"I don't ever want to forget what happened that night."
With those words, Officer Ronald A. Beverly accepted the 2001 Police Officer of the Year Award last night from Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, recognition of his actions March 12, after he was wounded and his partner, Agent Michael J. Cowdery Jr., was fatally shot.
The inscription on the award - a polished and framed policeman's nightstick - praises Beverly for his "dedication, perseverance and bravery." It was presented by Mayor Martin O'Malley, police Commissioner Edward T. Norris and Gary McLhinney, the lodge president, before an audience of about 200 in Hampden.
Beverly recalled the scene that cold, rainy night. He and Cowdery - working as members of the Eastern District plainclothes drug initiative - were interviewing people in the 2300 block of Harford Road when a gunman stepped around the corner and opened fire.
Cowdery, 31, fell with a bullet wound to the head, and Beverly was hit in the leg.
Despite his wound, Beverly pursued the man across the street and up Cliftview Avenue, where they exchanged fire at close range. The man was wounded several times and arrested.
Beverly, Cowdery and the suspect were taken by ambulances to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Cowdery was pronounced dead.
Beverly, 29, a policeman for eight years, described Cowdery as "a man who would have made a good leader in the Police Department."
"He always took time to think about what we were doing out on the streets, and I considered him a partner and a very good friend," Beverly said, adding that the award would always remind him of Cowdery.
Howard Whitworth, 27, of the 4900 block of Crenshaw Ave. is awaiting trial on charges including first-degree murder.