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Police, firefighters honored

February 04, 2002

Police, firefighters honored



Martinsburg, W.Va.

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


Fifteen area police, fire, corrections and court officials were honored for their work Sunday to fight crime, set up special response teams, their "can-do" attitude and other accomplishments to better the Eastern Panhandle community.

Sunday night's Law and Safety Day banquet, sponsored by Elks Lodge 778 in Martinsburg, is held every year to honor police officers and others who work in dangerous jobs to help protect the community.

Those who spoke at the banquet said respect for such professionals has been especially strong since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Berkeley County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Wilkes, the keynote speaker, said the resolve of the nation was shown when police officers and firefighters immediately converged in the dangerous aftermath of the World Trade Center attack to carry out their job.

Wilkes said while "the giant has been wakened," he said Americans need to do what they can to insure the country's safety.

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," said Wilkes, borrowing a quote from Thomas Jefferson.

In addition to the 15 people who received awards, a special emeritus award was given to Brig. Gen. Jack Koch, retired commander of the 167th Airlift Wing in Berkeley County.

While he was commander of the local Air Guard base, Koch was able to increase the number of aircraft at the base from eight to 12, which had a significant impact on the local economy, said Col. Jesse Thomas, the current commander of the base. Koch also directed airlift efforts for the FBI while agents were doing drug eradication efforts in the state, Thomas said.

Three people were also given $200 scholarships to offset personal expenses from continuing education work.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Rebecca R. Collins received a scholarship for computer training. Sgt. D.S. Richmond of the sheriff's department and Martinsburg Police Chief Ted Anderson received scholarships to offset college studies.

The 15 people honored were:

- David L. Miller, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent assigned in Hagerstown who realized the challenges facing police in the Eastern Panhandle. Miller was described as the "rarest of feds" who would avoid red tape to help local police get the job done.

- Timothy Toucher, a member of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force who was honored for his use of informants to solve serious crimes in the area.

- R.T. Dyroff, a West Virginia State Police trooper who was honored for enhancing the relationship between the civilian community and the state police by working with community organizations that fight problems such as domestic violence.

- Thomas J. Mikell, a West Virginia State Police trooper who was honored for his investigation of a string of robberies in Jefferson County.

- Eric Widmeyer, a West Virginia State Police trooper in Morgan County who made 35 felony arrests last year and who also rescued a man from a car after the automobile went into a river.

- Pamela Games-Neely, Berkeley County's prosecuting attorney, who was praised by Martinsburg Police Detective George Swartwood for always being accessible to investigators and allowing police to conduct investigations as they see fit. "She's put a lot of people in jail," said Swartwood.

- Steve High, a deputy with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department who responded to 911 complaints last year, the highest in the department.

- David K. Clobber, a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officer who took it upon himself to set up a Jefferson County special response team to address possible threats like weapons of mass destruction.

- Kevin D. Barney, a Morgan County Sheriff's deputy who was honored for his work on a number of serious crimes in Morgan County.

- George Manning, a Martinsburg Police Department patrolman, who was honored for his energetic approach to the job and handling more than 1,000 calls last year.

- Terri Lynne Rouse, a longtime receptionist, court clerk, parking attendant and secretary of the Shepherdstown Police Department who is also skilled at picking up information about crimes such as drug activity and passing it on to officers.

- Michael A. Johnson, a Martinsburg Fire Department firefighter who was able to secure a $145,000 grant from the federal government. The grant money was used to buy more protective equipment for city firefighters.

- Donald E. Rowland, a corporal at the Eastern Regional Jail who was honored for his seven years of service at the correctional facility.

- Stephen Cox II, a corporal with the Ranson Police Department who has matured quickly on the job and who has convinced administrators that the city is in good hands when he patrols at night.

- Gary Martin, a Maryland State Police trooper based in Frederick County, Md., who assisted Panhandle police last year in the investigation of a major theft operation in which lumber was allegedly being stolen from stores in Frederick County and being transported to Jefferson County.

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