2015 Annual Award Recipients

COMMUNITY SERVICE

1350 Mickle_44394x5

Sergeant Angela M. Mickle

Precinct 9 – White Marsh

 

Sergeant Angela Mickle is the Community Outreach Team supervisor at Precinct 9/White Marsh.  Her efforts to assist those in need demonstrate the best qualities of a police and community leader.  Sergeant Mickle routinely works with the private and public sectors, as well as the faith-based community, in order to provide assistance to families and organizations in the community.

 Throughout 2014, Sergeant Mickle regularly contacted homeless shelters, medical facilities and area schools to find those in need of basic supplies.  In October, she learned of a family with five children living in a tent near the Franklin Square area.  Having no means of contacting the family, Sergeant Mickle waited at school bus stops until she located one of the parents, the father, sending a child to school for the day.  At that first meeting, Sergeant Mickle gave the father $100.00 collected from Precinct 9, and she personally purchased a hot meal for the family for the evening.  Sergeant Mickle learned that the father is a disabled Iraq war veteran, who cannot currently work due to the disability.  Sergeant Mickle obtained a two-week housing voucher, allowing the family to stay at a hotel until a more permanent solution could be found.  She ensured that the family had enough food for those two weeks.  The Veterans Administration provided a more permanent housing voucher.  Working with her church, and ongoing food drives at Precinct 9, Sergeant Mickle was able to furnish the house and provide a month’s worth of food for the family. 

 As the holiday season arrived, Sergeant Mickle ensured that the family had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  She remained in contact with the family and had them submit a Christmas wish list.  The Outreach Team and her church provided new bikes and sleds for the children as well as several bags of gifts for the entire family.

 For her dedicated efforts in serving the community and providing significant assistance for this family of seven, Sergeant Angela Mickle receives the award for Community Service.   

 

CRIME PREVENTION 

1354 Price_44734x5TOfficer James F. Price

Precinct 11 – Essex

 

Officer James Price, of Precinct 11/Essex, is a 14-year veteran of the Department.  He is an exceptional officer who led his patrol shift in almost all enforcement categories.  As a result of his work, he was assigned to the Community Outreach Team and tasked with the mission of lowering the incidents of crime on Back River Neck Road. An in-depth study of the area found that the Back River Neck Road corridor consists of over 4,800 apartments, as well as low-income housing and other rental properties.  A large percentage of criminal offenders live in these properties.  Many of the apartment complexes were reluctant to evict the offenders as their leases did not address evictions for criminal matters.  Officer Price learned that some complexes were evicting criminals, but the offender would just move to a neighboring complex, causing the same problems.

 After six months of intensive research, Officer Price developed the “Safe Haven” program, with the goal of keeping criminals out of the area thereby reducing crime.  Officer Price met with apartment complex managers to garner their cooperation and support.  He began working on a lease addendum to present to the managers, so that offenders could be evicted for criminal violations.  All of the complexes use the addendum.  To address the lack of communication among complex managers, Officer Price holds a monthly meeting so they may share information, and he can keep them abreast of crime trends and prevention strategies.  Officer Price regularly visits each complex and works closely with security personnel. The Safe Haven program is new and cutting-edge police work.  The utilization of the program has resulted in the removal of offenders with extensive criminal histories for offenses such as robbery, burglary, distribution of narcotics, handgun violations, attempted homicides, auto theft, sexual offenses, and child abuse. There is no question that the removal of these offenders has a positive impact on the community.

For his outstanding work in establishing this innovative program, Officer James Price receives the award for Crime Prevention. 

 

DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROFESSION 

1715 Barbato_4431_4x5Sergeant Richard M. Barbato

Criminal Investigations Division, Vice/Narcotics Section

 

Sergeant Richard Barbato began his career in law enforcement in 1978, and he has been assigned to the Vice Narcotics Section since 1986.   As a result of his vast knowledge and experience, the position of Assistant Narcotics Unit commander was created for Sergeant Barbato.  In this position, he conducts training, mentors new supervisors, supervises detectives assigned to federal task forces and assists with policy development and compliance.  In 2013, the Vice Narcotics Section began to see an increase in the seizure of synthetic drugs.  Sergeant Barbato identified this trend and began research on the use, side effects, and sale of these drugs throughout the area.  He spoke to prosecutors and lawmakers to determine the best approach to regulate these products, which are often marketed to children in neighborhood stores.  Sergeant Barbato collected the Department’s incident reports related to synthetic drug overdoses, seizures and related violence.  Analysis revealed that subjects with no criminal histories were using these drugs and exhibiting bizarre behavior including violent assaults and attacks on police officers.  Sergeant Barbato met with State legislators and testified before both legislative chambers about synthetic drugs.  He made himself available as a resource to speak about the problem and possible legal remedies.  Local leaders reached out to him and as a result, the County Council passed a bill making Baltimore County one of the most progressive municipalities in the State for synthetic drug enforcement, and it gave the police the authority to compel store owners to stop the sale of these dangerous substances.   Sergeant Barbato used his contacts and resources to stop the sale and abuse of these substances through enforcement, legislation and education.  This approach led to a significant drop in the sales of these drugs.  Reports of overdoses or violent encounters due to the abuse of these drugs have dropped from weekly occurrences to no reported incidents since Fall 2014.

For his diligent and dedicated efforts in addressing this dangerous threat to our community, Sergeant Richard M. Barbato has earned the Distinguished Contribution to the Profession Award.   

 

EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE 

1353 McLaughlin_44684x5Officer Timothy P. McLaughlin

Precinct 7 – Cockeysville

 

On November 1, 2014, Officer Timothy McLaughlin was on routine patrol in Cockeysville when he responded to a call for multiple thefts from autos at a restaurant in the 16000 block of York Road.  Upon arrival, he interviewed the victims and learned that a young boy was seen on the property during the time frame of the thefts.  Officer  McLaughlin took the detailed information and began interviewing nearby businesses to determine if anyone observed the young boy in the area.  A convenience store clerk knew of a subject fitting the description, and he advised that he saw him get into a vehicle with an adult driver.  Being vigilant, the clerk had snapped a picture of the vehicle tag number with his cell phone.  Officer McLaughlin ran the tag number and found that the address listed was just around the corner from where the thefts occurred. 

 Officer McLaughlin proceeded to the address and observed a juvenile fitting the description of his possible suspect.  After initiating an interview of the juvenile, he admitted to committing the thefts.  The juvenile took Officer McLaughlin to several locations inside his parent’s house where he had concealed the stolen property.  While at the home, the juvenile’s father advised Officer McLaughlin that he suspected his son may be responsible for the theft of his handgun.  The juvenile confessed to this theft and Officer McLaughlin recovered the handgun hidden in the juvenile’s room.  Officer McLaughlin sensed there was something more serious involved in the theft of the handgun and he asked the juvenile, “What were you planning on doing with the gun?”  The juvenile responded by divulging a detailed plan to kill his family and then go to school and kill the school resource officer, teachers, students and then himself.  His plan included the use of homemade explosive devices.  Officer McLaughlin searched and recovered three functional explosive devices.  The juvenile’s plan was going to be carried out on November 3, 2014. 

 For his tenacious and exemplary investigative skills, which thwarted this plan, Officer Timothy McLaughlin is deserving of the award for Exceptional Performance.        

 

EXCEPTIONAL GROUP PERFORMANCE 

Criminal Investigations Division/Person Crimes – Special Victims Team: 

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Lieutenant John E. Allen

Lieutenant Michael P. Peterson 

Sergeant Rosemarie E. Brady 

Corporal Steve Duffey (Ret.) 

Detective Ryan M. Anderson 

Detective James C. Bonsall (Ret.) 

Detective Kristin Burrows 

Detective Bratzo M. Gargurevich 

Detective Jessica M. Hummel 

Detective Dan Kuhns 

Detective Morrow M. Lane 

Detective Paul A. Merryman 

Detective Stacey Steiner 

Detective Nicholas A. Tomas

Detective Joan C. Wheeler-Felts

 

The primary mission of the Special Victims Team (SVT) is to investigate crimes of sexual assault.  Their investigations are detailed and complex and involve traumatized, fearful victims.  Many years ago, prior to the existence of a DNA database, victims or witnesses of sexual assaults needed to identify suspects by sight.  These identifications were difficult since many suspects are covered up, the assaults often occurred at night, and the victims may not have seen a suspect’s face.  If unable to identify them, without scientific evidence, the subject was released without charge; the cases would be suspended.

 A pathologist at GBMC and founder of the Rape Care Center at the hospital, Dr. Rudiger Breitenecker, was a visionary.  He thought to preserve the samples from rape cases during the 1970’s and ‘80’s believing that scientific evidence would one day point to the suspects.  In the 1990’s, DNA evidence emerged as a tool to identify rape suspects leading to their prosecution and incarceration. In 2004, the Special Victims Team discovered the existence of the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam kits at GBMC.  Sergeant Rosemarie Brady, supervisor of the SVT, started the process of recovering the kits and assigning the cases to SVT detectives.  These investigations were challenging.  Many of the case files had been destroyed and had to be re-created from microfilm.  Only the police reports were recovered; the original detectives’ investigations had been destroyed.  The victims involved in these cases needed to be found, many of whom no longer lived in Maryland.  Detectives tried to contact the victims in person, if possible. 

 Suspects were being identified through CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) hits from the DNA database.  In most of the 84 cases that have been cleared, the suspects arrested were not incarcerated at the time.  They are now.  The Special Victims Team continues to investigate these CODIS cases as they receive them.  The intelligence they have gathered from investigating these cases is invaluable.  

 For their tenacious and dedicated efforts in investigating these cold cases and providing closure for the victims, the Special Victims Team receives the award for Exceptional Group Performance.

 

VALOR 

1351 Small_4453 4x5Officer Zachary J. Small

Precinct 4 – Pikesville

 

On December 15, 2013, Officer Zachary Small and a fellow officer were dispatched to a call for an “unknown trouble” on Old Milford Mill Road.  A third officer also proceeded to the scene.  The dispatcher explained that a woman was running down the street being chased by a man.  Additional 911 callers advised that their male friend had gone crazy and ran down the street to attack an unknown woman.  The unknown woman was walking down the street on her way to work when the muscular, male suspect began chasing her, eventually tackling her to the ground.  He screamed at her, “I am the man….look into my eyes, you’re going to die!” The woman was able to free herself from the suspect’s grasp and flee to the nearest house.

 Officer Small located the suspect and requested that the other officers respond to the location.  The suspect was standing on a raised porch at a residence, taking an aggressive stance.  Officer Small twice directed the suspect to drop to the ground.  He did not comply and charged down the stairs toward the officers.  Officer Small deployed his Taser, which had no effect on the suspect.  The struggle continued with the officers using OC spray, additional Taser deployments, and ASP baton strikes.  The suspect was able to break away from the officers and gain control of a nearby vehicle, which he used to attempt to strike Officer Small.  Officer Small avoided contact with the vehicle and fired his service weapon at the suspect.  Officer Small continued to fire as the vehicle careened toward another officer.

 The suspect was quickly located and surrounded by responding officers.  When Officer Small arrived, the suspect immediately began attacking again.  Without hesitation, Officer Small faced the suspect, taking him to the ground to be apprehended.  During this dangerous encounter, Officer Small took the lead placing himself in harm’s way preventing serious injury to the victim and his fellow officers.    

 For his courage and bravery during this incident, Officer Zachary J. Small is deserving of the Valor Award.