2 state troopers recognized for domestic violence case Officers subdued man threatening suicide

many others honored

December 10, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Two state troopers from the Westminster barracks were awarded Governor's Citations yesterday for excellence and courage for their actions during a domestic violence call in Keymar in May.

Cpl. Ronald W. Riggin and Tfc. James T. DeWees received the honors at the Superintendent's Awards Ceremony, which recognizes troopers, civilian employees and others for courageous work.

The troopers spoke of trust and teamwork after about 60 recipients were honored at state police headquarters in Pikesville.

Riggin and DeWees, who have since been reassigned to the Special Operations Division at the Waterloo barracks, responded to a domestic violence call in which a man was threatening suicide and had a shotgun barrel in his mouth.

Riggin put his service weapon in his holster to appease the man and tried to persuade him to surrender, trusting DeWees, a member of the tactical assault team, to protect him if the man turned the shotgun on the troopers.

"I had total confidence in Jimmy doing whatever was necessary to cover me," Riggin said.

DeWees did, ending a two-hour standoff by wounding the 51-year-old man in the hand, causing him to drop the shotgun.

"What [Riggin and DeWees] did was incredible," said Capt. Larry Faries, then the barracks commander in Westminster, who nominated them for their efforts.

Col. David B. Mitchell, the state police superintendent, praised DeWees and Riggin for upholding the mission of all troopers, preserving lives.

The Westminster barracks, the largest and busiest in the state, had seven troopers and three communications officers who received a combined 12 awards.

A Hampstead police officer and an Eldersburg resident also were honored.

Tfc. Christopher G. Hannon, 1st Sgt. Robert L. Smith, now assigned to the Cumberland barracks, and Raymond Trawinski, a Hampstead police officer, were recognized twice.

Hannon and Trawinski were the first to arrive after a double homicide in Hampstead on June 14 and took a suspect into custody at the scene.

They also teamed on May 28 to apprehend three suspects who had just robbed a High's Dairy store in Hampstead.

Smith was recognized for his work as duty officer, twice coordinating efforts that led to quick apprehensions.

Betty J. Ford, public communications officer, was commended for her role in dispatching troopers to a scene of domestic violence after receiving a 911 call from a Hampstead woman.

Ford heard the woman pleading for her life before the phone line went dead.

Moments later, when Hannon and Trawinski arrived, they apprehended a suspect and found two bodies.

Shane Evans of Eldersburg received a certificate of valor for assisting Tfc. Shelly L. Lemon in the capture of two auto theft suspects April 1.

Lemon also was recognized.

Trooper Christina D. Becker was recognized for her role in the arrest of a suspicious man parked near an Eldersburg bank. The man has been charged in 11 bank robberies.

James K. Carlisle and Stewart M. Hollinger, public communications officers, were recognized for their calm efficiency under stress, keeping 911 callers on line to obtain valuable information and warn troopers of potential dangers.

Sgt. A. Dean Richardson was commended for his efforts in helping provide firearms training for troopers making a transition from .45-caliber to 9-mm service weapons.

Pub Date: 12/10/97

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