2019 Annual Award Recipients

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Precinct 12, Dundalk

Officer Michael J. Flaherty

Click here to hear Officer Flaherty’s testimonial.

Officer Michael Flaherty is assigned to the Dundalk Precinct.  He began his career in 2017 after graduating from the Training Academy, following in the footsteps of his father, Kevin and brother, Mark.  In 2018, he began the year by being named Officer of the Month for January.  Officer Flaherty has made a significant impact on his shift with his positive attitude and drive.  His supervisor advised that Officer Flaherty’s quality of work, how he conducts himself, and the actions he takes in stressful situations far surpass what would be expected of a rookie officer.  Officer Flaherty is routinely one of the top producers on his shift for enforcement; he is conscientious and dependable, trusted by his peers and supervisors. Officer Flaherty has outstanding pro-active enforcement and patrol efforts.  He has assisted in multiple felony clearances and arrests.  Some of these cases have resulted in the recovery of firearms, removing them from the streets of Baltimore County.    

To summarize some of Officer Flaherty’s enforcement efforts, he has made traffic stops resulting in the recovery of large amounts of drugs, including crack cocaine and marijuana, and Suboxone; a semi-automatic handgun, and large sums of cash.  He has conducted vehicle pursuits of fleeing suspects, which are stressful and dangerous.  He has maintained a calm demeanor and his communication skills are descriptive and complete.  In December 2018, Officer Flaherty responded as backup to a person threatening suicide.  The individual advised that he had a bomb and intended to commit suicide.  Officer Flaherty and a shift supervisor initiated contact with the individual.  Officer Flaherty directed responding officers to secure the scene and then communicated with the individual for almost two hours.  He has exemplary communication and de-escalation skills for a young officer.  He remained calm and collected, and takes a lead role in dealing with individual in distress.

In addition to his regular patrol duties, in January 2018, Officer Flaherty joined the Department’s Dive Team, a demanding volunteer assignment.  The Team requires mandatory monthly training and availability for dive operations.  He attended over 20 training and operation dates this past year.  This extra responsibility shows his commitment to the mission of the Department.

For his professionalism and outstanding performance, Officer Michael J. Flaherty has earned the Rookie of the Year Award.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICE 

Precinct 12, Dundalk

Officer Shawn W. McElfish

Click here to listen to Officer McElfish’s testimonial.

Officer Shawn McElfish is a 23-year veteran of the Department.  He has been assigned to the Dundalk Precinct his entire career working in patrol before moving to his current assignment on the Precinct 12 Warrant Squad, where he’s worked for the past three years.  Officer McElfish is a 2nd generation Baltimore County police officer, with both his father and brother serving the Department. 

Born and raised in Essex, and known as “Spike”, he was a talented baseball player who was drafted out of high school by the Cleveland Indians.  Unfortunately, his baseball career was cut short after suffering a shoulder injury.  Over the years, Officer McElfish has used his experience and expertise to coach his three sons in the recreation and club levels of local sports, eventually taking the reins of the Eastern Technical High School baseball program.  His coaching acumen and abilities have led to many accolades for him and his teams.  Officer McElfish is generous with his time, serving as the head coach of the Eastern Technical High School Golf Team as well.

Officer McElfish recognized that his experience as a professional baseball player and coach could be utilized to make an impact on local youth and provide an opportunity for them to interact with police in a relaxed atmosphere.  He developed a comprehensive plan for a free summer baseball camp, and met with his commanders, who agreed it was an excellent idea.  Officer McElfish attended Recreation Council and community meetings to inform the community, encourage people to volunteer to assist and to identify the children who would benefit from attending the camp.  He solicited donations as well as volunteers to ensure that the camp was free. The first camp was so successful that it has become a summer highlight for area youth. It has certainly become a great way for the children to interact with police officers and serve as a bridge to build trust as well as develop a positive mentoring relationship with the children. The success of the camp has also led to the creation of a football camp, which is held in the fall.

For his dedicated efforts in creating and leading these sports camps, and his outstanding commitment to serving the community, Officer Shawn McElfish has earned the Community Service Award.

 

CRIME PREVENTION

Precinct 1, Wilkens

Lt. John L. Rossbach

Click here to listen to Lieutenant Rossbach’s testimonial.

Lieutenant John Rossbach serves as the Investigative Services and Outreach Teams commander at the Wilkens Precinct.  A 33-year veteran of the Department, he has been at his current assignment since 2007.  He built an incredibly successful team; he oversees 35 sworn officers assigned to the Investigative Services Team, Community Action Team, School Resource and Outreach officers, as well as Traffic and Business Patrol Initiative officers.  Lieutenant Rossbach leads through his extensive experience and knowledge.  His background allows for the intricate knowledge of the units he supervises to ensure success. 

This past year, Lieutenant Rossbach was faced with numerous challenges, which were successfully mitigated.  Among these challenges was vagrancy in the Arbutus area.  Community complaints were received regarding trash issues, homeless sleeping on sidewalks and benches, as well as homeless camps being established in the area.  Lieutenant Rossbach devised a plan, held meetings with stakeholders, and worked to identify the best approach to tackle these issues.  He ensured that his team of officers worked collectively with business owners and the community, and a local establishment that offered food and support to the homeless population.  The actions taken to resolve the issues improved relationships with the business community, while treating the homeless population respectfully in a fair manner.  The end result has greatly improved the Arbutus community.

Another challenge was a local restaurant and bar that experienced several serious violent crimes over a six-month period.  The location was becoming a danger to patrons and the community.  Lieutenant Rossbach took swift action utilizing all the resources available to him and his officers.  Since most of the serious incidents occurred during late night hours, Lieutenant Rossbach changed his shift hours numerous times in order to oversee the efforts directly.  The leadership he provided led to the success achieved at this location. 

After 33 years of dedicated service, Lieutenant Rossbach retired at the end of January 2019.  His commitment and expertise will certainly be missed.

For his swift and decisive actions, which led to the resolution of serious issues in the Arbutus community, Lieutenant John Rossbach has earned the Crime Prevention Award

 

DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROFESSION

Office of the Chief

Deborah F. Street

Office of the Chief

Kathy M. Wallace

Click here to listen to Debbie & Kathy’s testimonial.

Debbie Street and Kathy Wallace have over 60 years of combined service to the Police Department and citizens of Baltimore County.  Many consider them the unsung heroes of the Baltimore County Police Department.  In addition to their daily duties for the Chief of Police, Debbie and Kathy take on numerous projects and responsibilities.  They work long hours just because the mission requires it.  They are the first contact when someone requests to speak with the Chief of Police, whether to make an inquiry, file a complaint or provide a compliment.  During any of these interactions, Debbie and Kathy do so with the utmost professionalism and finesse. With their tenure, Debbie and Kathy hold immense institutional knowledge.  They are able to draw on their experience and recollections to provide assistance and guidance to both sworn and professional staff members.  Their vast knowledge of Baltimore County Government operations and citizen groups throughout the region contributes to the effective and efficient operation of the Chief’s Office.  Both do not wait to be asked – when they see a task that needs to be completed, they do it.  They also provide support and assistance with the Department’s Annual Report, Hostage Negotiation Seminar, departmental promotions, graduations, and awards ceremonies.  Each year, they coordinate the Department’s Holiday Open House, which is hosted by the Chief of Police and Colonels.  This involves a great deal of planning and preparation, and is an event that Department members look forward to attending each year.

Debbie provides administrative support and guidance to the Baltimore County Police Foundation.  She facilitates all communication for the Foundation, including their presence on social media. Debbie and Kathy work as a team when it comes to planning the Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner. They both take great pride in their work, and it is reflected in the growth and success of this annual event. For their outstanding and dedicated efforts during their many years of service, Deborah F. Street and Kathy M. Wallace have earned the Distinguished Contribution to the Profession Award.

 

EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE

Precinct 8, Parkville

Officer Rodney Kenion II

Click here to listen to Officer Kenion’s testimonial.

Officer Rodney Kenion began his career with the Department in 2002.  He has been an exceptional officer who leads by example with his strong work ethic and dedication to pro-active policing.  During 2018, Officer Kenion continued his outstanding efforts in protecting the citizens of the Parkville Precinct by patrolling his post looking for criminal offenders and aggressively investigating his calls for assistance.  Two of Officer Kenion’s notable cases led to the apprehension of burglary suspects and the seizure of stolen firearms.

In February 2018, Officer Kenion investigated a burglary in which the suspect attempted to establish residency at a vacant house on Park Drive.  The owner of the house advised that she had not rented the property to anyone and it should be unoccupied.  Through his investigation, Officer Kenion learned that the suspect was also selling drugs from the location.   After subsequently arresting the suspect, a warrant was obtained to search the house.  A comprehensive search of the house resulted in the seizure of two handguns, narcotics, and US currency.  Officer Kenion’s investigative efforts and follow-up revealed the true facts surrounding this case and brought about its successful conclusion.

On September 23, 2018, Officer Kenion was conducting business checks along Belair Road when he discovered two suspects attempting to steal property from the trailers and dumpsters behind the Goodwill store in Perry Hall.  Officer Kenion arrested both suspects.  While interviewing the suspects at the precinct, they both confessed to stealing from the store on several other occasions, thus clearing multiple burglaries.

Officer Kenion’s exemplary efforts and actions are exhibited on a daily basis.  The quantity and quality of his work is routinely recognized by his supervisors.  Officer Kenion leads by example, keeping a positive attitude, which motivates his fellow officers.

For his persistent and dedicated investigative efforts, Officer Rodney A. Kenion has earned the Exceptional Performance Award

 

EXCEPTIONAL GROUP PERFORMANCE

Back Row-L-R: Huth, Morgan, Dillard, Shelton, Serio, McElfish
Front Row L-R: Stricklin, Horney, DeFelice, Mazan, Copenhaver

Lieutenant Christopher P. Morgan                                                        
Sergeant Kimberly A. DeFelice                       
Corporal Christopher P. Mazan                                                                
Detective Michael J. Copenhaver                   
Detective David L. Dillard                                                                          
Detective Matthew H. Horney
Detective Justin C. Serio 
Detective Anthony Shelton, Jr.      
Detective Jason M. Stricklin
Officer Shawn W. McElfish
Officer Gary G. Huth 

Click here to learn more about the work of the Precinct 12/Dundalk-Investigative Services Team.

The Dundalk Precinct’s Investigative Services Team (IST) is comprised of six detectives and two warrant service officers, who are supervised by a Lieutenant, a Sergeant, and a Corporal.  During 2018, members of the Team demonstrated their ability to work together to successfully investigate crimes, bringing criminal offenders to justice in one of the busiest areas of the county.

In 2018, the IST investigated 168 cases, made 238 arrests, and had 147 case clearances.  Despite investigating fewer cases in comparison to 2017, $50,000 more property was recovered, 13 more firearms were recovered, 32 more search warrants were executed, and 25 more arrest warrants were obtained.  The cases investigated included several crime trends and violent offenses, for which the detectives used various tactics and methods in order to apprehend those responsible.

In March 2018, the Dundalk area experienced a rash of street robberies in which the victims were physically assaulted and robbed.  Surveillance footage obtained by the detectives, as well as witness statements, identified a suspect vehicle.  Detectives created and distributed a flyer with a description of the vehicle used in several of the robberies.  A person of interest was also identified, and detectives learned that this person was employed at a business in close proximity to the robberies.  The vehicle was located in Baltimore City.  Detectives conducted surveillance of the suspect vehicle hoping to identify a residence where the suspects may be found.  After a short time, the vehicle left the area, returning to Baltimore County.  The vehicle was stopped by patrol officers, who arrested 2 male subjects and a female subject.  The seizure of their cell phones bolstered the case and linked the robberies.  The excellent investigative work of the Team resulted in a strong case against the suspects, which resulted in their pleading guilty to their involvement in these robberies after being arrested and charged.

The IST also investigated other significant cases including three armed street robberies that occurred within an hour of each other – one involving a shot being fired at a victim; an assault involving a handgun and a kidnapping case, in which the victim was struck by the suspect with a military-style rifle.  The cases investigated by this Team were complex and required, at times, non-traditional investigative methods. However, the esprit de corps among the Team was also instrumental in the successful resolution of their cases. 

For their persistent and exemplary investigative skills, the Dundalk Precinct’s Investigative Services Team has earned the Exceptional Group Performance Award.

 

VALOR                                                                                

Precinct 4, Pikesville

Officer Bishop A. Elder

Precinct 9, White Marsh

Officer Myles T. Hilliard

Click here to listen to Officers Elder and Hilliard’s testimonial.

Officer Bishop Elder and Officer Myles Hilliard both joined the Department as Police Cadets in 2013 and 2014, respectively. 

On July 22, 2018, Officer Hilliard and Officer Elder responded to a disturbance at an apartment in the 4600 block of Horizon Circle in Pikesville.  The caller advised that a family member was intoxicated, punching holes in the walls, and getting into an altercation with other members of the family.  Officer Hilliard was followed up the stairwell by Officer Elder.  Upon arrival on the second level, the suspect opened the apartment door and immediately directed his aggressive behavior towards Officer Hilliard and he refused verbal commands.  Armed with a large kitchen knife, the suspect pushed Officer Hilliard in the chest with his left hand.  Officer Hilliard took a slight step back at which time Officer Elder pushed the suspect up against the wall.  Both officers began to engage the suspect attempting to safely place him under arrest. 

Both officers continued to give verbal commands to the suspect to stop resisting arrest.  Refusing to comply, the suspect began swinging the knife at the officers.  While attempting to take the suspect to the ground, he swung the knife at Officer Hilliard’s chest.  Officer Elder used his arm to block the suspect’s strike, which caused a laceration to Officer Elder’s arm.  Despite the intense struggle, both officers were able to disarm the disturbed suspect and take him into custody using only hand-to-hand techniques.  The swift and courageous actions taken by Officer Hilliard and Officer Elder prevented further harm to them, the suspect, the suspect’s family, and members of the public who may have come into contact with him before the officers intervened.

For the courage and bravery displayed during this incident, Officer Bishop A. Elder and Officer Myles T.  Hilliard have earned the Valor Award.

 

VALOR

Precinct 8, Parkville

Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio  End of Watch: May 21, 2018

Click here to learn more about Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio.

Officer Amy Caprio graduated from the police academy in 2014 and was assigned to the Essex Precinct.  As a junior officer, she quickly proved herself to be a very capable police officer and earned the respect and admiration of her fellow officers.  With only three years as a patrol officer, Officer Caprio was selected by her supervisors to be a Field Training Officer, responsible for training and mentoring new recruits.  Officer Caprio was also frequently chosen to be an acting supervisor due to her maturity, knowledge and leadership abilities.  In August 2017, Officer Caprio transferred to the Parkville Precinct in the hopes of increasing her knowledge of the communities and areas within Baltimore County.  She once again quickly proved herself to be a leader and a valuable asset to her shift.

On May 21, 2018, Officer Caprio responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle in a Perry Hall community of the Parkville Precinct.  A second call confirmed that a home was being burglarized by four suspects associated with the suspect vehicle, which was later determined to be a stolen Jeep Wrangler.  Officer Caprio arrived at the scene and located the suspect vehicle.  She followed the vehicle into a cul-de-sac, where the suspect turned the Jeep facing Officer Caprio’s patrol car.  She exited her vehicle, with her weapon drawn, and ordered the suspect out of the vehicle.  The suspect opened the driver’s side door of the Jeep, as though he was complying with Officer Caprio’s orders.  When Officer Caprio approached the suspect, he immediately retreated into the Jeep and accelerated toward her.  In an attempt to stop the vehicle, Officer Caprio fired one shot into the suspect vehicle.  The suspect continued to accelerate toward Officer Caprio, fatally striking her.  Officer Caprio was killed in the line-of-duty, while serving the citizens of Baltimore County.  She made the ultimate sacrifice while performing a job that she truly loved.

For the courageous and selfless actions she displayed during this incident, Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio is posthumously awarded the Valor Award.