Sgt. Byrd and Sgt. McNeill

Sgt. William Byrd and Sgt. James McNeill were named the ASCO 2020 Deputies of the Year.

JEFFERSON — Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell said that the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office has announced its 2020 Deputies of the Year.

Sgt. William Byrd and Sgt. James McNeill both led the sheriff’s office in statistics and service to the sheriff’s office and the Ashe County citizens. Both have gone above and beyond the call to be a deputy sheriff.

Byrd, a K-9 handler and day shift patrol supervisor, was awarded the honor based largely upon the stats he has built while serving the citizens in Ashe County over the course of 2020. During the course of the year 2020 Byrd responded to 875 calls for service and led the sheriff’s office in several categories.

These stats are particularly impressive considering that Byrd’s days are filled with supervising his staff, training and caring for his K-9 partner “William.”

While Byrd’s stats are significant, his commitment to our community outshines these impressive statistics. Byrd has emerged during the years as a leader at ACSO and we remain grateful for his dedicated service.

McNeill, a day shift patrol supervisor, was awarded the honor based largely upon a series of unrelated events during the last few months in which he stepped up and went above the call-of-duty to assist citizens of Ashe County. In one instance McNeill arrived on the scene of a female without signs of life , receiving CPR from a family member. McNeill, without hesitation, took over performing CPR and continued to do so until medical first responders arrived on scene and took over for him. McNeill’s actions in this situation were credited with helping to save the woman’s life.

In another incident during the 2020 year, McNeill, who had recently been issued one of 17 large tool kits acquired by ACSO from the US Army, used it to resolve a stressful situation for a family. Upon his arrival to a residence McNeill was informed that a child with special needs was in significant distress due to unintentionally locking himself in a room and the family was unable to get him out. McNeill, who could have easily forced the door open causing extensive damage to the family’s home, was able to use the tools to disassemble the door jam and free the young man. After the family was reunited and the young man had calmed down, McNeill, could have returned to his vehicle and left the scene, instead used his tools to put the family’s door back together.

These actions are not uncommon for McNeill. As the above are just a few examples of his daily devotion to Ashe County and to the deputies he supervises. McNeill is seen as a role model to younger and less experienced deputies. We are lucky to have McNeill serving Ashe County and this award is hard-earned and well-deserved.

We are proud of all of the hard working public servants that have chosen a career at the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office. The character and devotion to serve from our staff as a whole is something we intend to celebrate. In a times of uncertainty such as these, the acts of these two fine deputies are something we wanted to share with the citizens of our community.

It is important to recognize that a public servant’s main job is just that, to serve. Byrd and Mcneill are fine examples of this trait.

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