48th Police Officer of the Year awards presented by The Sun

Men from Howard, Baltimore counties honored for their work

Metro

News from around the Baltimore region

April 09, 2005|By Andrew G. Sherwood | Andrew G. Sherwood,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County's Michael J. Schmitz and Howard County's Michael R. Ensko Jr. received The Sun's 2005 Police Officer of the Year award yesterday at the Sheraton Barcelo Hotel in Annapolis.

This year marked the 48th time The Sun recognized officers in law enforcement and community service.

Nominations are solicited from all of Maryland's law enforcement agencies and must be submitted by a commanding officer, and in most cases approved by that agency's director and a review board.

Schmitz, who won the award in the Community Service category, established "Shop with a Cop" in Baltimore County. The program pairs an underprivileged child with a police officer to go Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart.

He built a network with companies such as Outback Steakhouse to raise money for the program, with nearly 100 children participating each year.

The Law Enforcement award was given to Ensko. Last year, he won the "Looking Beyond the License Plate" award, for a traffic stop that resulted in the arrest of two fugitives, one wanted for murder. His tenacity is reflected in 106 arrests, 1,176 business checks and 591 service calls.

The 107 nominees, their spouses and commanding officers were invited to the annual luncheon, where Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat, and The Sun's general manager and senior vice president, John Patinella, presented the officers in each category with a $1,500 award and a crystal vase.

Sarbanes delivered the keynote address, thanking the officers for contributions to their communities and to Maryland.

Sarbanes talked about the high premium the ancient Greeks placed on involvement in the life of their communities. In Athens, he said, "those who lived an entirely private life were falling short. They were called idiotes, from which our word `idiot' is derived today.

"And I can confidently say that what I see with this award, none of you would fall into that category."

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