Five officers of Mount Airy’s new Police Department were sworn in Monday evening during a Patriot’s Day ceremony to honor two fallen servicemen. The service, held at Pine Grove Chapel is an annual memorial for Ronald Vauk and William Ruth, who were killed in the Pentagon during the 2001 attacks.
Sgt. Curt Snyder, Cpl. Russell Halterman, Pfc. James Brooks, Pfc. Michael Ginevra and Pfc. Christie Medeiros took the oath from Mount Airy Police Chief Douglas Reitz.
Reitz said during the ceremony, “In today’s climate, where it would be easier to leave behind all the risk and despair that goes into this profession far too often, they have elected to again put on a badge and a uniform, and serve our community.”
For Ginevra, joining the Mount Airy police has been a change of pace. He retired after 21 years of service with the Baltimore police, but it was only about a year before he came out of retirement to serve in Mount Airy. “Everyone has been very welcoming,” he said of the local community. “I’m excited.”
The ceremony at Pine Grove Chapel was especially meaningful to him, he said, because he had a grandfather in the Army and the Navy.
Halterman, who is corporal of the K-9 unit, was already very familiar with the community, having grown up in Mount Airy. He served previously as a K-9 handler with the Hampstead Police Department and said the Mount Airy position is an opportunity to “invest myself by living here and policing here,” he said. “I saw it as an opportunity to directly improve the quality of my family’s life.”
For him, holding the swearing-in on 9/11 is a “wonderful” way to honor other service members. “It allows us to feel more attached to them, with our careers starting on that day, he said.”
Reitz agreed, saying the ceremony is a way to pay tribute to the resilience of Americans. He said of service members, “Whenever one of our brothers or sisters fall, another is there to take their place.”
While the town was previously served by the Maryland State Police’s Mount Airy Resident Trooper Program, that program will be dismantled and Oct. 1 will mark the beginning of the service of the town’s dedicated police force.
“We look forward to increased long-term community engagement and law enforcement services for our town residents,” Mayor Patrick Rockinberg wrote in his report for the September Town Council meeting.
Law enforcement will be handled by the Mount Airy Police Department between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. Any incidents that occur in the remaining hours will be handled by the Carroll County or Frederick County sheriff’s offices.
MAPD is based out of the police station at 2015 Center St. Its phone number is 310-703-1375.