2019 Deputy of the Year

Detective Sarah Enrstes

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

On June 6th, 2017, there was a drive-by shooting at the Get-N-Go located at 7802 Rideout Road.  A passenger of a blue Chevrolet sedan opened fire into a crowd of people standing in front of the store.  Three people were struck, one of which was bound to a wheelchair.  With the assistance of the entire District V Investigations Unit, the firearm used in the shooting was recovered along with the cell phones of the potential suspects.  After obtaining 14 search warrants, and a nearly yearlong investigation, Detective Ernstes was able to place two subjects in the vehicle that was used, in the area of the shooting, and in possession of the firearm that was used.  The subjects were ultimately charged with Attempted Murder (times 3).

Detective Ernstes investigated another shooting that occurred on May 4th, 2018.  The victim was shot three times and sustained non-life threatening injuries.  Detective Ernstes found video surveillance of the shooting which showed the suspect exiting an unknown make/model SUV.  Detective Ernstes spent several days showing the video of the SUV to car dealerships until a mechanic at the Mitsubishi dealership identified the SUV as an Outlander.  Detective Ernstes was able to identify an associate of the only registered owner of an Outlander in the area who matched the description of the suspect.  The suspect was ultimately identified by the victim and arrested for Attempted Murder.

I respectfully request Detective Ernstes be recognized for her patience, dedication, and investigative techniques to solidify the charges on these individuals in these cases who are proven to be a danger in our community.  Her performance far exceeds a detective with her tenure.

Detective Ernstes began her career with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on January 23, 2011 and was assigned to District IV for her first 6 years.  She was promoted to Detective on May 8, 2017, and she is currently assigned to the District V Investigations Unit.  Detective Ernstes has been married to Jeremy Ernstes for 13 years.