Cpl. Ashby Earns Distinguished Public Service Award
Collier County Sheriff's Office
Since starting her law enforcement career with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in April 2014, Cpl. Natalie Ashby has distinguished herself through her wisdom, courage, leadership, and dedication to the job and community she serves.
On Wednesday, Cpl. Ashby was recognized with a prestigious Distinguished Public Service Award For Law Enforcement from the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce in association with the Naples Daily News. She accepted the award at a breakfast ceremony at the Hilton Naples attended by many of her CCSO colleagues, including Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. Also at the ceremony, CCSO Investigations Chief Jim Williams was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Distinguished Public Service Award is given annually to recognize and publicly thank emergency personnel for their extraordinary efforts in keeping Collier County residents safe.
“I cannot tell you how honored I am to receive this award,” Cpl. Ashby said. “I just went into work that day and it so happened I was put in a situation but I have to thank the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and Kevin Rambosk, our Sheriff, for the amazing training that we get and the support. They’re my second family; I’ve had an immense amount of support from them, and I could not be happier to work for the agency that I work for.”
Cpl. Ashby was recognized for her brave efforts the night of Jan. 31, 2016.
While working as a Patrol deputy assigned to Immokalee, Cpl. Ashby responded to a call in a parking lot to investigate an unverified 911 call. Cpl. Ashby observed two men who appeared to be having a dispute. As she began to approach them, she observed one of the men (suspect) push the other one (victim) up against a parked vehicle. The suspect raised his right hand and struck the victim in the chest. Cpl. Ashby yelled at the suspect to stop and identified herself as law enforcement. She then observed the victim fall and the suspect strike him again. She then observed the victim slowly move toward her. He slowly lifted his shirt, revealing two large stab wounds on his abdomen. As the victim moved toward her he yelled, “Ayuda me,” which she knew meant “Help me” in Spanish.
Cpl. Ashby then observed a knife in the suspect’s right hand. She drew her weapon and ordered the suspect to the ground and to drop the knife. The suspect ignored her commands and charged at her in an aggressive manner as she repeatedly ordered him to stop. Despite these warnings the knife-wielding suspect continued to close the distance between Cpl. Ashby and the victim. At this time, in fear for her life and the life of the victim, she fired at the suspect, ending the threat.
At this time, other deputies arrived and Cpl. Ashby began to render aid to the victim. Backup deputies secured the suspect in handcuffs and began to render aid to him. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he underwent major surgery for his injuries and was later released.
“If she had not intervened and stopped the suspect the victim would not be here today,” Bill Barker, Naples Daily News publisher and presenter said. “Cpl. Ashby’s actions were courageous, to say the least, in the face of extreme personal risk with disregard for her own personal safety and to protect the life of the victim.”
At the time of the shooting, Cpl. Ashby had been on the job for a little over a year.
“The way she handled this situation displayed wisdom way beyond her years,” said Sgt. Thomas Orr, her supervisor in the sheriff’s North Naples District
Earlier this year, she received a Medal of Valor, the agency’s highest award, for her bravery that night.
Following the incident, Cpl. Ashby was offered several other positions within the agency, but she was determined to return to patrol duties. In April 2016, she was transferred to the sheriff’s North Naples patrol district. Sgt. Orr said that her return to work proved that not only was she picking up right where she left off, but that she came back better than ever. Upon her return she was anxious to adapt to her new surroundings and bond with her new shift. Once she was comfortable, Cpl. Ashby immediately assumed a leadership role within the shift and took it upon herself to help guide newer deputies on the shift, he said.
“Deputy Ashby is a rare commodity in law enforcement and is a natural leader,” said Sgt. Orr. “Her dedication to Patrol and keeping the citizens of Collier County Safe is unparalleled and should be rewarded. She is a model deputy.”
Cpl. Ashby’s current assignment is as a Community Oriented Policing (COPs) deputy in North Naples where she interacts with the community and youth on a daily basis in a positive and enthusiastic manner.
“We all have been blessed to work here and live here,” Cpl. Ashby said. “I honestly can say there is nothing better than to come to work every day and be happy about your job.”
From left, Cpl. Natalie Ashby, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Investigations Chief Jim Williams are shown following the Distinguished Public Service Awards ceremony at the Hilton Naples on Wednesday, Oct 11. Photo by Kristine Gill/CCSO