Slain Smithsburg police officer's family presented with Medal of Honor

June 13, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

SMITHSBURG -- Friends, family and police officers gathered Friday to honor slain Smithsburg Police Officer Christopher Nicholson as the Smithsburg Police Department held its annual awards ceremony and luncheon at Smithsburg Town Hall.

Friday's presentation came a day before a memorial to the fallen officer was to be dedicated in Smithsburg's Veterans Park.

On Friday, Smithsburg Police Chief Charles R. Stanford presented Nicholson's family with a Medal of Honor, a framed certificate and a plaque to commemorate the officer who was killed while on duty in December.

"He reflects great credit upon himself and greatly represents the Smithsburg Police Department," Stanford said. "He deserves this recognition."

Stanford presented Nicholson's family with medals from the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Police Hall of Fame.

Smithsburg Officer Charles Johnson was awarded a Medal of Valor for his efforts the night Nicholson was killed. Johnson was the first person to respond after shots were fired.


"Officer Johnson did everything right that night and did everything he could for Christopher," Stanford said.

The Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Department were given certificates of appreciation on behalf of Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers for their assistance in the investigation and capture of Nicholson's accused killer.

Also given certificates of appreciation were the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Department and Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services for their assistance and support the night of the shooting.

Police found Alison Munson, 31, dead in her home on the evening of Dec. 19, 2007. Police have said they received information that Munson's former boyfriend, Douglas Pryor, had harmed her and possibly was headed to his home near Smithsburg.

Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies en route to the area of Pryor's house on Welty Church Road asked the Smithsburg Police Department for assistance.

Nicholson, the only Smithsburg officer on duty, responded to the request and was waiting for backup in a driveway off Welty Church Road when he was shot.

Pryor is awaiting trial on charges in the deaths of Munson and Nicholson.

"I want to thank everyone for their support throughout the last six months," Stanford said in his closing statements. "It's been a tough time, and I want to especially thank the Nicholson family for their sacrifice."

Two other people were honored at the ceremony for their service to the Police Department.

Senior Officer Michael S. Neuland was given the Tenure Service Award for his 10 years of service and Karen Sue Parks was recognized for five years of service.

If you go

What: Dedication of memorial to fallen Smithsburg Police Officer Christopher Nicholson

When: Saturday, 11 a.m.

Where: Veterans Park, Smithsburg

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