County trooper trades plainclothes for teacher's garb State police's Burdelski is headed to academy

June 17, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

WESTMINSTER -- He has to leave his friends, start a new job and, worst of all, dust off his old police uniform, but Tfc. Steve Burdelski looks forward to the challenge of his next assignment -- instructor at the Maryland State Police Academy.

"This is an opportunity to do something different, so hopefully I can do something for the agency," said Burdelski, formerly a criminal investigator with the State Police at the Westminster barracks.

"I put in for the transfer because I wanted to teach, but I will definitely miss it out here."

Besides missing the street clothes he wore as an investigator, Burdelski said he will miss the people in Carroll County because they are always so helpful when the police are looking for information.

"The community is so willing to participate. They really care about what's going on and their support is tremendous," he said. "At times, when we are trying to solve something, the community members will call in and give us information."

Having been here for five years, the 30-year-old Burdelski said he finds it difficult to leave the fold.

Such officers as Tfc. Michael Cain and Doug Wehland and Cpl. Wayne Moffatt made him feel at ease as he was called upon to investigate crimes from theft to murder.

"There was a certain camaraderie here that I hope to find at my new assignment," said Burdelski, who lives in Hampstead. "We worked as a team."

Cain recalls how he and Burdelski caught a purse-snatcher as they were headed back from an interview concerning another case.

"It was one of times that we just happened to be there to help and we caught the guy and headed home. It was teamwork. We just clicked," said Cain, who has known Burdelski since his arrival.

"We worked together everyday, and we got so we knew what the other would do," he said. Detective Sgt. Peter Edge, Burdelski's supervisor, doesn't like the idea of losing one of his top investigators, but he feels good about Burdelski getting what he wants.

"Just the thought of not having him here is not desirable to any of us from the selfish aspect, but we are proud to see him move on," said Edge, a former undercover officer. "He is a very bright guy and a quick learner, self-motivated, and a hard worker."

Until the police academy in Pikesville has another class, Burdelski, whose last day at Westminster was Monday, will teach seminars for veteran police officers as well as officers involved with the Home Detention program of the State Department of Corrections.

He said he prefers working with cadets as opposed to veterans.

"It's a little bit more rewarding, I believe, because a recruit comes to you with little to no knowledge about the job, and you watch them move through the academy," he said. "They use the information you teach them to make decisions."

Although pictures, posters and boxes stuffed with paperwork from cases spanning 3 1/2 years fill the corner where he used to sit, Burdelski doesn't let his feeling about leaving cloud his perception of the future.

"I believe my new position will further my career as well as help me better myself and become a more well-rounded person," he said.

Besides, he looks forward to the time when he can work with his "comrades" again.

"Everybody out here has been so great. Hopefully, if things work out, we will work together again sometime," he said, looking over at the boxes piled near his old desk. "I would return here without a problem."

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