Officers honored for going 'the extra step' to help county crime victims, witnesses

April 29, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Shifting a little nervously in his seat, county police Officer Gerald Jones had no idea why he was being honored yesterday by the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the county state's attorney's office.

But Joan Jenkins did.

Ms. Jenkins works with victims of spouse abuse at Glen Burnie District Court.

It was she and co-worker Jennifer DuLaney who nominated the 27-year-old Northern District officer for the award.

"He works the midnight shift, but often comes to our office when his shift is done and brings us a police report of domestic violence cases," Ms. Jenkins said as she presented the six-year veteran of the force with an "Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy" gold certificate.

Northern District sends about 75 cases of domestic violence a month to the district court, Ms. Jenkins and Ms. DuLaney said.

Yesterday's ceremony marked the third year that the county prosecutor's office has recognized residents who assist crime victims or lobby for stronger laws to protect their rights.

The Arundel Center luncheon was part of the local observance of National Victims' Rights Week.

Joining Officer Jones was fellow county Officer Steven Burrell, 31, of the Western District.

Officer Burrell, too, was surprised by the honor.

But Stephanie Brandquist, a victimss advocate for the state's attorney's office in the Annapolis District Court, left no doubt why he was being singled out as she presented him with his certificate.

"He goes the extra step," said Ms. Brandquist. "He is always there in court. When a witness doesn't show up, he will go out and find the witness for us. He cares about the people in the neighborhood. He is setting up a Cub Scout unit in the neighborhood he patrols."

The Cub Scout troop will meet in Pioneer City, an area patrolled by Officer Burrell.

He says he believes his rapport with members of that neighborhood and the Fort Meade community makes it possible for him to attract support for the troop.

"It's not too often I get called Officer Burrell," said the four-year veteran of the force. "I get called Officer Steve."

Officer Burrell also is active in assisting victims of domestic violence.

Often the women will get into court and drop the charges against her husband or boyfriend and opt for reconciliation, but that does not frustrate Officer Burrell, said Ms. Jenkins, who noted that he was willing to keep working to bring offenders to justice.

Among the other recipients were Betty Asplund, 49, who wears two hats as the director of the Bereavement Center for the Hospice of the Chesapeake and as director for Homicide Support Services.

The latter group was started in March 1993 to counsel the families of homicide victims and assist support groups.

Mrs. Asplund was cited for her efforts to get a state grant for the Homicide Support Services program.

Theodore Criswell, 53, a Federal Aviation Administration worker who lives in Crofton, was cited for his efforts to get the constitutional amendment for victim's rights on the November ballot.

Mr. Criswell's wife, Gwyn, was abducted, raped and strangled near her home in 1990.

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