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Police and emergency crews have their day in Panhandle

February 12, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - They go beyond what is expected of them.

Police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and undercover investigators who routinely put their lives on the line to protect Eastern Panhandle citizens were recognized Sunday night as part of an annual awards banquet hosted by the Elks Lodge 778 in Martinsburg.

Among those honored during the Law and Safety Day were Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Jarrett Jones, who has impressed department officials with the added responsibilities he has decided to shoulder, including being a member of the department's sniper team and being the department's firearms instructor.

Jones is also known for his drug investigations, and one time seized a house that netted $50,000 in profit for the sheriff's department, Capt. Cheryl Henry said.

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West Virginia State Police Trooper Frederick H. Edwards III was recognized for his investigation of the death of Debra Ann Fielder, whose dismembered body was found in two suitcases in Back Creek last August. An investigation into the death led to charges against Fielder's ex-husband, Stephen R. Fielder, who has worked as an attorney in the area.

Trooper Scott See, who also works in the Berkeley County detachment with Edwards, was recognized for his "phenomenal" record in 2006, which included more than 40 drunken-driving arrests. This netted See praise from a local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter, Sgt. Geoff Petsko said.

More than 100 people attended the banquet at the local Elks club's headquarters on King Street.

John Alderton, an official with the 167th Airlift Wing base in Berkeley County, said during a keynote address that the officers represent the types of professionals who are involved in dangerous day-to-day events in society.

They are events that make headlines or breaking news on television, but often the officers involved are not known, said Alderton, who is involved in security services at the 167th.

"You brave men and women want to make a difference. And you do," Alderton said.

"It's beyond exemplary. It's beyond what we could ask for," said Joseph G. Wimer, exalted ruler of the Elks Lodge 778.

The banquet involves a meal, and often families and spouses of honorees attend the event.

Others honored include:

· Derek English of the Martinsburg Police Department, who has gained a reputation for his ability to track down drug traffickers in Martinsburg.

· H.D. Heil, a state police trooper in Jefferson County, who has tackled a variety of investigations, including a rare cattle rustling case.

· Sgt. Dean Olack of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. The task force was recognized for its drug trafficking investigations that peel back the inner workings of local drug operations with each successive undercover drug buy.

· Deputy Patricia G. Smith of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, who has taken it upon herself to work with at-risk children and who is relied on by other police departments for her skill in investigating child sexual assault cases.

· David Hess of the Martinsburg Fire Department for his expertise in areas like structural collapse.

· Glenn Hawkins of the Eastern Regional Jail, who was recognized for teaching correctional officers defensive tactics so they can "go home safe" at night following a day at the jail.

· Chris Kutcher of the Charles Town Police Department, who has a "tremendous span of investigations" under his belt and who has a knack for getting people to turn over valuable police information.

· Earl Burkhart of the Veterans Affairs Police Service, who was honored for his ability to calm situations at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg.

· Michael Ulrich, a U.S. Marshal stationed in Martinsburg who started a fugitive task force to nab suspects. The task force was so effective it is being used as a model in other parts of the marshal service.

· Michael A. Seavolt of the 167th Airlift Wing, who stopped mortar attacks on 167th members while stationed in Afghanistan.

· Roy A. Young, for his service as deputy director of the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services.

· Deputy Scott R. Lemon for his service to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

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