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Law & Safety Day recognizes those who 'keep our community safe'

February 10, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Martinsburg Police Department Patrolwoman Marybeth Butcher found something on her phone that amused her daughter, Blair Hesen, on Sunday at the annual Law & Safety Day awards ceremony at Elks Lodge 778 in Martinsburg, W.Va. She was among 16 recipients of an award for excellence and professionalism.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — There was no lack of police and fire protection at Martinsburg’s BPO Elks Lodge 778 Sunday night.

Shoulder patches in the banquet room represented nearly every state, county and local police and paid fire department at the Elks’ 19th annual Law & Safety Day awards ceremony.

This year, 16 recipients were recognized for their public service, said Capt. George Swartwood of the Martinsburg Police Department. Swartwood and Rodney Woods co-chair the event. Both are Elks members.

“We do this every year to recognize the men and women who work daily to keep our community safe,” Woods said.

The event included dinner and awards presentations.

The recipients were:
• Patrolwoman Marybeth Butcher, Martinsburg Police Department
• Trooper 1st. Class M.D. Gilmore, Berkeley County state police detachment
• Cpl. J.S. Chumley, Jefferson County state police detachment
• Senior Trooper S.R. Smith, Morgan County state police detachment
• Cpl. Brian Bean, Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crime Task Force
• Dep. Brandon McGhee, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department
• Dep. Brandon Conway, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department
• Dep. 1st. Class Luke A. Shambaugh, Morgan County Sheriff’s Department
• Lt. Ronald A. Talbot, Martinsburg Fire Department
• Cpl. Jason Roberson, Eastern Regional Jail
• Lt. George Manning, Charles Town (W.Va.) Police Department
• Master Sgt. Todd Evans, 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, security forces training manager
• Sgt. Kristain Burks, Veterans Affairs Police Service
• Scott W. Stroop, firefighter, Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
• Officer Matthew Custer, Ranson (W.Va.) Police Department
• K-9 Officer Richard Cook, Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Police Department

Commanding officers nominated the recipients.

Sgt. Dean Olack is Bean’s boss on the nine-member drug and violent crime task force. It consists of state troopers, Martinsburg police officers and sheriff’s deputies from Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

In 2012, Olack said, the task force saw 112 defendants indicted on 500 felonies in federal and state courts.

He singled out Bean for his ability to blend in with criminals while working undercover. His hair went from short to long, his face from clean-shaven to sporting a long beard, depending on the assignment, Olack said.

“Brian was able to blend in and make hand-to-hand deals that would have been impossible without his transformation,” Olack said.

“Marybeth was an easy choice,” said Martinsburg Police Chief Kevin Miller of patrolwoman Butcher. “She’s always at the top in citations, drug arrests and DUIs. She’s very easy to supervise.”

The Rev. Warren Watts of Tri-County Pastoral Counseling said in his invocation that “this is all about giving back and giving thanks. Our appreciation can never equal their giving.

“They often suffer physically and spiritually because of the many stresses they face,” he said.

Their families suffer as well, he said.

“We’re thankful for their devotion and dedication to a profession of helping others and making our community safer and more secure,” Warren said.

The official theme of Law & Safety Day is “Honoring Those Who Keep Our Community Safe.”

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