4 police honored for service

March 30, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

Less than a year after he was shot three times while on patrol, Officer Peter Hanlon was chasing a robbery suspect into woods near Loch Raven Boulevard and the city line last July 20.

The man turned several times and aimed a revolver, but the officer, with his own 9mm semiautomatic handgun drawn, decided not to fire.

The reason? There were people around and Officer Hanlon was afraid he might injure someone.

The man escaped, but Officer Hanlon recovered the weapon. The man had attempted to fire the gun three times, but it had misfired each time.

"He was turning back with the weapon," Officer Hanlon, 31, said yesterday, just hours before he was awarded the Baltimore County Police Foundation's award for valor. "I wasn't going to fire, because of the situation."

Officer Hanlon, who is assigned to the Towson precinct, said he doesn't think he did anything that special.

"Personally, I just did what a lot of other officers would do," said Officer Hanlon, who was wounded when a gunman opened fire on him in September 1992.

He and three other officers were recognized by the police foundation at a dinner last night at the Towson Sheraton hotel. Each received a plaque and $500.

Officer Michael T. Burton, 27, on the force for five years, was another to be recognized. He received the award for exceptional police performance for his regular patrol duties, plus his work to help a crime-ridden apartment complex in Essex.

In 1993, Officer Burton made 120 arrests, handed out 133 traffic citations and cleared 237 criminal cases. He also worked with residents and managers of the Village of Tall Trees apartment complex in forming a community association and in crime prevention.

Officer Burton, who recently was transferred to the White Marsh precinct, knows many of the children of Village of Tall Trees by name and got them involved in programs. Still, he said, some were lost to drugs and others to bad behavior.

But, he said, "If we didn't do it, we might have lost all the kids."

Crime in the apartment complex decreased the last two years. Janice Kelly, a manager, said Officer Burton made a big impact on the 828-unit complex where 2,300 people live. "Michael is an 'A No. 1' police officer," Ms. Kelly said. "His concerns are the whole picture, not just, 'I have a warrant. Let's lock 'em up.' "

Officer Burton keeps in touch with the complex, and the officer now working the beat. He said he wants his efforts to continue.

The other awards went to:

* Officer Paul M. Ciepiela, a 10-year veteran who received the crime prevention award for helping residents in the Garrison precinct organize "Citizens on Patrol" programs. In the programs, citizens patrol at night with support of police. Some groups use walkie-talkie radios.

* Detective Richard G. Walton, a 24-year-veteran, who received the award for distinguished contribution to the profession for his work in tracking repeat offenders. Detective Walton, working in the Repeat Offenders Program, has helped put three-time offenders away for life sentences.

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