Howard County’s police department honored officers, civilian employees and volunteers to highlight their “outstanding contributions made to the community and the police department” at an awards ceremony Wednesday night.
The recipients were recognized at the police department’s annual ceremony at the Howard Community College’s Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center in Columbia.
“Although we are recognizing a few select members of our department, I would like to thank all members of the police department for their continued dedication, professionalism, in helping to build strong community relationships, proactively policing our county, taking the criminal element off the streets and keeping Howard County a safe place to live, work and play,” police Chief Lisa Myers said.
Nearly 95 commendation certificates were awarded to officers, dispatchers and others. Commendation certificates are awarded for acts of extraordinary intelligence reflecting a highly credible police accomplishment, displaying perseverance and devotion to duty in extraordinary situations, or action taken to the prevention or solution of a crime, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said.
Major awards included police officer and detective of the year.
Unit citations, including property and evidence, narcotics, street drug, employment services, crime analysis, tactical, dispatch, patrol and neighborhood community resource officer section were also awarded.
Other awards include the William G. Volenick Service Award, certificate of merit, investigative awards, bronze star, silver star, top DUI enforcers, explorer of the year, animal control volunteer of the year and more.
The investigative awards included resolved cases dealing with attempted murder, an organized burglary ring, drugs, armed robberies, a commercial robbery dealing with a business and more.
County Executive Calvin Ball said in his remarks, “We talk about things like our school system and our parks and our quality of life, but the foundation of that quality of life is feeling safe. And we would not feel safe without the strong efforts of our police department.”
This year’s major award recipients are:
- Police Officer of the Year — Officer First Class Elijah Cortez
- Detective of the Year — Cpl. Ryan Gregory
- Community Service Award — Cpl. Marc Lay
- First Year Service Award — Officer Zachary Stone
- Scott Wheeler Traffic Safety Award — Officer First Class Eric Colson
- Civilian Employee of the Year — Kevin Costello
- Telecommunicator of the Year — Dispatcher First Class Charles Cox
- HCPD Leadership Award — Cpl. Benjamin Carlton