City officer, state trooper are honored for achievements in law enforcement

The Sun has sponsored annual event for 47 years

April 09, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer who made 247 arrests last year and a state trooper who spent his own money to sponsor toy and food drives received top honors yesterday at The Sun's 47th annual Police Officer of the Year awards ceremony.

Ninety-two officers statewide were nominated for the awards, which were presented at a luncheon in Annapolis.

Officer Angelo "Vince" Giardina, a five-year veteran in the Baltimore Police Department, led the Mobile Enforcement Team in arrests last year. The approximately 40 officers in the team, which was then a part of the department's tactical division, swarmed largely to areas beset by drugs and homicides and made as many arrests as possible.

Giardina arrested suspects on a variety of charges, including drug and traffic offenses. He also was credited with recovering 17 firearms.

"I've had times he comes into work and says he made an arrest on the way to work," said Sgt. John Taylor, his supervisor.

Giardina's team has since been renamed as the crime suppression unit and is part of the organized crime division.

"This is the best job in the world," the 29-year-old told the gathering yesterday.

Tfc. Dean C. Jones of the state police received the police officer of 2003 award for community service in recognition of his voluntarism outside work. Jones, 52, is a 26-year veteran of the state police and is assigned to the extradition unit of the criminal investigation division in Columbia, he said.

Each year, the Woodlawn resident calls Baltimore County's social services department and asks for the name of a needy family. He buys turkeys and canned vegetables for the family's Christmas meal and boxes of food for after the holiday. He also brings them toys, such as mini-ovens, compact disc players and dolls.

Last year, the social services department sent him the name of two families and asked him to select.

"I couldn't pick one," he said.

So he supplied two families. And for the first time since he started his tradition about seven years ago, he solicited help from the troopers in his unit. He commonly spends as much as $500 on a family, he said.

"I get the kids what they want," he said.

The former Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer also takes vacation time to make motivational speeches at churches, schools and state juvenile detention facilities, he said.

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele was the keynote speaker at the event, thanking the winners and the dozens of police officers nominated for the awards by their departments for dedication to public service. Both winners received $1,500 checks and an engraved crystal piece.

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