STATE POLICE ANNOUNCE TROOPER, NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER AND POLICE COMMUNICATIONS OPERATORS OF THE YEAR
(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William M. Pallozzi presented awards today to two sworn and two civilian employees who were chosen as the outstanding employees of the year for their public safety services during 2014.
Trooper First Class Scott Bell, assigned to the McHenry Barrack, is the 2014 Trooper of the Year. Corporal Gregg Harrington, of the Employee Services Section and the Department’s military liaison, is the 2014 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Police Communications Supervisor Brenda Kelly, of the Berlin Barrack, is the 2014 Police Communications Supervisor of the Year. Police Communications Operator II Gary Swanner, of the Centreville Barrack, is the 2014 Police Communications Operator of the Year.
“These troopers and police communications operators represent the very best of the more than 2,100 sworn and civilian employees who provide outstanding public safety services to the people of Maryland each day,” Colonel Pallozzi said. “I commend them for their commitment to public service and am proud to serve with them as we work together to protect our citizens.”
Trooper First Class Scott Bell has been a member of the Maryland State Police for four years and is assigned to road patrol duties at the McHenry Barrack in Garrett County. In 2014, TFC Bell issued 1,284 citations, 691 warnings, and 88 safety equipment repair orders. He was second in the entire Western Region for traffic stops, with almost 1,900. His work is credited with significantly contributing to the 17 percent decrease in traffic crashes and the 75 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in Garrett County during the year.
TFC Bell ranked first at the barrack in adult arrests, juvenile arrests, and warrants served. He led the barrack in criminal investigations conducted and had an impressive 95 percent closure rate in those investigations.
Drug enforcement is a priority for TFC Bell. He made 42 drug arrests, ranking him fifth in the entire Field Operations Bureau and accounting for one-quarter of the barrack’s total drug arrests, helping increase overall drug arrests 26 percent. He was awarded Barrack Trooper of the Month 11 of 12 times in 2014 and received the criminal enforcement award five times.
When dispatched to a domestic in progress last summer, TFC Bell became involved in a 20-mile pursuit with the armed suspect that ended in one of the remotest parts of Maryland. TFC Bell was by himself, but he began a dialog with the suspect, who had fired a rifle from his car. The composure and professionalism of TFC Bell resulted in the suspect eventually surrendering peacefully.
TFC Bell is actively involved as an adviser with the local Explorer program and works with Special Olympics Maryland by organizing the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Garrett County and supporting multiple charity events throughout the year.
Corporal Gregg Harrington is a 14-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and is assigned to the Employment Services Section. Before and during his career with the State Police, Cpl. Harrington fulfilled an outstanding military career and is a decorated US Army combat veteran. He was deployed multiple times to Iraq and also served in Kuwait and Afghanistan. After 23 years of service as a military police officer, he retired as an Army first sergeant in May of 2012.
Cpl. Harrington currently holds a unique position in the Maryland State Police as the military liaison and military veteran recruiter. He is assigned to provide military support and recruitment, veteran recruitment, and support for members of the Maryland State Police currently serving in the military, especially those deployed.
During 2014, Cpl. Harrington developed training schedules for troopers and civilians reintegrating to the State Police after military deployments. He established military partnerships with the Reserves and National Guard by meeting with top generals from each branch of the military at the Pentagon.
Cpl. Harrington coordinated numerous events between the State Police and the military, many of them involving mutual training. This training included seminars for soldiers on gun safety and Maryland firearms laws and joint training between K-9 units at multiple bases in the state. He arranged for the State Police color and honor guard troopers to receive training from the US Army’s Old Guard, which provides Presidential honor details and guards the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Cpl. Harrington is deeply committed to our veterans. He ensures the deployed troopers’ families are cared for. He has assisted with home repairs for those troopers and has personally intervened in many ways on countless occasions. Through his commitment to our military personnel, he truly cares for those who have ‘borne the burden.’ Through his commitment to the Maryland State Police, he provides outstanding service to the people of Maryland.
Police Communications Operator II Gary Swanner, of the Centreville Barrack, was named 2014 Police Communications Operator of the Year. He was acknowledged for his daily commitment to ensuring the safety of the troopers on patrol and keeping that as his main focus and first priority. He always projects a positive image and is known for remaining calm during any crisis situation he encounters and for exhibiting excellent multitasking abilities during his tours of duty.
One of PCO Swanner’s many outstanding accomplishments in 2014 involved volunteering his assistance during a 10-hour barricade situation near his home. PCO Swanner had worked through a large portion of the stand-off as the early shift PCO.
Despite being off-duty, he voluntarily responded to the command post and brought with him bags of food and beverages for troopers, deputies, and EMS personnel on the scene. Through the act of selflessly giving of his own time, PCO Swanner demonstrates that his dedication to the Maryland State Police and his colleagues goes well beyond work hours.
PCO Swanner has also provided unsolicited financial support toward various barrack events and charitable efforts, such as the Champions on Patrol program and the Special Olympics Torch Run. He voluntarily covered the entire cost of the Centreville Barrack Torch Run Team T-shirts and obtained State Police hats for the Special Olympians who participated.
Police Communications Supervisor Brenda Kelly, of the Berlin Barrack, was named the 2014 Police Communications Supervisor of the Year. She has continually demonstrated diligence and dedication during her 17-year tenure as Police Communications Supervisor of the Berlin Barrack. She leads by example, as she supervises five police communications operators, one of whom is in training.
It is difficult to fulfill the roles of both a supervisor and communications operator, while balancing all of the duties that are demanded by each position. PCS Kelly executes each role with great professionalism. She maintains calm under pressure and is able to multitask effectively. Her reliability has earned PCS Kelly the respect of all of her colleagues, from troopers to subordinates.
In 2014, the Maryland State Police completed the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement process of certification, gaining national recognition. The Berlin Barrack was consulted extensively during this process. PCS Kelly was essential to this process and its success by providing her knowledge of police communications topics to CALEA.
When the need arises, PCS Kelly possesses the ability to work through difficult decisions that affect her team, and she is quick to make adjustments that benefit the PCOs as well as the troopers. She was commended for the outstanding example she sets as a motivator, leader, problem solver, and employee of the Maryland State Police.