Local law enforcement honored for going above and beyond the call of duty

May 17, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • Smithsburg Police Officer Matt Hudson,left, receives an award of merit from Smithsburg Chief George Knight at the Public Safety Awards ceremony.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Shortly after receiving a call for a reported kidnapping in progress near Williamsport, the actions of Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy 1st Class Rick Kemmerer potentially helped save a woman’s life.

About 10:42 p.m. on April 1, Kemmerer spotted a man assaulting a woman near a vehicle that matched the description provided by dispatchers in a park-and-ride lot along Lappans Road near Interstate 81.

The man jumped in the vehicle and tried to flee as Kemmerer pulled up. Acting quickly, the deputy smashed out a window and used a stun-gun to subdue the suspect until his backup could arrive.

“There’s no question in my mind that he saved that young lady from serious injury, or maybe even death as a result,” county Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Thursday night.

Kemmerer and dozens of other law-enforcement officers from across the county were honored for their efforts in the line of duty throughout the past year during the annual Public Safety Awards ceremony inside the Kepler Theater on the campus of Hagerstown Community College.

With many of them joined by their families, close to 60 officers from the county sheriff’s office, Maryland State Police — Hagerstown Barrack, Smithsburg Police Department and Hagerstown Police Department received awards for everything from their quick-thinking in stressful and dangerous situations, to a courageous act that helped to save a life or property.

Even a few caring citizens — Charles Cacciatore, Richard King and Donald Grabill — were honored with awards from Mullendore for their efforts in helping deputies in a pair of incidents in the past year.

“It gives us a good venue to recognize our staff in a public environment for all the good things that they’ve done,” Mullendore said of the event, now in its 17th year at HCC. “We certainly have a number of events that deserve recognition.”

Organizer Jeffrey Morgan, assistant professor in HCC’s administration of justice department, said 163 police and correctional officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011.

So far in 2012, 41 more have been killed, he said.

“However, we all know that 41 is too many,” said Morgan, a retired police officer, in his opening statement.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith called the ceremony the “officers’ night,” but it also serves to honor those who have been killed during their careers.

“These guys, they come to work. They put up with a lot,” Smith said. “It’s hard on them. It’s hard on their families, but every so often, they get to do something that’s memorable, and we like to recognize that as their career goes through.”

Smith, who will be retiring from his post later this year, said being a good police officer is like “being good at anything else.”

“It comes with the work ethic, and it comes with the desire to make people safe by getting the bad guys off the street,” he said. “That’s what you need in a police officer.”

Award recipients at the 2012 Public Safety Awards ceremony

Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Judicial Division

Award of Recognition: Capt. Paul Boyer

Patrol Division

Letter of Recognition/Excellence in Performance: Deputy Ben Jones, Deputy Cody Rhodes (2), Deputy 1st Class Joel Footen (2), Deputy 1st Class Jim Clay, Deputy 1st Class Scott Buskirk, Deputy Chris Peiffer, Senior Trooper Shane Bussard (Maryland State Police), Deputy 1st Class Alan Matheny, Deputy 1st Class Damian Broussard, Deputy Michael Thompson

Certificate of Appreciation from Sheriff: Charles Cacciatore, Richard King, Donald Grabill

Sheriff’s Commendation: Deputy 1st Class Rick Kemmerer, Deputy 1st Class Joel Footen, Deputy 1st Class Dave Fortson

Deputy of the Year (Patrol): Deputy 1st Class Josh McCauley

Detention Division

Certificate of Recognition: Deputy 1st Class George Buckheit, Deputy 1st Class Mary Jane Blickenstaff, Deputy 1st Class Kenny Kemp, Deputy 1st Class Joshua Hixon, Deputy 1st Class William “Billy” Mills

Deputy of the Year (Corrections): Deputy Darren Stotelmyer
Smithsburg Police Department

Certificate/Award of Merit: Officer 1st Class Matt Hudson
Maryland State Police — Hagerstown Barrack

Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Sgt. David A. Harper

Trooper of the Year: Trooper 1st Class Kyle D. George

Commander’s Award (DUI enforcement): Trooper 1st Class William R. Talbert

Commander’s Award for Outstanding Performance: Trooper 1st Class James A. Bowers III, Trooper 1st Class Ryan J. Shaffer

Commander’s Award for Criminal Enforcement: Sgt. Timothy McKenrick, Cpl. James P. Grinnan, Senior Trooper Randolph D. Pittman, Senior Trooper Kenneth L. Cain, Senior Trooper Shane L. Bussard, Trooper 1st Class William Conner

Hagerstown Police Department

Life Saving Award: Officer J. Molineaux, Officer Ryan Wertz, Officer Langley Dean, Officer J. Hoffner, Officer Sean Flanagan

Unit Citation (Criminal Investigation Division): Lt. Tom Langston, Sgt. Jim Hurd, Sgt. Rebecca Fetchu, Detective Shane Blankenship, Detective Tammy Jurado, Detective Christopher Kayser, Detective Charles Coy, Detective Jason Ackerman, Detective Anthony Fleegal, Detective Jason Dietz, Detective Mike Kovac, Detective Nick Varner

2nd Degree Merit: Detective Randall C. Yonkers, Detective Shane Blankenship, Detective T. Jurado, Detective Charles Coy

1st Degree Merit: Officer Scott Leeney, Sgt. Johnny Murray, Officer Tim Rossiter, Officer Michael Alderton, Officer Douglas Hay, Officer Ronald Isaacs, Officer Jesse Duffey

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