A good memory for details helps officer make arrests, solve cases

Police foundation honors veteran of Woodlawn beat

March 28, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Officer Adam L. Rock is eyeing a white Acura, the way someone might look at a car parked in the middle of a swimming pool.

But there's nothing out of the ordinary about this car. No dents. No broken glass. It's just that Rock hasn't seen the sedan parked in that exact spot, next to a row of houses in Edmondson Heights. This alone is reason for Rock to pause.

For an officer who mentally catalogs the makes and models of what seems like nearly every car on his beat, moments like this can be important. Many times, an arrest will follow, a stolen car will be recovered, drugs will get seized, cases will be cleared and closed.

This is how the Woodlawn officer makes things happen on his beat. This is why the Baltimore County Police Foundation recognized the four-year veteran of the force last week for exceptional performance.

"I have a good memory for details," Rock says. "I guess it's a gift -- that and good training. For this job, it's all about remembering details."

Once, he recovered a stolen car because he happened to notice that the vehicle identification number on the dashboard was slightly askew.

That's not to say there's a big arrest or ceremony every time Rock notices something out of place. This evening, he enters the tag number of the Acura into the computer in his patrol car and finds that Motor Vehicle Administration records show the owner lives on that block.

"It's weird I haven't seen it before tonight," Rock says. "But it's fine." And that's the reward for his trouble: He knows for sure that all is OK on that piece of pavement.

Born and raised in Carroll County, Rock is the son of a Westminster police officer. "It's in the blood, I guess," says Rock, who lives in the White Marsh area with his wife and 1-year-old son.

Rock graduated from North Carroll High School in 1995 and then Carroll Community College. He is a few classes away from a degree in criminal justice at the University of Baltimore.

It was because of an internship with the county police at the Woodlawn precinct that Rock knew he wanted to patrol this area when he graduated from the training academy in 1999.

"Officer Rock is a very dedicated, top-notch officer. He does a terrific job," said Capt. Lisa Hannon. "I'd like to a have a whole precinct of officers like him."

Last year, Rock, 25, made 107 arrests and cleared 106 cases. On Halloween, Rock was able to arrest two young robbers who held a gun to the head of a 13-year-old trick-or-treater because he picked up on the description by the victim, who told police the youths who assaulted her were wearing white masks, except for one who was wearing a red one.

"They thought it was some kind of joke," he said. "But it wasn't to that girl."

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