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Police, citizens honored for extra effort

Police officers who helped resuscitate a man in cardiac arrest, pulled a suspected criminal from a car crash and saved an unconscious woman from the cold were honored Wednesday.

The Hagerstown Police Department also honored other officers for their actions and reactions, as well as civilians who contributed to law enforcement and criminal justice efforts.

Chief Arthur Smith handed out awards as part of National Police Week.

Police officers who died in the line of duty also were remembered across the country Wednesday. In Hagerstown, wreaths were placed at the police department’s memorial wall.

Smith read aloud the honorees and their feats:

• Officers Tom Kelley and Jon Molineaux found a man who was bleeding and unconscious at Byers Stop-N-Go on Dec. 5, 2008. They administered CPR until an ambulance arrived and took him to Washington County Hospital, where he was revived.

• Officers Brian Barnhart, Cliff Briggs and Kelley; Sgt. Johnny Murray; and Detective Casey Yonkers were called to City Park on Jan. 22, 2009, to find a homeless woman last seen near the lake. They didn’t see her, so they asked questions and kept looking until they got to a wooded area where the woman was unconscious but OK.

Smith noted that the previous month, a man’s body was found near City Park, having apparently died from exposure to the cold. Police were unsure of his identity for several days, but Sgt. Paul Kifer said Wednesday the man’s name was Sylvestre Perez.

• On April 19, 2009, police officers chased a man suspected of sexual assault. The man’s vehicle went up a ramp toward South Prospect Street and kept going, past the bridge at Antietam Street. The vehicle ended up on its roof, entangled in sparking power lines, but Officer Kelley and Detective John Lehman pulled the driver out.

• Officer Christopher Little went to the REACH shelter on West Franklin Street on March 28, 2009, where a man with a knife was bleeding from apparently self-inflicted wounds. The man refused Little’s command to drop the knife. Little used a Taser to stop the man. In a separate call, on Feb. 27, 2009, on South Potomac Street, Little used a Taser to disarm an angry man who had a steak knife in each hand and was coming at him.

• Officer Briggs went to the 600 block of Hayes Avenue on March 10, 2009. An agitated man with a knife in each hand refused to put them down. Briggs used pepper spray, which caused the man to drop the knives.

• When police stopped a vehicle on West Washington Street on April 2, 2009, a police dog smelled drugs. Officers found a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun in the driver’s waistband. The driver struggled and tried to get away, but officers controlled him. Detectives Brian Hook, Mike Kovac and Lehman and Officers Kelley, Little and Nick Varner were involved in the call.

detectivejasondietz_hagerstownpd Detective Jason Dietz was among those looking for a wanted person at a residence on Woodland Way on Nov. 22, 2008. The homeowner got mad at police and wouldn’t listen to them. When Dietz saw the man pick up a handgun, he struggled with the man and knocked the gun from his hand, then kicked the gun away as the man reached for it again.

• On his own initiative, Detective Todd Dunkle, the department’s gang specialist, obtained $35,200 in grants to benefit at-risk children and get equipment for the department.

• Officer William Kimbrough was on desk duty and monitoring prisoners Dec. 8, 2008. When a camera showed an inmate tie up his clothing in an attempt to hang himself, Kimbrough summoned help, which arrived in time.

• City resident Gary Sturniolo was looking after his neighbor’s home when someone broke in. Sturniolo confronted the burglar before calling police and giving them a description of the intruder.

• In the last year, Hagerstown Citizens on Patrol put in hundreds of hours and drove thousands of miles as they kept an eye on their community. Volunteers reported dozens of traffic offenses and crimes and helped check on various complaints.

• The Hagerstown Fire Police regularly direct traffic at vehicle crashes, fires and special events, sometimes getting there before police officers do.

• The Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office’s victim and witness unit makes sure victims are available to testify in court and helps comfort victims and their families during the criminal justice process.

“It’s just kind of the things these guys do every day, but (don’t) get enough recognition,” Smith said of the achievements that were honored.

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