Good, old-fashioned, solid police work is what makes Howard County police Cpl. Mark Shiplett and Officer Jason Kindel stand out among their peers.
Police Chief Wayne Livesay nominated both for the annual law enforcement awards sponsored by The Sun. Winners will be announced during a lunch banquet April 12 at Martin's Crosswinds.
Shiplett, 42, started his police career with the Annapolis Police Department 15 years ago. He said he loves the variety of police work.
After three years patrolling in Annapolis, Shiplett was hired by the Howard department. His first assignment was as a patrol officer in Columbia. He has worked as a background investigator for new hires and also put four years into the Community Services Unit, where he worked as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officer in county schools. He also spent a summer organizing a youth camp in Ellicott City.
"Every day is different," said Shiplett, who patrols the Elkridge area. "It's never mundane or boring. And I love to talk to people in the community."
Last year, Shiplett handled 904 cases, wrote 149 incident reports, made 85 criminal arrests, 65 driving-while-intoxicated arrests and wrote 500 traffic tickets, department records show.
Kindel, 29, is dedicated to community policing, Livesay said. Last year, he made 90 criminal arrests while cultivating close ties with residents and businesses in the north Laurel neighborhoods he patrols.
"They call it `community policing' now," he said. "But really the old-timers did the same thing every day. Now, there is just a label for it." Last year, when an 18-year-old Laurel man was shot to death outside Whiskey Bottom Shopping Center, Kindel, along with other officers, canvassed the area and interviewed people. He spotted a group of young men outside of the shopping center and asked if they knew anything about the shooting.
"The whole look on their faces changed when we asked that," he said. "I thought we were really on to something."
The young men agreed to having a Polaroid picture taken and one of them later was identified as the shooter.
A Baltimore police officer for three years before coming to Howard in 1997, Kindel keeps his theory of policing simple.
"In Baltimore, they drilled into us that we should manage our beat and not let the beat manage us," he said. "And that is what I try to do." Police agencies from across Maryland submit nominees for the two awards -- police officer of the year and the community service award. A panel of criminal justice experts chooses the winners.
Last year, Baltimore Officer Edgar A. Allen II was police officer of the year, and Annapolis Officer Eric E. Crane won the community service award.