Slain officers' children receive scholarships Townsend awards $26,000 in federal funds to three Maryland college students

November 15, 1997|By Karen Masterson | Karen Masterson,SUN STAFF

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend yesterday awarded scholarships worth more than $26,000 to three grown children of slain Maryland police officers.

While making the presentations, she empathized with them over the loss of a father.

"This is a bittersweet moment," Townsend said at a news conference in the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Towson.

"There's nothing that can be said to bring your fathers back. But we want to help you," said Townsend, whose father, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968.

Last year, Maryland became one of 17 states eligible for the federal Police Corps scholarship program. Created by the 1994 federal crime bill, the scholarships are for children of police officers who have died since 1975 on duty. Children must be 22 years old or younger and can receive as much as $7,500 for each year of undergraduate education.

Since 1994, the federal program has given away 15 scholarships nationwide worth roughly $132,000.

Yesterday's scholarships were the first awarded in Maryland. Those receiving the awards were:

Frank P. Sweeney, 22, a business major at Towson State University. His father, Lt. Owen E. Sweeney, was fatally shot in May while answering a routine call in Northeast Baltimore.

Carlita D. Fletcher, 19, who is studying speech pathology at Loyola College. Her father, Carlton Fletcher, was shot to death in 1983 while sitting in his squad car outside a Beltsville convenience store.

Clinton J. Rumpf, 20, a photography major at Dundalk Community College. His father, Edgar J. Rumpf Jr., died in 1978 after entering a burning building in downtown Baltimore to see if anyone was trapped inside.

Carlton Fletcher was off duty when he was shot. But his daughter was eligible for the scholarship because he was

identified by the killer as an on-duty officer, according to Donald J. Farabaugh, the governor's law enforcement coordinator.

Fifty-eight Maryland police officers have been killed while on duty since 1975. The most recent was Sweeney, who was shot through a wooden door with a 6-gauge shotgun after trying to console a mentally disturbed man.

Yesterday, Frank Sweeney's eyes filled with tears as Townsend spoke of his father's death and handed him the scholarship.

"It gets better," said Judy Ann Rumpf, whose husband was assisting rescue workers in a Park Avenue nine-alarm fire.

But the family members all said that, although the shock subsides, the pain does not .

"It's still early for us. It's been only six months," Elaine Sweeney said, locking arms with her son.

Pub Date: 11/15/97

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