12-year veteran named Towson's Officer of the Year

Officer Juan Amador, a 12-year veteran of the Towson precinct, credited with staving problems with late-night partying university students as well as his observant police work that led to an arrest in a February 2012 shooting, has been named 2012 Officer of the Year by the Towson precinct's Community Relations Council.

"I don't think there's a more deserving guy," Lt. Randy Guraleczka, assistant precinct commander of the Towson precinct, said after the June 25 ceremony. "What I like about Juan is he's a very humble guy. He comes in and works hard every night. His enforcement numbers, both crime and traffic, are always among the best on the shift."

Each June, the Precinct 6 Police and Community Relations Council chooses its Officer of the Year from the precinct's 12 Officer of the Month recipients, who are selected by the precinct's leadership.

Amador earned the monthly honors in February and September of 2012 — the former for his actions in a high-profile West Towson shooting, and the latter for his steady enforcement and arrest record on the midnight shift.

"That's what you get with Juan," Guraleczka said. "You get a hard-working, consistent guy who does a great job."

On the morning of Feb. 26, 2012, Amador was one of a group of officers on the midnight shift who responded to a call about a shooting at a West Towson home.

The man who was shot gave police a vague description of the man who shot him.

Several hours after the early-morning shooting, Amador noticed a vehicle idling with its lights off. He surveilled the vehicle and later saw a man wearing camouflage sprinting out of the woods toward the car. Amador pulled the vehicle over near the corner of Bosley and Chesapeake avenues and arrested Bradford Steven Holup, 50, of Baltimore, who was later charged with attempted first-degree murder in the incident. Holup pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison last November.

Then in September, it was Amador's persistence on the midnight shift working to combat university student partying that earned him Officer of the Month honors.

During that month, according to his nomination for the Officer of the Month award, Amador made 11 arrests, including seven DUI arrests and issued 32 citations, many for drug and alcohol violations.

With more than a dozen years experience in Towson, Amador said he relishes the work he and his partner, Jeff Lamb, do in the off-campus enforcement unit.

"Every year, Towson brings in more students," Amador said. "Every semester, they're new, so it's an ongoing process of teaching them to understand that you're not only living with other kids, you're living with residents, who have been there for a long, long time."

Amador said that through educational programs at the university and stricter penalties for offending students, the problem in the neighborhoods has improved. Guraleczka said having officers like Amador and his partner, Lamb, also helped mitigate the problems.

"He and officer Lamb make it that much easier for me because they get on the problems out there and solve them," Guraleczka said. "They do it all the time. They know how to deal with it and get it done."

Wesley Wood, director of the Precinct 6 community relations council, said that type of consistency is important to the community, especially those who deal with student housing in the neighborhoods on a consistent basis.

"That's absolutely outstanding to have somebody like that, who's been dedicated like that for so long," Wood said. "There's a lot of action in those late night hours."

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