Officers of the Year named

May 31, 1998

The Hagerstown Optimist Club has named three local law enforcement officials Police Officers of the Year for 1998.

They include Russell Plante of the Maryland State Police, Peter Lazich of the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Harold Feigley of the Hagerstown Police Department.

Russell Plante

Trooper 1st Class Russell Plante, 40, began his career with the Maryland State Police on Jan. 16, 1985.

He worked at the Frederick, Md., barracks and Security, Md., barracks early in his career before being transferred into the Aviation Division as a medic, where he served for five years. On Sept. 4, 1991, he was transferred, on his own request, back to the Field Operations Bureau and was assigned to the Hagerstown barracks.

During 1997, Plante handled numerous criminal, missing person and traffic accident investigations. He issued 199 traffic citations, 179 warnings and arrested five people for DWI. He responded to 623 calls for service and made 17 criminal arrests.


At 3:20 a.m. Nov. 8, 1997, the Hagerstown barracks received a call about an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Nibble Quik Convenience Store, at the intersection of Md. 66 and Md. 68 in Washington County. Plante was one of the troopers responding to the incident. He observed a suspicious vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle used in a previous armed robbery.

He attempted to stop the vehicle, at which time a high-speed pursuit ensued in heavy rain. After a few miles, a passenger fled from the vehicle and the pursuit continued.

The suspect's vehicle eventually pulled over and Plante, assisted by other agency personnel, was able to apprehend the suspect and secure vital evidence. A subsequent investigation revealed that the suspect was responsible for the Nibble Quik robbery, along with several other armed robberies in the area.

Plante has been a Children's Village instructor since 1994. Children's Village is a two-day safety education program sanctioned by the Washington County Board of Education, instructing all Washington County second-graders in safety techniques.

Plante is also a Hagerstown State Police Explorer Post advisor. The Explorer Post is a Boy Scouts-sanctioned program for 14- to 20-year-olds, giving guidance and instruction in law enforcement-related activities. He is one of three advisors at the barracks.

Plante was named Trooper of the Year in 1995 and 1997.

He lives in Hagerstown with his wife of six years.

Peter Lazich

Investigator Lazich is an exemplary employee, both with his dedication and behavior, according to Washington County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Randy Wilkinson, his supervisor.

He was hired on Aug. 5, 1991, and after 31/2 years in uniform was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Unit on Dec. 1, 1994. Six weeks after his new assignment, he was one of the lead investigators in a double homicide and subsequent suicide by the perpetrator.

During 1997, Lazich's peers requested he be considered for a departmental Deputy of the Year Award for the assistance he had provided to them during his time in the Criminal Investigation Unit, as well as to others during numerous criminal investigations.

He was assigned a heavy caseload of criminal investigations in 1977 and these assignments resulted in 31 criminal arrests, with 167 criminal charges being filed. Because of his willingness to accept responsibility, Lazich was assigned other duties, including:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Primary responsibility for maintaining the evidence room.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Transportation and retrieval of all drug evidence submitted for analysis at the Western Maryland and Maryland State Police Laboratories.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Coordination of enforcement activities with the Washington County Gaming Commission.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Departmental representative to Crime Solvers.

On June 1, 1997, Lazich was lead investigator on a homicide committed as a result of an act of domestic violence.

In January, in conjunction with other enforcement agencies in Washington County, Lazich was instrumental in an investigation that resulted in the arrest of four New York men on charges of sexual assault, after 21 continuous hours of work on the case.

Harold Feigley

Officer Feigley joined the Hagerstown Police Department on March 20, 1971.

Feigley has worked mostly in the patrol division. He became a Drug Awareness Resistance Education officer in July 1994, after attending two weeks of training in St. Mary's City, Md. He teaches DARE at E. Russell Hicks, Northern and Western Heights middle schools.

He attended in-service DARE Officer Training in Ocean City, Md., and Hagerstown the last three years. He also attended the DARE International in-service training in St. Louis, Mo., in 1996, Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1997, and will be attending the in-service training in Albuquerque, N.M., this year.

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