Two officers honored

Award winners are from Baltimore City, Prince George's County


A Baltimore police officer who helped open a drug-counseling and employment-training center and a Prince George's County officer who came to the aid of a dying colleague were named winners yesterday of The Sun's Police Officer of the Year awards.

Officer Keith E. Harrison, 36, assigned to the Baltimore Police Department's community affairs section, received the award for community service for helping to open a center where residents talk with police officers and receive information on employment training, drug abuse treatment and literacy programs. Harrison has also taught Drug Awareness Resistance Education in elementary schools.

Lt. Col. Odis L. Sistrunk Jr., commanding officer of the department's community affairs section, described Harrison in a nomination letter as a leader "who works with numerous city agencies identifying solutions for gang-related problems, problem resolution, peer pressure, drugs" and other issues.

At yesterday's awards luncheon at the Sheraton Barcelo Hotel in Annapolis, Harrison told law enforcement officers and their families: "We need to help the city of Baltimore. We need to build it up. ... If it wasn't for us, the city and state wouldn't work like it does."

Cpl. Michael Eubanks, a 43-year-old Prince George's County police officer, was honored for excellence in law enforcement for putting himself in the line of fire to help his wounded partner during a shootout in Laurel last year. Eubanks lay next to Cpl. Steven F. Gaughan and propped up a shield to protect Gaughan from further injuries during a gunbattle after a traffic stop.

Gaughan died of his wounds.

Eubanks said he had "flashbacks" of the gunbattle as he approached the podium to accept his award. "I wish my partner was here too," he said in an interview.

Harrison and Eubanks, among 111 nominees for the awards, will each receive $1,500. It was the 49th annual police awards ceremony sponsored by the paper.

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