County of Santa Cruz

2022 Employee Recognition Awards Winners

Justice and Public Safety

District Attorney/Public Defender Systems Team

Dylan Jones and Gabriel Jones

Gabriel Jones, Dylan Jones

In July 2021, both the District Attorney and Public Defender began a solicitation for a case management system, and by November 2022, both departments were able to implement new case management systems on time and on budget. The success of the implementation is largely due to the overwhelming dedication and talent of Gabriel Jones in the District Attorney’s Office, and Dylan Jones in the Public Defender’s Office. Both Dylan and Gabe worked hard and across partner agencies including the Superior Court, Sheriff‐Coroner, Probation, and other law enforcement agencies and services to ensure integration with their new systems and continuity of operations within the criminal justice system.

Now, both the District Attorney and the Public Defender have fully functional case management systems that are being used by staff and will continue to grow and support both agencies as they uphold public safety. Dylan and Gabe are responsible for that success and deserve accolades for their service to the County and their overall talent and leadership in providing the necessary IT infrastructure to support the approximately 11,000 cases that get processed each year in Santa Cruz County.

Juvenile Hall Supervisor Team

Alicia Padilla, Andrew Vazquez, Gabriel Haro, Isaac Chipres, Shawna Confer, Johnny Perez, and Spencer Biddiscombe

Left to right: Gabriel Haro, Alicia Padilla, Johnny Perez, Shawna Confer, Andy Vazquez, Isaac Chipres
Inset: Spencer Biddiscombe

At the start of 2022 our community was reopening, vaccines and personal protective equipment were available, yet COVID‐19 continued to significantly impact the Juvenile Hall facility. Supervisors had the challenge of meeting the behavioral health needs and providing services to the youth in their care with the necessity for the health and safety of the staff, partners, youth, and their families.

A top priority for Supervisors was how to address and end the social isolation so many youths experienced and manage how to safely resume in person family visiting, because while virtual visitation and services had become a valuable resource, they could not replace the vital in-person connections that support youth. Supervisors worked with management to develop policies and practices that incorporated testing, mask mandates, and careful scheduling to ensure physical distance and no overlapping to allow time to fully sanitize rooms and equipment between visitors. With creativity, communication, and documentation the Supervisors were able to put these new practices and policies into place to safely operate the detention facility and allow for this critical in‐person visiting as well as continuing services by our volunteers and providers.

Nicole Ellen Jones

Nicole Ellen Jones

Nicole consistently goes above and beyond her job in service to this community and is a passionate advocate for the voiceless, particularly children and animals. When assets from narcotics sales have been seized, Nicole investigates whether that defendant has outstanding child support payments, to ensure that those children are the recipients of any seized funds, and last year, Nicole’s passion for animals led her to spearhead a significant cat rescue in and around our main County building.

In the summer of 2022, it became apparent that there were numerous feral cats living around the County building when a litter of kittens was located in the atrium. When Nicole learned of the situation, she sprang into action. Nicole spent hours of her own time on evenings and weekends setting up traps and monitoring the cats with game cameras, and through her connections, diligence, and her unwillingness to give up on these animals, 19 cats, including 14 kittens, have been trapped, fixed, and rehomed.