Gaithersburg /Germantown, MD (July 12, 2016) – The Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce (GGCC) honored Upcounty Police Officers, Special Operations Teams, Firefighters and Paramedics at their 21st Annual Public Safety Awards Breakfast.
The event was held on Friday, July 8 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
This year we honored 53 of the County’sfinestpublic safety officials from the Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police 5th & 6th Districts and Montgomery County Fire & Rescue in following categories: Citation for Bravery, Distinguished Service Citation and Meritorious Service Citation.
This annual awards program provides the business community with an opportunity to publicly thank those who help maintain the quality of life in the Gaithersburg and Germantown area.
“This is one of the most important events we do each year. Our public safety personnel work very hard day in and day out to keep our community safe. The very least we can do is to honor them once a year,” said Marilyn Balcombe, GGCC Executive Director.
The morning began somewhat gloomy due to the previous night’s events in Dallas where five police officers were ambushed and killed, and six others were shot by three men, while the officers attempted to protect marchers at an anti-police violence rally.
In light of recent tragedies, Montgomery County Police Department Assistant Police Chief Darryl McSwain addressed the crowd about the recent events, as all observed a moment of silence.
Then the GGCC had the honor to award 53 of the County’s finest public safety officials for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Twenty Montgomery County Fire & Rescue personnel and Montgomery County Police 1st District Rockville Officer Nicholas Culler were awarded the Citation for Bravery for their exemplary teamwork and skill displayed during a vehicle rescue operation on February 14. According to Fire Chief Scott Goldstein the personnel were involved in a ninety minute extrication which was “physically and emotionally taxing due to the patient’s condition, bitter cold temperatures and the complexity by which the patient was pinned”.
Officer Marcus Dixon was awarded a Meritorious Service Citation for devoting his entire career to mentoring children, providing support and guidance to “at-risk” students and providing leadership training to youth. Dixon is a Montgomery County Police Officer serving in the 5th District Germantown. 5th District Commander David Gillespie commended “Marcus for his dedication and commitment to making a difference and changing lives every day”.
Montgomery County Police 5th District Germantown Officers Andrew King, Mark Hugi and Michael Murphy responded to a robbery back in February in which the victims were robbed and held at gunpoint. As a result of these officer’s perseverance, tenacity and bravery, three armed and dangerous suspects were apprehended and they were awarded with a Citation for Bravery.
Officer Charles Ricucci of the Montgomery County Police 5th District Germantown was awarded the Citation for Bravery for chasing an armed suspect and placing himself in serious danger to make the apprehension during an armed robbery at the 7-11 on Crystal Rock Drive on November 8, 2015.
Montgomery County Police 5th District Germantown Officers Brooks Inman & Arick Jennings were awarded a Distinguished Service Citation for displaying a calm and organized demeanor that helped de-escalate a situation where a suspect was high on PCP and disturbing the peace. The teamwork, officer safety and professionalism displayed by these officers on this call ensured the safety of the public, the officers and the suspect during a chaotic scene.
On March 4 of this year, Montgomery County Police 6th District Gaithersburg Officer James Lee was conducting a traffic stop when he noticed a stopped vehicle. When he approached the vehicle he discovered an unconscious, unresponsive female. Lee requested paramedics and initiated CPR. Lee’s professionalism and ability to act quickly in an emergency situation saved the woman’s life and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation.
Montgomery County Police 6th District Gaithersburg Officer Amber Richard was awarded the Meritorious Service Citation for changing a young boy’s life forever. In December, a 7-year old boy was brought into the hospital with bruises, cuts, and his arms were swollen. The victim’s parents admitted they would wrap the victim in plastic wrap and zip tie his arms. Richard has been involved in the child’s welfare since then, driving down to Children’s hospital on her own time to visit with him, purchasing necessities for him and buying lunch and dinner using her own money. At Christmas, she rallied the troops and showered the boy with love and gifts after he confessed to her that he had never received a gift in his whole life. To date, Richard still visits with him on his long road to recovery.
Officer Vincent Romano impressive efforts have had a significant impact in the crime fighting efforts in the Montgomery County Police 6th District Gaithersburg. His efforts have resulted in the apprehension of many criminals and also contributed to the apprehension of many known Hitt Squad gang members, These dangerous felons have been removed from society and for his efforts Romano was awarded a Meritorious Service Citation.
The unsung hero of Montgomery County Police 6th District Gaithersburg Crime Analyst Tony Scafide was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation for his “high standard of work and his never ending dedication to the mission of the Montgomery County Police” according to 6th District Commander Dinesh Patil. Scafide noticed a trend of robberies and weapon offenses involving a local gang called Hitt Squad. He delved into field interviews, event reports and case studies and provided the detectives with enough information to obtain numerous arrest and search warrants for six of the gang members. As a result of the investigation, five gang members were arrested, one who is facing federal prosecution for weapons and drug offenses.
A Distinguished Service Citation was awarded to Montgomery County Police 6th District Gaithersburg Officer Bastian Urriola when he had approached a suspicious vehicle. After searching the vehicle, Urriola located marijuana and a suitcase with a large amount of jewelry in it. Urriola found that the suspect was wanted for a residential burglary. The arrest and recovery of the jewelry (and other items) helped detectives close a string of burglaries.
In November, law enforcement agencies in Montgomery County were notified by the Southern Regional Police Department in Pennsylvania (SRPD) that they had warrants for three subjects who had been involved in an aggravated assault on a police officer in that jurisdiction. During this incident a SRPD officer was investigating a suspicious situation. The officer made contact with the three subjects, all of whom were later determined to reside in Montgomery County.
Gaithersburg Police Department Officers Cpl. Shane Eastman, Sgt. Raul Delgado, Sgt. Shawn Eastman and Officers Noah Grubic, Larbi Dakkouni, Mark McGinnis & Gregg Johannesen located a subject who matched the description of one of the wanted. Additional information obtained from the SRPD revealed that the wanted subjects may have been in possession of a 9mm handgun. Based on this information Cpl. Shane Eastman authored a search and seizure warrant. The GPD Street Crimes Unit responded to assist with the execution of the search warrant. GPD, the SCU and Montgomery County Police SWAT – Montgomery County Police 6D Gaithersburg Cpl. Neil Mohardt, Sgt. Eric Wood and Officers Richard Hillman, Robert Atack, Drew Abbamonte & Dana Bunge & Montgomery County Police 5D Germantown Officers Manuel Gomez, Robert Zaal, Douglas Styles, Vincent Sylvester & Tomas Machon – executed the search and seizure warrant resulting in the arrest of one of the suspects and they were able to locate clothing and other evidence to assist the SRPD with their aggravated assault investigation. The remaining two fugitives were apprehended after a several day manhunt. All three suspects made incriminating statements, were charged as fugitives from justice and were subsequently extradited to Pennsylvania to await trial, which is still pending. All the officers involved were awarded the Distinguished Service Citation.
City of Gaithersburg Police Officer John Jordan and Montgomery County Police 6th District Officer Andrew Byrd were each presented with the Distinguished Service Citation for their response to a suicide in-progress call, related to an earlier domestic dispute. The officer’s decisive and courageous actions effectively averted a potentially deadly outcome and their “actions were reflective of their character”.
For the ninth year in a row, Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling is the Title Sponsor of the event. For more than 40 years, Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling craftsmanship and care has helped families and businesses overcome the devastating setbacks inflicted by fire, flood and wind.
Additional sponsors include:
Official Gift Sponsor
- Lerner Enterprises
Shining Silver Sponsors
- Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center
- City of Gaithersburg
- Hughes Network Systems, LLC
- Montgomery County EFCU
- Asbury Methodist Village
- Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP
- Gaithersburg Police Foundation
- Hair Cuttery Muddy Branch Shopping Center
- Holy Cross Germantown Hospital
- Johns Hopkins University
- Lakeforest Mall / United Security, Inc.
- Legal Shield
- Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chartered
- Lerner Enterprises
- PCC Construction Components, Inc.
- Rodgers Consulting, Inc.
- Therrien Waddell, Inc.
Public Safety Official Sponsors
- Linowes and Blocher, LLP
- Rossi Commercial Real Estate, LLC
- Scheer Partners, Inc.
- & Pizza Germantown
- Copper Canyon Grill
- Corner Bakery Gaithersburg
- GrillMarX Steakhouse & Raw Bar
- Hair Cuttery Muddy Branch Shopping Center
- Holiday Inn Gaithersburg
- Linganore Winecellars
- Melting Pot Gaithersburg
- Montgomery Country Club
- Nalley Fresh
- Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
- Pinky & Pepe’s Grape Escape
- Randy Scritchfield, CFP®
- Sardi’s Chicken Group
2016 Special Event Sponsors: Bargain Movers & Crown Trophy
Photography Donated by: PhotoLoaf™ – Live. Love. Play. Loaf.
Honor Guard by: Gaithersburg Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department & the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department
The GGCC is active in providing business-to-business networking opportunities throughout the year: a collective voice in local, regional, and state legislative affairs, professional development opportunities and other services that enhance the business environment.
The GGCC is located at 910 Clopper Road, Suite 205N, Gaithersburg, MD. To learn more about the GGCC visit us at www.ggchamber.org.
Find us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaithersburg-Germantown-Chamber-of-Commerce/64339954570. Or on Twitter at: @GGCCNEWS.