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Honoring the best

Annual 'Recognition of Excellence' awards presented to top law enforcement officers

Annual 'Recognition of Excellence' awards presented to top law enforcement officers

May 12, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN-A career officer with the Hagerstown Police Department, several prison correctional officers and a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff's Department who found a sharpened spoon in the waistband of an inmate's shorts were among those honored at Friday night's annual Public Health and Safety Day "Recognition of Excellence" awards at Hagerstown Community College.

John A. Rowley, commissioner with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, was impressed by the cooperation between local law enforcement agencies in Washington County, he told those assembled in HCC's Kepler Theater.

"What an important job you do in law enforcement," he said.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith honored retired Sgt. Steve Bussard.

Bussard retired in March after 36 years with the city's police department.

Most of his time was spent with the patrol division, but his five years as an investigator in the detective's bureau were the best of his career, Bussard said.

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Investigating after initial criminal reports are filed, and following through to trials and convictions in court was rewarding, he said.

Smith called Bussard a "rock" who, as the oldest officer in the department, was a "link to the best of what the old Hagerstown Police Department was about," Smith told the crowd.

Bussard trained new patrol officers, worked the tough midnight shift throughout his career and raised a son who now works as a Maryland State Police trooper, Smith said.

He now spends his days woodworking and making flower beds for his wife, Bussard said.

Many of Friday night's honorees thanked their families.

"I would not have survived, none of us would, without our families behind us," Bussard said.

Deputy 1st Class Ricky Whittington, the Washington County Sheriff's Department's "DUI Top Cop," arrested 44 drunken drivers while he worked the midnight shift throughout the past year, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said.

The midnight shift takes its toll on officers and their families, Mullendore said.

Corrections staff also were honored Friday.

George Drake, a case manager for the Maryland Correctional Training Center, manages the work-release inmates. He works one evening each week so he can teach an employment readiness class for inmates, Warden D. Kenneth Horning said.

Corrections Sgt. Fred Boward was honored for taking control when an inmate assaulted a staff member at Roxbury Correctional Institution, Warden Roderick Sowers said.

Sowers called Boward a "prime example of leadership."

Mullendore also honored deputies who keep order at the Washington County Detention Center.

Deputy First Class Ricky Ebersole found and confiscated a spoon, sharpened into a shank, hidden inside an inmate's waistband last July, Mullendore said.

He praised Ebersole's courage and thoroughness.

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