by Donna McBride, Pinal County Juvenile Court, Program Administrator II
Pinal County is filled with leaders we may never meet. They lead by example every day to a population often forgotten — our youth.
We recently honored four of these everyday heroes.
Oscar Peace is a senior detention officer assigned to the intake unit at the Pinal County Youth Justice Center and was honored as Detention Officer of the Year. In an especially challenging year working intake in a detention facility serving seven counties and the U.S. Marshals’ office, Oscar demonstrated a positive attitude, arriving on shift each day prepared to navigate the daily challenges so all the needs were met. His is a steady hand that lends his care and expertise to youth, families and the communities served daily.
Andy Silvas came to the department in 2004. He started at the Youth Justice Center and transferred to Intervention Services as a surveillance officer. He was honored as Employee of the Year. Andy develops positive relationships with youth while being responsible for court youth or pre-adjudicated youth on electronic monitoring. He has been instrumental in reducing the number of warrants issued. If someone doesn’t show for court, Andy attempts to locate the family to avoid that warrant being issued.
Jessica Ortega started with Pinal County in 2016, specifically to lead an innovative program and approach to probation supervision. This approach largely focused on evidence-based practice, community and family engagement. She helped build the program and was honored as Line Officer of the Year. She is driven to do her best when evaluating the needs of each youth and family in her caseload to help them be successful. She problem solves through barriers and focuses on strengths.
John Fuery has been the division manager since 2016 and was honored as Supervisor of the Year. He is extremely skilled at assisting staff on resolving issues and creating an environment that works best for everyone. John is approachable, reliable, consistent and supports his staff and colleagues. His leadership has set the example for both management staff and line staff. The department was literally torn apart because of COVID, yet John’s first line of defense was the safety of staff. He wants people to succeed and mentors them from where “they are at” to where they can be. He demonstrates resilience and confidence as he mentors through his down-to-earth leadership style.
For more information on Pinal County Juvenile Court and their many programs for youth and families, visit www.pinalcountyaz.gov/JuvenileCourtServices