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Panhandle officers honored in Martinsburg

February 08, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mucklow knew he had a tough act to follow after last year's K-9 unit demonstration at the annual Law and Safety Day in Martinsburg.

"I'm following a dog act," said Mucklow.

While he said he considered getting down on all fours, sniffing some boxes and tearing into them with his teeth, Mucklow instead used the occasion to commend area law agencies for their ability to adapt to the growth boom throughout the Eastern Panhandle.

Long an afterthought in the minds of others across West Virginia, things began to change for the Eastern Panhandle in 1982 when federal prosecutors found themselves handling more cases in the area and working with local agencies to shut down open-air drug markets in Martinsburg, said Mucklow.

Solid police work has been the key to successful federal prosecutions in the Eastern Panhandle, he said.

"We don't look good unless you do your jobs," said Mucklow.

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About 100 people packed the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Lodge 778 on King Street Sunday night to recognize the services law officers and rescue workers provide the community.

"All too often these men and women don't get recognition," said Elks organizer Rodney Woods. "Theses are high quality people who are putting themselves in harm's way for the betterment of the community."

The Elks ceremony began about six years ago and has grown each year to include an increasing number of agencies, said Woods.

This year marked the first time the U.S. Marshal Service and the 167th Airlift Security Police had members recognized, said Woods.

Award recipients were chosen by their supervisors and are based on everything from recognition for years of service to outstanding job performances.

"Of course these folks are just representative of the many people out there that should be recognized," said Woods. "It's touching to hear the hours they put in and the commitment they give."

Awards were handed out to U.S. Deputy Marshall Jeff Stine of the U.S. Marshal's Service, Master Sgt. John H. Alderton of the 167th Airlift West Virginia Air National Guard, Cpl. Samuel K. Harmon and Cpl. Russell H. Shackelford of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Troopers C.C. Morton, Eric D. Burnett and C.E. Platt of the West Virginia State Police, Capt. C.E. Keller of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Allan Thomas of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department and Chief Deputy Jesse W. Jones of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Also receiving awards were Martinsburg City Police K-9 officers Scott Sheets and Dave Stevens, Ranson Police Department members Lt. Robbie Roberts and Sgt. Brian Mason, Conservation Officer Michael Sibole of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Capt. John A. Bigiarelli and Lt. Steven T. Canby of the Martinsburg Fire Department and Rescue Capt. Margaret Hoogland of the Hedgesville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

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