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Optimist Club honors police officers

May 08, 2000|By TARA REILLY

The Optimist Club of Hagerstown honored three law enforcement officers at its annual Law Week luncheon Monday.

Trooper Jay B. Robinson, 31, of the Maryland State Police barracks at Hagerstown, Deputy Johnny R. Marshall, 41, of the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Sgt. Michael King, 38, of the Hagerstown Police Department were this year's honorees during the event at the Venice Inn in Hagerstown.

Luncheon organizer Chuck Ford said the purpose of the awards ceremony is to recognize law enforcement officers who go beyond the call of duty to serve the community.

"If more people would realize what these people do and how they put their lives at risk, they wouldn't be so critical of what they do," said Ford, who is secretary and treasurer of the Optimist Club.

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In presenting Robinson with his award, Sgt. Gregory Johnston of the Hagerstown barracks said his devotion and willingness to take on extra tasks put him at the top of the list for the award among state troopers.

"He makes my job much easier," Johnston said. "His extra efforts are sometimes taken for granted. And he excels at these duties."

Robinson's responsibilities include helping out with the local Prom Promise program and other anti-drug and alcohol campaigns.

"I feel I'm doing my job, but it's nice when people recognize you for it," Robinson said.

Marshall won the award for his conduct during a recent standoff with a man who acted as though he had a gun, according to Captain Carroll E. Keller of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The man came at Marshall out of a wooded area. He was screaming and had his hands tucked in his pants in such as way that it appeared he was reaching for a gun, Keller said.

Instead of firing, Marshall called for backup and talked the man into surrendering.

"At any time any movement could have caused Marshall to shoot, but he didn't. He saved us bloodshed," Keller said.

Marshall has been with the Sheriff's Department since 1983 and is a traffic reconstructionist.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith credited King for bringing about positive changes in downtown Hagerstown in his role as head of a Crime Suppression Team.

"One of the reasons it's shaping up as well as it is is because of Sgt. King's suppression team," Smith said.

King has coordinated operations in various sites, including Jonathan Street and the Dual Highway area. The Crime Suppression Team has targeted male and female prostitution and set up traffic stops in the Jonathan Street area to clamp down on seat belt violators while weeding out drug dealers. King also has set up an enforcement program to keep local businesses free of trespassers and loiterers.

"I'm accepting this award on behalf of my shift," King said. "It's not just one person helping out. Everybody is working twice as hard."

Captain Robert Hart of the Hagerstown Police Department was also honored for his service to the community. Hart is set to retire in July, Ford said.

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