County detective, trooper win Sun award 2 are named Maryland Police Officers of Year

April 30, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County detective who developed crime prevention programs and a state trooper cited for drunken-driving enforcement and valor during a shooting at a shopping mall were named winners yesterday in the 39th annual Baltimore Sun Police Officer of the Year awards ceremony.

An independent panel of judges selected the winners from 78 nominees from 12 law enforcement and correction agencies across Maryland. Nominees were selected for exceptional effort in law enforcement and community service.

The winners were:

* Detective Scott A. Canter Sr. of Baltimore County, for community service in developing two crime-prevention programs -- one working with businesses, the other applying landscaping and building design concepts.

* State Trooper Mark E. Darby of the Salisbury Barracks for making numerous DWI, drug and burglary arrests, as well as helping three shooting victims at Salisbury Mall in December.

Both were presented trophies and checks for $1,500 as the awards were announced during a luncheon attended by the nominees and public safety officials.

"I work for the best lieutenant at the best barracks," said Trooper Darby, who has been on the force for three years. "I never thought I had a chance in the world to win this. All of the troopers that I work with deserve a lot of the credit."

Trooper Darby, who lives in Salisbury with his wife, Melinda, was off-duty and watching a movie at Salisbury Mall Dec. 23 when shooting started outside a shoe store. He rushed to the store and found the three victims, one of whom was in cardiac arrest. He and another trooper began first aid despite continuing gunfire until paramedics arrived. Acting on tips from shoppers, he and another trooper caught the gunman in the mall parking lot.

"Many times Trooper Darby has taken just one more step in the investigation process, and as a result arrests have been made," said Lt. Edwin L. Lashley, commander of the Salisbury Barracks.

Detective Canter, of the county police Community Resources Unit, is a 10-year veteran who received an award for crime prevention last month from the Baltimore County Police Foundation. He said he began working on his Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program after reading about the subject in crime prevention magazines and attending a two-week course on the topic in Louisville, Ky.

In December, Detective Canter reviewed plans for a Revco Drug Store to be built on Liberty Road in Randallstown. Because such stores are often targets for armed robberies, he recommended that some of the entrances be closed to block off escape routes and that fencing or bushes be planted to deter access from neighboring properties.

Detective Canter, 30, developed a training program in design strategies and taught the techniques to officers in four other departments. He also has been asked to evaluate security and safety design at the county's 170 schools.

At the request of former Chief Michael D. Gambrill, he also implemented a Business Watch program that works with store owners to prevent robberies, shoplifting and other crimes.

"One of the businesses that I worked with had a problem with thefts from cars parked in their lot," he said. "So I redesigned the business and put in a lunch room with windows that overlooked the parking lot. That created some natural surveillance and the thefts stopped considerably."

The awards judges were Chief Judge Robert F. Sweeney of the Maryland District Court; Benjamin Wright, criminal justice professor at the University of Baltimore; and Richard W. Friedman, executive director of the Maryland Juvenile Justice Advisory Council.

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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