Joseph Ridley, an Annapolis police officer described as a "role model" for Hispanic youths in his district, and Patrick Eckley, a Howard County officer skilled at tracking down criminals with his police dog partner, received The Sun's 46th annual Police Officer of the Year awards yesterday.
Additionally, The Sun's publisher and chief executive officer, Denise E. Palmer, announced the paper's first Citizen's Service Award, which was given posthumously to Angela and Carnell Dawson, and their five children.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Saturday's editions of The Sun incorrectly reported the recipient of the newspaper's Citizen Service Award. The award was given to Do You Know Where Your Children Are, an East Baltimore organization. The award was inspired by the courage of Angela Dawson, who died with her family in an arson fire in the wake of her repeated efforts against neighborhood drug dealing.
The Sun regrets the error.
The Baltimore family died last fall when their house was set on fire, apparently in retaliation for their efforts against neighborhood drug dealers. Palmer and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley presented the award.
The $1,500 that accompanies the Citizen's Service Award will go to Do You Know Where Your Children Are, an organization started by an East Baltimore couple to keep youths off the street at night.
There were 98 nominees from across the state for Police Officer of the Year.
Ridley, of the Annapolis Police Department, was chosen as Police Officer of the Year for community service. He organized a two-day youth soccer camp in a high-risk community and has improved relationships between police and residents in his district, said Sun reporter John Rivera, who helped present the awards yesterday.
Eckley of the Howard County Police Department, was named Police Officer of the Year for excellence in law enforcement. He has had an "amazing number" of arrests as a police dog unit officer, and participates in various community outreach programs, Rivera said. Eckley's police dog partner, Ben, also was named as an honoree.
Eckley and Ridley received $1,500 checks and an engraved piece of crystal.