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Yuba County Sheriff - Special Recognition

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Yuba County Sheriff
Special Employee Recognition

2021 Employee Awards:

Peace Officer of the Year:  Deputy Jacob "Jason" Ballantine

Ballantine_2021 OFFICER OF THE YEAR

Jason began his career with the Sheriff’s office in 2018 starting as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff. He quickly demonstrated a great demeanor for the job and was hired full-time as a Deputy Sheriff upon his graduation from the Yuba College Modular Police Academy where he has developed into a superb deputy within the department.

He has held several specialty assignments which include: Cadet Advisor,  Resident Foothill Deputy, assists with the METYU Task Force Team, and most recently Code Enforcement Officer.  Jason is always willing to assist others and maintains open communications with his peers and supervisors and is very enthusiastic about his job and the service he provides to the citizens of Yuba County. Prior to becoming a Peace Officer, Jason served our county in the US Army for 11 years and was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Active Duty from 2007 - 2012, followed by the Army National Guard until 2018, Jason to deployed to Afghanistan and is a highly decorated soldier. He was assigned to the 2668th Transportation Unit as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. 

In January 2021, Jason was selected for a new specialty assignment as our Code Enforcement Officer focusing on quality of life issues for the citizens of Yuba County.  This position works hand in hand with Code Enforcement and the HEART Team in regard to transient issues and different County ordinance violations.  He held this role solo for several months and hit the road running knowing that this is something serious and important for our community.

Right from the start, he along with other community partners worked several different investigations addressing transient camps, excessive blight, neighbor complaints and nuisance residences.  Jason and Code Enforcement have removed thousands and thousands of pounds of trash, removed transient camps from various locations within the county and towed numerous abandoned vehicles.  The Simpson Lane Corridor has been vacated and the Highway 70 cemetery has been cleared of campers. It is an ongoing issue that seems never ending, but when driving around our local community you can see the huge impact his efforts have made.

He has taken a significant amount of reports for trespassing, drug possession and other miscellaneous violations.  He has authorized numerous search warrants and when you listen to the radio you often hear his badge number throughout the day as he never seems to stop.    Jason has a positive attitude which is contagious throughout the department. His work ethic and dedication to our community is to be commended and why he was selected as our Peace Officer of the Year for 2021.

Correctional Officer of the Year:  Officer Allen Gillen


Allen began his career with the Sheriff’s office in Nov 2013 starting out as a Reserve Correctional Officer and he quickly promoted to full-time.  He is extremely knowledgeable and does not hesitate to share his expertise with others through his position as a Jail Training Officer.  Allen continually works to self-develop and enhance his skills.  He is also always one of the first ones to volunteer for any extra duties and will change his shift to fill staffing voids when needed. 

His professionalism and demeanor allow him to be both approachable and respected by the other officers and the inmates as well.  Allen will seek out ways and make suggestions on how to make the jail safer and efficient.  He takes initiative by coming in on his days off to learn every aspect of the jail and its functions in cooperation with the courts, probation and patrol.  He always has a can do positive attitude and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done while putting the success of the Sheriff’s office first.

Employee of the Year: CSO Walter "Jay" Ross

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Jay has been assigned to the Operations Division and always goes above and beyond in his work.  If there is a call for service that is deemed a “CSO” call, he will do everything in his control to  ensure he handles the call so that deputies remain on patrol in the field.  He will oftentimes assist deputies with coroners investigations when tensions are often high due to mourning family members.  In addition, Jay is often the only CSO on shift and handles call after call and still will find time to assist deputies with follow-up or evidence. 

Jay has also been an exceptional help to Support Services.  He is extremely dedicated and passionate about his work, especially with regard to the Mobile Incident Command Vehicle.  The Command Vehicle requires constant attention in order to be fully functional during an emergency and we have Ross to thank for it always being in excellent shape and ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

As much as we appreciate the work he does, it is his attitude that is the most impressive.  He exudes positivity and focus in his duties and is a perfect example of how effective a CSO can be interacting with the community and staff alike.

Volunteer of the Year:  STAR Sue Voelker

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Sue has been with the STARS Volunteers since 2008 and has a sincere desire to serve her community.  Sue has been an incredible help to Support Services, particularly with Vehicle Maintenance.  Despite all of the obstructions with the pandemic, Sue has been an absolute constant for the Sheriff’s Department.  Her willingness to work with and train other volunteers has been paramount to the STARS program.  She is a true leader in the program and very well respected by all other volunteers for her efforts.  Inspiring new volunteers to help is a critical component of the program, which seems natural to Sue as she leads by example.  She truly cares about serving the community and we could not ask for a better reflection of the program or the department.

Reserve Deputy of the Year: Deputy Sam Hernandez

Sam was hired as a Level 1A reserve with our department in 2019 after working as a peace officer for the last 37 years. In 1985 Sam graduated from the San Diego Police Academy and worked for the San Diego PD. During that time he worked Patrol, Investigations Detective, and was a member of their SWAT Team. In 1988 Sam lateraled to the West Sacramento PD. Where he worked patrol, gang detective, narcotic's detective, K-9 officer, and FTO. While at west Sacramento he received two life-saving awards, Two medal of valor awards and a civilian congressional honor award. In 2009 Sam retired from West Sacramento and returned to San Diego where he worked patrol for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department till 2017 when Sam and his wife Frances moved back to Sacramento to care for their parents.

Since he has been with us he has always been one of the active members of the reserve program. He fills in for deputies so they can take time off and is always ready to come in and work at a moments notice. Sam also works undercover details. On one such detail Sgt. Parker called him in to look for a 211 PC. Suspect. Once Sam hit the streets it took him all of 20 minutes to locate the suspect. In the future I'm positive Sam will continue to be one of our greatest assets. 

Deputy Aguirre -Infant CPR Rescue