AUGUSTA — Two local people were honored Thursday for their work in the Maine courts.

Mike Palenski, of Sidney, an officer with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department, and Jennifer Monsulik, of Readfield, a volunteer with the court system, received the awards from Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

A number of other people from across the state also were recipients of the Maine Judicial Branch performance awards for 2011.

Palenski received the Roy Rice Award “given to that person, group, or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the safety and well being of the employees of the Judicial Branch and people who participate in court activities.”

In remarks prepared for the presentation, Saufley said Palenski “understands that people in a court room are frequently unhappy, afraid, and angry.”

“Mike handles everyone with patience, reason and respect, an approach much more successful than force,” Saufley said.

Palenski works primarily at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta.

Kennebec County is one of four counties where the sheriff’s department provides court security.

The other recipients of the Roy Rice Award are members of the Judicial Marshal Team in the Hancock County Courthouse in Ellsworth.

Monsulik, a senior at Bates College in Lewiston, was named Judicial Branch Volunteer of the Year Award.

Monsulik assisted in the Family Treatment Drug Court and researched protective custody settlement conferences at Lewiston District Court this summer.

“As a result of Jennifer’s work, the local court is implementing new settlement conference procedures,” Saufley said. “We count ourselves lucky to have benefited from Jennifer’s insightful research.”

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