Chief Dan hosts Cambridge City Police Awards ceremony

MD-Cambridge Police Awards ceremony-A Squad 3x

Dorchester Banner/Nathan Dvorak
Sgt. Jose Hernandez’s “A Squad” is awarded a unit citation as the Squad of the Year at the Cambridge Police annual awards banquet. Pictured are (l to r) Cpl. Justin Newcomb, Ptl. Jason Drake, Sgt. Jose Hernandez, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Maj. Mark Lewis, Pfc. Eric Miller, and Pfc. Nicholas Gonzalez.

CAMBRIDGE — Chief Daniel Dvorak of the Cambridge Police Department presented his annual department awards March 23 at the American Legion Post 91 in this city. Attending the event were police officers and family members, Cambridge City Council, and Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, who complimented the chief and his department to open the program.
Stating that he often received calls and letters praising his officers, Chief Dvorak told the audience that all of his officers are to be congratulated for the department’s commitment to excellence.

“Everyone knows that when something happens and people are running away, we are running in,” said Chief Dvorak. “But ask any family member here and they will tell you a stressful incident doesn’t end with the arrest of the perpetrator. Every call, every day, every shift rotation can weigh on us, and it is only through the support of our loved ones that we really carry on.” With that message, Chief Dvorak asked that the award winner’s family members have the honor of presenting the medals.

The chief started out with the department’s Civilian Award, stating that this award represented a perfect example that the police department works best as a partnership between the department and the community. Thurman Cannon and John James were given the award, following their cooperation in solving a rash of thefts from vehicles in the area. The men gave officers a detailed description of the suspects — three juveniles traveling on bicycles — and pointed out a parked vehicle that had been rummaged through by the suspects, who were later arrested.

PFC Stephen Hackett was given the Lifesaving Award for his role in responding to a cardiac arrest call on Court Lane. On arrival, officers noted a private caregiver who had just started CPR on the patient. “Without hesitation Hackett stepped in and started chest compressions,” said the chief.“He continued while EMS got their equipment ready and even after the victim was defibrillated. Later in the day Sgt. Lowe checked with DGH and he was told the victim survived, and that early CPR was a contributing factor.”

PFC Hackett was given the award a second time for another lifesaving incident on Robbins Street. He was also lauded recently at an American Legion ceremony where he was awarded the “Police Officer of the Year 2015” award, and for that was given the Exceptional Duty Award by Chief Dvorak. “This most prestigious award was presented to recognize PFC Hackett’s commitment to excellence, his integrity and his dedication to protecting and serving the citizens of Cambridge,” said the chief.

Ptl. John Foster was awarded the Meritorious Service for his role in a standoff on Hubbard Street, when an attempt to serve an arrest warrant went violent. “A standoff ensued at which time the subject fired at Foster from a second story window. After a two and a half hour standoff the subject surrendered without incident. It takes a dedicated and well trained police officer to not only withstand this life threatening situation, but to maintain his composure under fire,” said the chief.

The Exceptional Duty award was given to PFC Joseph Beans. Pfc Beans has been recognized by The Maryland Highway Safety Office for his efforts in removing drunk drivers from Maryland roadways, and later in the year at the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers annual Law Enforcement Recognition Breakfast, once again for his outstanding Driving While Intoxicated and Impaired efforts in the State of Maryland.

The team of Det. Jason Dickerson, Pfc Mark Gosnell and Sgt. Antoine Patton were given the  Honorable Service award for their participation in collaring a fleeing suspect who was seen discarding a coat, a loaded handgun and a bag of pills. The suspect was arrested successfully, and the gun and contraband were recovered and kept off the street.
A number of Honorable Service Awards were presented. In each case Chief Dvorak told the story of the incident that prompted the award.

Pfc. Harold Dukes, Pfc. John Frank Jones and Cpl. Jeffrey Smith were given the Honorable Service Award for their role in dealing with an armed suspect who was possibly suicidal and had barricaded himself inside a house.

Pfc. Joseph Beans, Ptl. Mark Shayne and Pfc. John Frank Jones received the award in their role in the hit and run incident on July 13 on Locust Street, in which the suspect vehicle struck 21 vehicles, a utility pole, a fire hydrant, two sheds and the side of Chesapeake Woods Nursing Home. The incident was the largest hit and run situation in Cambridge history, and during the event each of the officer’s lives were endangered by the actions of the arrested driver.

Cpl. Robert Ball, Pfc. Edward Howard, Det. Jason Dickerson, Pfc. John Frank Jones and Pfc. Christopher Phillips were awarded for an arrest for a large quantity of marijuana, a discarded cell phone and a loaded 357 revolver.  The subject arrested was a convicted felon on probation.

Chief Dvorak told the story leading to the Honorable Service Award for Cpl. Robert Ball. “On June 28, 2015 Cpl. Ball responded to Charles Street for an unresponsive child. Ball located the eight week old infant in the bedroom and … began CPR and worked for several minutes without any change to the infant’s condition. Ball heard the ambulance stopping in front of the residence and took the infant outside to meet EMS personnel while still performing CPR.  He carried the infant into the ambulance and assisted EMS while continuing to provide care for the infant during transport. Although the infant did not survive, EMS stated that Ball’s efforts went well beyond what would be expected and were instrumental in providing the best possible care for the infant.”

Det. Frank Schmidt followed up the odor of marijuana coming from a vehicle during a traffic stop, and on investigating found that the driver was concealing a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun in his waistband. The front seat passenger was found to be in possession of five 12 gauge shotgun shells, and both were arrested on gun charges. “Due to Det. Schmidt’s actions we was able to remove a dangerous weapon from the streets of Cambridge,” said the chief.

Pfc. Donald Johnson was awarded the Honorable Service Award for his lifesaving efforts toward an unresponsive person found in a residence on Washington Street. Johnson performed CPR and the subject survived. Pfc. Johnson was also awarded for his role in solving a stolen vehicle incident at Bob North’s Automotive.

Pfc. Nicholas Gonzalez; Pfc. Christopher Phillips & Pfc. Eric Miller were awarde the Honorable Service Award for the arrest of several suspects involved with breaking into cars in the 300 block of Somerset Avenue, which led to closing numerous unsolved cases in the area.
Sgt. Jose Hernandez’s “A Squad”  was awarded a unit citation as the Squad of the Year.

A-Squad is led by Shift Supervisor Sgt. Jose Hernandez and Cpl. Justin Newcomb. The A-Squad officers are Pfc. Nicholas Gonzalez, Pfc. Eric Miller, Pfc. Christopher Phillips and Pfc.
Jason Drake. Chief Dvorak also offered congratulations to police communications officer Shelbie Bishop in assisting the squad. “The A-Squad led the squads in numerous categories and has shown dedication, professionalism and teamwork,” said the chief, “all of which is essential to projecting a positive image to other officers as well as the community that they are sworn to protect and serve. And, most importantly, they did it with a positive attitude and style.”

In concluding the event, the chief thanked the entire Cambridge city police department for their good work, and gave thanks to the American Legion Post 91, which donated the hall as well as all the food and beverages for the event.

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