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Trooper strives for safety

March 11, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

As a Maryland State Police trooper, Christopher J. Barnard said his main goal is to ensure that people are safe.

His supervisor, Cpl. T.J. McKenrick, rewarded Trooper 1st Class Barnard's work by nominating Barnard as the barrack's Trooper of the Year.

Barnard led the Hagerstown state police barrack in just about every category of overall enforcement activity in 2003, McKenrick said.

Barnard's name has been forwarded to Maryland State Police headquarters in Pikesville, Md., for consideration as State Trooper of the Year.

"Chris is very diligent. Every day he shows up for work and he works hard. He's very dedicated to his job," McKenrick said.

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He said Barnard's work ethic stems from his experience living in small communities and understanding the needs of people living in that environment.

Enforcement areas include the number of citations written, number of driving under the influence arrests and number of speeding tickets written.

"If he did not lead in all the categories, he was in the top couple," McKenrick said.

Barnard, 44, lives in Washington County with his wife and three daughters and has been a state police trooper for 10 years.

"It's the only line of police work I wanted to get into," said Barnard, who once owned an ice cream parlor in Hancock.

"It was one of those childhood dreams that just took a little while to realize," he said.

Barnard said his top goal this past year was to write the highest number of seat belt violation citations, which he believes he achieved. He said he wrote more than 300 such citations in 2003.

He said the most rewarding aspect of his job is getting feedback from the community on his work to ensure people's safety.

"My job is to make sure everybody's safe," he said.

When he looks back on his 10 years on the force, Barnard said, he's pretty consistent in the results he achieves while on state roads.

"The highways are getting more crowded, and with the increase in drivers, you're going to have an increase in violations," he said.

Barnard spends most of his time in his police cruiser watching for people who are breaking the law.

He said those he pulls over often ask him why they were chosen out of a group of drivers who also appeared to be breaking the law. Barnard said that as a police officer, he can focus only on one driver in order to ensure not only that driver's safety, but his own, too.

Barnard said he has no immediate ambition to seek a higher position, which he said likely would take him off the road and could mean he'd be transferred out of the Hagerstown barrack.

"I'm just going to continue to do my job," he said. "Every day is different."

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