Howard County officer named deputy sheriff of the year

August 31, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Howard County Deputy Sheriff Rodney Eugene Stem is great with kids, sympathetic to people in trouble, and can take care of himself in dangerous situations.

Now he's Maryland Deputy Sheriff of the Year.

A 17-year veteran of the Howard County Sheriff's Office, Sergeant Stem will be honored at the Maryland Sheriffs' Association Conference in Ocean City Sept. 11.

He and Officer Bruce Lohr of the Howard County Police department made headlines last October when they rescued one of the most decorated troopers in the state police force from a pair of drug suspects on Interstate 95 near Havre de Grace.

The suspects were struggling to get the officer's gun when Sergeant Stem and Officer Lohr came to his aid. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here today," the trooper said later.

Although Sergeant Stem has received many honors before and since the October rescue, "his best professional accomplishment is in the area of sensitivity and multi-cultural relations," said Howard County Sheriff Michael A. Chicuchiolo.

"Nothing is more satisfying than going to the schools and talking to the kids about basic human values," Sergeant Stem says. He does it often. He is also in demand as a sensitivity trainer for adults.

"The distrust between communities and the police needs to break down," he said. "It's a national crisis. We are accenting the things that break us apart."

Sergeant Stem seeks to reverse that trend by going into the classroom and talking candidly. "We need to let kids know we NTC have bad cops just like we have bad priests, bad attorneys, and bad newspaper reporters," he said.

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