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Club honors officers of the year

May 17, 1999

Crime UnitBy DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




The members of a year old special policing unit, an investigator and a sheriff's deputy who leads his agency in drunken-driving arrests were honored Monday by the Hagerstown Optimist Club as Washington County's law enforcement officers of the year.

The members of the Hagerstown Police Department Street Crime Unit, Maryland State Police Trooper Michael D. Kretzer and Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Richard R. Schleigh were awarded commemorative plaques during the luncheon, attended by the county's top law enforcement officers and members of the Hagerstown Optimist Club, a local civic group.

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Richard R. Schleigh"They're a good hard-working group of folks willing to do what it takes to get the arrests," Hagerstown Police Chief Dale J. Jones said of the members of the city's Street Crime Unit.

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The Street Crime Unit was established in January 1998. It includes a sergeant who oversees the unit, four bicycle patrol officers and a K-9 officer.

Their work is focused on high-crime areas in the northwest and central parts of the city.

During the first year of operation, the unit made 289 drug arrests, handed out 201 traffic citations, served 25 criminal summons, took 355 pictures, collected 355 sets of fingerprints and wrote 33 parking tickets, Jones said.

The members of the Hagerstown Police Department's Street Crime Unit honored were Sgt. John Ryder, and Officers Patty Shantz, Curt Wood, Jim Hurd, Jim Robinson and Terry Hose.

Maryland State Police Trooper Michael D. KretzerKretzer joined the Maryland State Police in 1978, working in Frederick, Md., before being reassigned to Hagerstown in 1989.

Lt. Bruce Smith, who heads the Maryland State Police barracks in Hagerstown, said Kretzer had an "outstanding work ethic."

Smith said Kretzer had distinguished himself in several investigations, including a child-selling case that attracted national attention when it was prosecuted in Frederick County.

It was the second time Kretzer, 55, was honored by the Hagerstown Optimist Club. He was first awarded the Optimist Club award in 1993. He also received the Maryland State Police Trooper of the Year award in 1992.

Before becoming a police officer, Kretzer worked as a music teacher in Washington County for about seven years.

Schleigh has worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift at the Sheriff's Department since he became a deputy about five years ago.

So far in 1999, Schleigh leads the department in drunken-driving arrests, Sheriff Charles F. Mades said.

"Anyone who works five years on the midnight shift gets my respect," said Mades.

Mades said Schleigh, 31, was one of the top all-around officers in the department, and among the officers who patrol the streets and are closest to the public.

The honorees were selected by the members of their respective law enforcement agencies.

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