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Public safety honors handed out


Hagerstown City Det. Wayne Shank said he decided to become a police officer while in high school, and after 25 years on the force he has never regretted it.

"It gets in your blood," said Shank, 45, who will retire this year.

During his career, Shank has walked a beat with uniform patrol, handled a dog in the K-9 unit and became a polygraph examiner and a member of the criminal investigation unit.

"He's a good man, and we're sorry to see him go," said Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith.

Shank and other public safety employees from Hagerstown City Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Department, the Washington County Detention Center, Maryland Correctional Training Center, Roxbury Correctional Institution, Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown and Hagerstown Community College were honored for their achievements during a recognition ceremony at HCC's Kepler Theater on Friday evening.


As he reviewed Shank's personnel file, Smith said, he came across two letters about him that personified his commitment to public service.

One letter was from the parents of a man stabbed to death several years ago. Shank was given the task of informing them their son was dead. The letter commended Shank for his demeanor and his commitment to solving the crime.

The other letter was from the prosecutor, who praised Shank for investigating the case, which started with an unidentified victim, no witnesses and no suspects.

Shank's "combination of skill, experience and caring are what a police officer is all about," said Smith.

Washington County Detention Center Deputy James Sword was honored by Sheriff Charles Mades for his quick action in performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking inmate.

Roxbury Correctional Institute Warden Joseph P. Sacchet praised correctional officer Ronald Lee Breeden Jr. for being "fair, firm and consistent."

Breeden remained calm in diffusing a situation in which a handicapped inmate had removed a piece of his wheelchair and was threatening people with it, he said.

Mades presented awards to Sgt. Mark Faith for excelling in administrative duties and K-9 Deputy 1st Class Daniel Watson for making 50 arrests involving about 100 violations in 2001.

Resident deputies James Clay and Ken Cain were honored for writing more than 300 citations each in 2001.

Mades said deputies James Cooper and William Malott arrested and processed about 600 people last year as part of the Sheriff's Department's warrant squad.

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