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Optimists honor officers

May 15, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Phil Martin stands out for his volume of calls and arrests.

Hagerstown Police Department Officers Wayne Smith and John Kreigh blanket the area to serve warrants and summonses.

Washington County Sheriff's Department Deputy Arnold B. Cerezo II is described as "a machine."

Police supervisors had nice things to say Wednesday about the four officers chosen for the Optimist Club of Hagerstown Maryland Inc.'s annual Respect for Law Week awards.

The Hagerstown chapter is part of Optimist International, a service organization that sponsors events for children.

Each May, the police awards are part of a campaign to "inspire respect for the law among ... local young people," according to the organization's Web site.

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"This is a small token to each officer as they put their lives in jeopardy each and every day," the program for Wednesday's awards banquet at Elks Lodge No. 378 on Robinwood Drive said.

Hagerstown chapter President David Borggren said the awards banquet is one of the club's best events.

Martin, a Smithsburg native, responded to more than 1,000 calls and gave out more than 700 tickets last year, said Capt. Rob Turano, commander of the state police Hagerstown barrack. Martin made 30 criminal arrests, 10 drug arrests and 17 driving while intoxicated arrests.

"He epitomizes what the state police stand for," Turano said.

Asked to nominate one officer, Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith came up with two - the warrant team of Kreigh and Wayne Smith.

In the last three years, they served 2,338 arrest warrants and 1,657 criminal summonses. Chief Smith said the duo has developed such a reputation for success, criminals have turned themselves in.

"They know it's not really worth trying to get away from them," Chief Smith said.

Cerezo started with the Washington County Sheriff's Department 18 months ago.

"It is estimated that Deputy Cerezo made approximately 500 citizens traffic contacts and 100 citizen complaint contacts last year ..." Sheriff Charles Mades wrote in a nomination letter. "While working his tour of duty, Deputy Cerezo is a 'machine' and constantly keeps busy throughout his shift ...."

"Although small in stature, he walks tall among his peers," Patrol Commander Lt. Randy Wilkinson joked at the banquet.

Chapter Vice President Tammy Hoffman, who works for The Herald-Mail, read aloud a piece she liked about what a police officer must be, including diplomat, social worker, tough guy and gentleman.

"And a genius," she said, "to feed a family on a policeman's salary."

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