Officer William Staley cautiously approached a car in the parking lot of the Meadows Recovery Center. Inside the car a man had cut his wrists and poured gasoline all over himself. As Staley got closer, he could see that the man was trying to light a flare.

Staley, who has24 years experience in dealing with unpleasant situations that don'talways have a happy ending, started talking to the man.

"I conveyed to the man that I was concerned about his injuries," he said. "I used that as a diversion to grab the flare out of his hand."

For the risk he took in December 1990, Staley was awarded the Silver Star award Thursday night at the annual county police and fireawards banquet at Michael's Eighth Avenue.

He was one of more than a dozen police officers and firefighters to be cited for heroism and jobs well done.

County firefighter Donald Pumphrey received the department's highest award -- Firefighter of the Year -- for saving a3-year-old boy from a burning home on Wynbrook Road in Glen Burnie on Feb. 4.

Pumphrey went into a burning house and came upon the boywho was lying under his badly injured mother in the living room. Pumphrey brought him outside and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"Eventually he responded," Pumphrey said.

Pumphrey saved the child, but a colleague who pulled another toddler out of the fire was not so lucky.

"That's who I feel sorry for," Pumphrey said, referring to the firefighter who was unsuccessful in saving a small girl. "He did the same thing I did, but the little girl died."

County police Officer Bryan Riddle was awarded the department's Medal of Honor, andvolunteer firefighter Michael Dorsey earned his department's Exemplary Performance Award for their actions that saved a man in danger of drowning in a Chesapeake Bay inlet May 6.

When Dorsey and Riddle arrived at the inlet off of West Shady Side Road, a storm was approaching. Thunder and lightning filled the skies, the water had become very choppy and fire department rescue units had not arrived.

"We just couldn't wait for it," said Dorsey, who has been with the department for 10 years. "It was do it or die."

The pair grabbed a wooden boat without oars, tied a rope to it and swam about 500 yards out intothe water pulling the boat behind them.

"It got up to about our chins," Riddle said. "As we got closer, the guy tried to swim away from us. We threw a life jacket on him and put him in the boat."

Riddle and Dorsey agreed there was no time to be scared.

"The lightning was flashing directly over our heads," Riddle said. "That was a little unnerving."

The fire department also gave 14 civilians awards and the police department honored 18 civilians for actions taken during police or fire emergencies.

Other police department awards include:

* Chief's Award: Officer Kevin Tribull.

* Purple Heart: Officer Gregory Overstreet; Officer Michael Richardson.

* Silver Star: Officer Michael Richardson; Officer Gregory Overstreet; Lt. Fred Gieseker; Sgt. George Johnson.

* Commendations: Officer Dean D'Camera; PCO Kathy Novakowski; PCO Tammy Norton.

* Unit Citations: Robbery Squad; Shift 4 Communications; Special Operations Section.

Other fire department awards include:

* Meritorious Conduct Award: Firefighter Richard T. Rebstock; Firefighter Anthony P. Redolf.

* Exemplary Performance Awards: Michael Watts; Volunteer firefighter Frederick C. Hyde Sr.

* Unit Citations: Engine Companies 18, 19, 40 and 2; Truck 40; Ambulances 19, 40 and 20; Paramedics 1, 19, 18, 17 and3; Annapolis City Paramedic 35.

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