Sheriff lauds life-saving efforts by ACSO staff

12 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — Two Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office employees went above and beyond in their heroic efforts to help individuals who were in mental health crises, said Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen.

Gillen presented corrections officer Shawn Little and dispatcher Kenneth Spittle with awards for their service to The County during the Aroostook County Commissioners’ April 19 meeting in Houlton.

Gillen said it is very difficult to get good employees and when they go above and beyond, he notices. The jobs these men do are tough on a day-to-day basis. They often see the worst of the worst, and yet they excel, never hesitating to do what it takes to help others, Gillen said. 

“I was extremely impressed,” Gillen said about each of the employees who acted courageously in separate incidents. “They remained calm and did an awesome job.”

Little, who has worked as a corrections officer for 22 years, was presented with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Award in recognition of his courageous actions at the Aroostook County jail.

As part of his regular duties, Little was making rounds to check on inmates when he saw an inmate who had attempted to take his life and was not breathing. Without hesitation Little started CPR and brought him back, Gillen said.

“Your outstanding efforts gave someone another chance at life,” Gillen told Little during the commissioners meeting. “We all know what a hard job it is in the jail on a day-to-day basis and you jumped into action and saved this inmate’s life.”

Spittle, who has been a dispatcher for 22 years, was presented with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher of the Year Award. 

Last year, Spittle was handling a distress call related to a hostage situation when a woman barricaded herself inside her home in fear of a man with a gun that she believed was an AK47. 

“I witnessed Kenny last year,” Gillen said, adding that he was not on scene, he was in the dispatch area throughout the incident. “They are the calm at the other end of the line.”

Spittle’s calm and supportive reaction kept the woman on the phone for over 45 minutes while also directing responders to the scene.

She was distraught and excited and several times wanted to hang up, Gillen explained, adding that Spittle just kept talking to her as she escalated out of fear.  

“He’s very good at his job. Kenny’s one of those guys who does a lot of extra things. He picks up the slack,” Gillen said. “I was extremely impressed.”