Cambridge honors top officers

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper Members of the “C Squad” accept a Unit Citation for leading the Cambridge patrol division in various police activities in 2017. The officers are shown with City Council member La-Shon Brooks, left, and Chief Mark Lewis, right.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Members of the “C Squad” accept a Unit Citation for leading the Cambridge patrol division in various police activities in 2017. The officers are shown with City Council member La-Shon Brooks, left, and Chief Mark Lewis, right.

CAMBRIDGE – Chief Mark Lewis took the evening of July 31 to honor a group of Cambridge police officers who were deemed to exhibit service that went above and beyond the call of duty. The ceremony and dinner took place in the new American Legion Post 91 on Sunburst Highway in this city.

Honored in the ceremony were PFC Gosnell, PFC Simmons, Cpl. Ball, PFC Gonzalez, Cpl. Foster, PFC Schmidt, Cpl. Benton, PFC LaMonica, PFC Johnson, PFC Norfolk, PFC Rippons, PFC Mills, Sgt. Hernandez, Sgt, David Jones and his “C Squad” of Cpl. Robert Ball, PFC Gilbert McCall, PFC Nicholas Gonzalez, PFC Wyatt Norfolk, PFC Frank Schmidt and PFC Zachary Douglas; the Cambridge Community Police Officers squad of Sgt. Antoine Patton, PFC Eric Miller, PFC John Foster and PFC Chris Phillips; the 2017 Narcotic Street Team of Detective Stephen Hackett and Detective Jamie McDaniel of the Dorchester County Sheriffs Office; and Trooper Lewis of the Maryland State Police.

Captain Justin Todd presided over the presentation of the awards, in each instance reading a description of a specific action that was noted by the officer or officers involved. In some cases the description of events read like the plot of a television drama, revealing an occupation far more complex and risky compared to the usual perception of police as traffic cops.

For example, Capt. Todd read of the exploits of PFC Rippons and PFC Mills, who “attempted to conduct a field interview on a suspicious male at the comer or Race Street & Goldsborough Avenue. Upon approaching the suspect with their vehicle the suspect pulled a hand gun out and fired one shot at the officers and one shot was returned at the suspect by PFC Rippons.

The suspect immediately fled and PFC Rippons chased the suspect through properties in the 500 block of Goldsbrough Ave. PFC Rippons observed the suspect get low to the ground by a fence but fled on foot and that is where PFC Rippons recovered a gun. When recovering the gun PFC Rippons continued to give chase but lost sight of the suspect…the gun, rounds, shoes and a cigarette were recovered throughout the scene. DNA was later collected from items and the identity of the suspect was revealed. The suspect has been arrested and charged.”
PFC Rippons was awarded the department’s “Meritorious Service Award” for his bravery and persistence in the incident.

In the case of the Unit Citation Award given to the “C” Squad, their achievements are slightly less exciting, but equally as persistent: “Cambridge’s “C” Squad led the Patrol Division in areas as follows: total number of traffic citations issued 1,123; warnings 1,902, equipment repair orders 191; parking tickets 239. Total field interviews 178; warrant service attempts 191; warrants served 85; Criminal Summons Service attempts were 87 and they were able to serve 33. Member of “C” squad issued 147 civil citations and 39 criminal citations. They made 86 Civil Paper service attempts and served 32. “C” Squad made 385 misdemeanor arrests. They took a total of 1,019 police reports and did 144 follow up reports. They made 776 foot patrols and 4,764 building checks. “C” squad also put in 1,203.2 hours of overtime. Of the awards given tonight one Meritorious Award and four Honorable Services awards were given to members of “C” Squad.”

The Cambridge Narcotics Squad were also honored for their work. “The 2017 Narcotics Street Team worked throughout the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County making every attempt to fight the sale/use of illegal narcotics, said Captain Todd. “The partnership of Detective Stephen Hackett (Cambridge Police Department) and Detective Jamie McDaniel (Dorchester County Sheriffs Department) authored over 60 search and seizure warrants with over 25 being residents within Dorchester County. In the process of executing those warrants they seized over 200 grams of cocaine, 137 grams of heroin and over 1,500 grams of marijuana. The team also seized 13 handguns from the streets of Cambridge and Dorchester County.

The award for Cambridge Police Officer of the Year was presented to PFC Christine LaMonica, who has served Cambridge PD since July of 2016. In service to the city, Capt. Todd spoke, “During a five-month period, she went undercover and bought illegal drugs. Thirty-two different individuals sold illegal drugs to our undercover officer, some selling to the undercover multiple times. Twenty-eight of those individuals were positively identified and warrants were issued for their arrest.

“PFC Christine La Monica played a key role in taking drugs such as heroin, as well as weapons, off the street,” said Captain Todd. “PFC LaMonica is a credit to our agency every day and without question deserves the honor of Police Officer of the Year for 2017.”

The police officers in attendance enjoyed a dinner of fried chicken and crabcakes, served by the members of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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