Police officer awarded Medal of Honor

Department honors Trodden for rescuing an injured colleague held by a suspect

April 13, 2007|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,sun reporter

Howard County police this week awarded Officer Raymond Trodden the department's highest honor for shooting a suspect as he dragged another officer from a sport utility vehicle for several hundred feet.

The injured officer, Pfc. Daniel Besseck, who suffered a herniated disk in his neck and lower back and nerve damage in the July 2006 confrontation, received the Purple Heart during the Police Department's annual awards ceremony Wednesday in the County Council chambers in Ellicott City.

"He was trying to kill me," Besseck said during a video, in which he and Trodden described their efforts to arrest Robert Michael Brown of Frederick, who police said was naked from the waist down and had a crack pipe in his Hyundai SUV.

Besseck thanked the department for its support during his recuperation. Brown survived the gunshot wound and is scheduled for trial in Howard County Circuit Court in June.

Trodden earned the Medal of Honor, given for "the highest level of courage" in life-threatening situations.

Police Officer David Aronovic received the first-year service award, most notably for discovering more than 430 pounds of marijuana in the back of a Jeep Cherokee after pulling over a driver in June 2006 for having a suspended vehicle registration.

During his first eight months on the job, Aronovic made 69 arrests.

Pfc. Andrew Lloyd received the Police Officer of the Year award for "impressively consistent" results month after month, according to the write-up in the event's program. Lloyd, who grew up in Laurel and lives in Carroll County, received 18 memorandums of recognition during 2006.

"Heroism is a theme you'll hear tonight," Police Chief William J. McMahon said during his opening remarks. "But going about doing your job day-in and day-out without fanfare in newspaper publications is equally heroic."

Michael Baxter earned top honors among the auxiliary force, composed of volunteers who direct traffic, mark abandoned cars for towing and assist stranded motorists, among other duties.

The department recognized Baxter for creating a Survival Spanish for Auxiliary Officers guide.

"We needed some phrases specifically tailored to auxiliary officers, such as information about towing, that officers normally wouldn't need," he said.

Other top honorees included: Kenneth Drummond, Explorer of the Year; Cindy Saver, Animal Control Volunteer of the Year; Maureen Meister, Telecommunicator of the Year; Corp. Alan Shaffer, Outstanding Community Service Award; and Christopher McNamara, Civilian Employee of the Year.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

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