Trooper of the year honored

Officer led pig farm investigation, was wounded during the arrest of a suspect

February 04, 2007|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,Sun Reporter

A Maryland State Police trooper who was critically wounded while trying to arrest a suspect almost two months ago has been named Trooper of the Year for Carroll County.

Tfc. Eric D. Workman, 36, who received the award at the state police Westminster barracks, was one of four troopers recognized for their work.

"Eric, we are so lucky to have you among us today," said Lt. Dean Richardson, the barracks' commander, as he described Workman's performance throughout 2006. "You truly [epitomize] the image of the Maryland State Police ... You make all of us from the Westminster barracks so proud to serve with you."

Richardson cited several of the trooper's accomplishments over the past year, including the 270 warrants he served, contributing to the Westminster barracks' 870 -- the highest number of warrants served by a state police barracks for the year, Richardson said.

Workman also was the primary investigator in a case dealing with a 112-acre Marston farm and five pigs that tested positive for trichinosis, a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasitic worm.

The trooper received a team award last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for his and others' investigative work involving the farm, said Sue duPont, a department spokeswoman.

Workman's supervisor, Detective Sgt. Chuck Moore, said he nominated the trooper because of his record as "an outstanding investigator."

Workman also regularly looks for ways to "make our jobs easier here," Moore said, such as applying for a grant that garnered the barracks equipment that enhances surveillance videos -- something for which the barracks previously relied on other counties.

The trooper's most recent case, which involved a Carroll County home invasion on Dec. 7, Moore added, was an example of his skills as an investigator.

Days after the incident, Workman and a fugitive task force tried to arrest a suspect, Steven T. Jones, who was in an upstairs room of a Baltimore County home, according to state police. Jones came out and began shooting at the police with a handgun as they climbed the stairs, state police said. Workman was hit and critically injured.

Police returned fire and struck Jones, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to state police.

Workman was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center and was released a week later. He is scheduled to return to work March 1, he said.

"I am doing well," Workman said after receiving his award. "I feel a little stronger, a little better each day."

He has spent the past weeks "healing and recuperating" and going through rehabilitation, he said, adding that he was surprised at how fast he has recovered.

Regarding his award, Workman said, "It is a true honor. It really is."

Along with Workman, Cpl. David Kitzinger was named the barracks' noncommissioned officer of the year, and Troopers Jason Stevens and Michael Winkelspecht, who were also nominated for trooper of the year, received Commander's Awards.

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