County man is top officer of Capitol force Perry Hall resident given '96 honor by D.C. group

July 22, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Michael C. DeCarlo has dodged bullets and drivers on drugs, and has made dozens of "good" arrests for U.S. Capitol Police. Because of his quick thinking, investigative talents and hard work, the Perry Hall resident has been named 1996 Police Officer of the Year for the force.

DeCarlo, 25, a member of the force for three years, was given the award by the Exchange Club of Capitol Hill -- a group of retired military officials and lobbyists.

"He is very dedicated to his job, and I can always count on him being in his assigned area and doing more than what is expected of him," said his supervisor, Sgt. Tara Loughery.

Loughery recalled that DeCarlo was nearly run down by a woman whom he caught smoking cocaine in a car on New Jersey Avenue. Another time, he and his colleagues were shot at by a man they suspected of drinking and driving.

"I've been lucky," said DeCarlo, a 1989 Overlea High School graduate who helps patrol the grounds around government offices on the Hill. "I've made a lot of good arrests and been in the right place at the right time."

Good arrests, he said, are those that result in stopping illegal activities and in convictions.

Although the demands of his job, the 90-minute commute and his family leave little free time, DeCarlo has managed to obtain certification in motorcycle riding and training new officers.

DeCarlo says his most memorable arrest was not one in which he confiscated pounds of drugs or nailed a serial killer, but last year when he caught two teen-agers with a small amount of marijuana.

"That's not much drugs," he said. "But still, that's two people who are not going to get high that night. Some officers might just confiscate the drugs and let them go. But I like to make them think about it for a few hours in jail."

DeCarlo, who lives with his toddler son Ryan and wife, Lori, said his interest in becoming a police officer began when he was a high school senior, after he scored well on a federal government employment test. He has worked for the Department of Defense police and attended the eight-week federal police academy in Georgia.

His goal, he said, is to join the FBI. "I like helping people," he said. "Being a Capitol police officer is not just standing around. It's a very diverse job that is different every day."

Pub Date: 7/22/96

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