regularly volunteers to adjust his schedule or work overtime to accommodate for low staffing that are affecting almost all law enforcement agencies. In addition to his superlative performance as a patrol deputy, Elijah has volunteered ten times in the past year to assist Forrest Patrol as a Search and Rescue Coordinator, resulting in the rescue of seventeen citizens. One of those rescues included his coordination of an emergency helicopter evacuation from an extremely remote location for an elderly man experiencing what paramedics described as a heart attack, likely saving the man’s life. Deputy Smith always steps up to take on any work that needs to be done and is an asset to his agency in these times of short staffing. He does this with a tremendous attitude and unrelenting commitment to the agency and community of Yavapai County.


2 thoughts on “Local Law Enforcement/Firefighter Awards – Buz Blog”

  1. Thanks Buz for putting this together. Too bad most people of the greater Prescott area will not read of these highly promotable public safety personnel.
    Their chosen professions are ones of danger and extreme danger to themselves on a regular basis and we all need to thank them with a wave and smile when we cross paths.

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