The Metropolitan Police Department is honoring outstanding police officers, civilian employees, agency partners and community members who have helped to make DC neighborhoods safer over the past year, during the MPD's 6th Annual Awards Ceremony, Wednesday evening, December 14, at DAR Constitutional Hall. Among the MPD employees being honored are the following:
Detective Christopher Kauffman, of the Violent Crimes Branch, is receiving the Detective of the Year Medal. With an average closure rate of 75 percent, he is considered not only one of the top homicide detectives in the MPD, but in the nation. He demonstrated his skill and tenacity in conducting an exhaustive, 18-month investigation into the disappearance and murder of Marion Fye, who was reported missing by her live-in boyfriend in December 2003. Although Ms. Fye's body has never been found, Detective Kauffman collected enough evidence, including a confession by the boyfriend, to successfully close the case. Closing a "no-body" homicide is extremely rare - only one other similar case has been recorded in MPD history.
First District Officer James Burgess is receiving the Officer of the Year Medal. Officer Burgess has distinguished himself through a number of activities - from aggressive patrols to training to volunteering in the community. He made a number of impressive arrests in PSA 101, including one last February, when he and his partner apprehended two suspects who were spotted loitering suspiciously near a tour bus. Upon apprehending the suspects, officers recovered a 12-gauge shotgun whose serial numbers had been removed. As a training officer, this 15-year veteran consistently demonstrates skill and leadership in working with newer officers. And he is always there to lend a hand to the community when it needs the help of the police on neighborhood improvement projects.
Sheila Beaman, of the Testing and Standards Unit, is receiving the Employee of the Year Medal. While her work may not be well known to the outside world, it is vitally important to the members of the Department, in particular those who are candidates for promotion. Over the past year, Ms. Beaman served as Project Director on numerous selection processes. At the same time, she oversaw preparations for the 2005 promotional processes for Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain.
Two officers from the Sixth District are receiving the Medal of Valor, one of the MPD's top honors given for heroic actions. Officer Mikal Ba'th was off-duty this past January when he and a relative were approached by a masked gunman who attempted to carjack their vehicle on 50th Street, SE. Without hesitation, Officer Ba'th drew his service weapon, announced his office and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect refused to comply, and instead fled the scene on foot, with Officer Ba'th in pursuit. As the suspect fled, he fired several shots at Officer Ba'th, who returned fire. With the assistance of the Sixth District Focused Mission Team, the suspect was soon discovered hiding in a nearby trash receptacle and a handgun was recovered.
On September 29, 2005, Officer Michael Tucker and his partner were dispatched to 37th Street, SE, for the report of two men on the street with guns. When the officers approached the suspects, one of them immediately surrendered; a loaded, 9-mm. pistol was recovered from his coat. But the second suspect fled on foot, with Officer Tucker in pursuit. Assisted by a School Resource Officer from the nearby John Philip Sousa Middle School, Officer Tucker was able to cut off the suspect's escape. Desperate, the suspect pulled a 9-mm. handgun and fired on the officers, but missed. The suspect then panicked, dropped his pistol, and tried to run before being captured by Officer Tucker and other personnel. As he was being searched, officers discovered he was wearing a ballistic vest under his shirt.
These five individuals are just some of the more than 200 police officers, civilian employees and residents who will be honored during Wednesday's ceremony. "The remarkable thing about most of our award winners is that they had little expectation of ever being recognized for their efforts. For most of these heroes, they were simply doing their jobs - or, in case of our residents, their civic duty," said Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey. "This annual awards ceremony is the District's chance to give these people some of the recognition and thanks that they deserve.
Other awards include the Lifesaving Medal; the Meritorious Service Medal, for outstanding contributions; the Achievement Medal, for individual acts of skill or bravery; and the Unit Citation, for excellence by an entire MPD unit. A Blue Shield Medal, presented to sworn or civilian members are seriously, critically or fatally injured while in direct performance of police duties, will be given posthumously to Officer James McBride, who died in a training accident in August. The Reserve Officer of the Year will be presented for the first time, posthumously, to Reserve Officer Joseph Pozell, who died while directing traffic in Georgetown in May. The award is being named in Officer Pozell's honor.
In addition, the Chief of Police Special Award is presented to community members who have excelled in supporting crime prevention and community policing, and the Chief's Award of Merit is given to members of other agencies who have assisted the MPD in significant operations.
The names of all of this year's award winners are listed in the MPDC Annual Awards Ceremony 2005 program book.