TOWSON, MD – Slain Baltimore County Police Department officer Amy Caprio will be honored at this year’s fallen officers’ memorial service. She was also recently posthumously presented with a Valor Award.
Baltimore County Police Foundation Awards
On April 29, the Baltimore County Police Foundation honored 18 sworn officers and two civilians for exceptional service at its annual awards ceremony. The honorees included Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio of the Parkville Precinct for the selfless actions she displayed when she responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle in a Perry Hall community in May 2018. Officer Amy Caprio was posthumously awarded the Valor Award.
Master of Ceremonies Stan Stovall hosted the awards dinner at The Valley Mansion, located at 594 Cranbrook Road in Cockeysville. The event began at 6 p.m. for a meet and greet, dinner was at 7:30 p.m. and the awards presentation began at 8:15 p.m. County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Chief Terrence B. Sheridan and Stephen P. Somers, Foundation President, presented the awards. The benediction and invocation were offered by the Reverend Herbert Watson.
The following personnel received the 2019 Baltimore County Police Foundation Awards.
- Rookie of the Year – Officer Michael J. Flaherty, Precinct 12 Dundalk
As a young officer, Officer Flaherty shows uncommon calm and is willing to take a leadership role in stressful situations. Flaherty’s traffic stops led to the seizure of significant amounts of drugs, cash and weaponry. His dedication to the profession is truly admirable.
- Community Service – Officer Shawn “Spike” McElfish, Precinct 12 Dundalk
While Officer McElfish has spent his 23 years at the Dundalk Precinct chasing the bad guys, he is also responsible for bringing kids and cops together on the baseball diamond. Baseball camps were held to inspire trust in the system. Some of the children only met officers in bad situations; this was a chance for cops and kids to interact in a positive way. A former minor league baseball player for the Cleveland Indians, he used his experience as a baseball player to help kids learn skills such as leadership. His success with the baseball clinics has led to football camps in the fall.
- Crime Prevention – Lieutenant John L. Rossbach (Ret.), Precinct 1 Wilkens
Lieutenant Rossbach spent 33 years serving the people of Baltimore County. Over that time, his attention to the business community has made doing business in the Arbutus area a safer place for employees and customers. Lt. Rossbach knew that most of the incidents happened in the late night hours and adjusted his work schedule to accommodate it and led his officers in the fight to make it a safe place for all.
- Distinguished Contribution to the Profession – Deborah Street and Kathy Wallace, Office of the Chief
Debbie Street and Kathy Wallace have a combined 60 years of service to the department. In that time, people within the department learned they were the “go to” people for information. Their pleasant, professional demeanor and knowledge of the workings of the Chief’s Office make it clear why they continue to be an integral part of the department. One of their biggest assignments is planning the annual Police Foundation Awards Dinner. It runs smoothly every year due to their attention to detail. There are many pieces to the puzzle to make this event-of-the-year appear seamless. Their hard work has made the awards ceremony grow in the years since its inception. Debbie Street and Kathy Wallace more than deserve the Distinguished Contribution to the Profession Award.
- Exceptional Performance – Officer Rodney Kenion II, Precinct 8 Parkville
Officer Rodney Kenion started with the department in 2002 and has proven to be a great asset. In one case, while investigating a burglary in which the suspect was establishing residency in a vacant house, Kenion spoke to the owner of the property. He was told the man was living in the house without permission. Kenion discovered the “tenant” was selling drugs from the location. The man was arrested and Kenion obtained a warrant to search the house. The search produced cash, drugs and two handguns. Kenion’s follow up brought the case to a successful conclusion. One investigation led to the closing of two cases.
- Exceptional Group Performance – Precinct 12 Dundalk – Investigative Services Team: Lieutenant Christopher P. Morgan, Sergeant Kimberly A. DeFelice, Corporal Christopher P. Mazan, Detective Michael J. Copenhaver, Detective David L. Dillard, Detective Matthew H. Horney, Detective Justin C. Serio, Detective Anthony Shelton Jr., Detective Jason M. Stricklin, Officer Shawn “Spike” McElfish, and Officer Gary G. Huth
The Investigative Services Team, IST, takes on various types of cases. In 2018, IST investigated 168 cases, made 238 arrests and cleared 147 cases. Compared to 2017, $50,000 more in property was recovered, 13 more firearms were recovered, 32 more search warrants were executed, and 25 more arrest warrants were obtained. The cases IST investigated involved several crime trends and violent offenses. To achieve their goal of keeping the streets safe, the detectives used various tactics and methods to apprehend the offenders. In one case, the team solved three armed street robberies that happened within a half hour of each other – one involving a shot being fired at a victim, one involving an armed assault, and one involving a kidnapping case in which the victim was struck by the suspect with a military-style rifle. Though the cases were complicated, IST’s esprit de corps brought a successful outcome to all three cases.
- Valor – Officer Bishop A. Elder, Precinct 4 Pikesville and Officer Myles T. Hilliard, Precinct 9 White Marsh
On July 22, 2018, Officers Elder and Hilliard responded to a disturbance at an apartment in Pikesville. A caller told them a family member was drunk and punching holes in the walls and he was also fighting with other family members. The officers went up the stairwell, Hilliard then Elder, and when they reached the second floor, the suspect opened the door and went after Hilliard. The suspect was armed with a large kitchen knife and did not respond to the officer’s commands to stop. When he pushed Hilliard in the chest, Hilliard took a step back, then Elder pushed the suspect against the wall. This altercation continued as officers kept giving verbal commands and the suspect continued to resist arrest. The suspect also continued swinging the knife wildly in the air. Finally, officers contained the suspect and arrested him. No one was seriously injured except for the laceration on Elder’s arm. Their courage and bravery most probably saved the lives of family and others.
- Valor – Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio, Precinct 8 Parkville
Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio graduated from the police academy in 2014. Early on she was seen as a good officer and leadership material. While at Precinct 11 Essex, she was selected to be a Field Training Officer, making her responsible for the training and mentoring of new recruits. She transferred to the Parkville Precinct in 2017 with the determination to increase her knowledge of the communities within Baltimore County.
On May 21, 2018, Officer Caprio responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle in a Perry Hall community within the precinct. Another call confirmed that a burglary was taking place and four unknown suspects associated with the stolen Jeep Wrangler were involved. Officer Caprio found the Jeep and followed it into the cul-de-sac. When she arrived, she exited her car with her weapon drawn, then ordered the suspect out of the Jeep. The suspect appeared to be exiting the vehicle per her orders. As she approached, the suspect jumped back into the vehicle and aimed the car at the officer. Officer Caprio fired one shot into the vehicle in an attempt to stop him. The driver accelerated toward the officer, fatally striking her.
Officer Caprio was killed in the line-of-duty. She was presented the Valor Award for her courage and selfless actions during this incident.
The awards program began in 1980 as a way to recognize the Police Department employees for outstanding performance and to strengthen the relationship between the business community and the Department. The Baltimore County Police Foundation contributes resources, including seed money and in-kind services, for the development of new projects.
All members of the department, both professional staff and sworn, are eligible for nomination.
Annual Memorial Service
A memorial service to honor Baltimore County police officers who died while performing their duties will take place on Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m. The service will take place at Patriot Plaza, 401 Bosley Avenue, Towson 21204.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan, government dignitaries and the families of the fallen will attend the service.
Ten wreaths will be placed at the memorial by the Police Department Honor Guard. The ten wreaths are in memory of the ten fallen officers.
This year the tenth wreath in honor of Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio will be placed by the officer’s family.
The names of officers who died and who will be remembered for their service and dedication are:
Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio
On May 21, 2018, Officer Amy Sorrells Caprio, 29, responded to a call for a suspicious vehicle with multiple suspicious subjects walking around homes on Linwen Way in Precinct 8/Parkville. When she arrived and located the vehicle, she got out of her police car and ordered the driver to exit the vehicle. Instead, the driver accelerated and fatally struck Officer Caprio. She was nearly a four-year veteran of the Department and was married. Officer Caprio is the first female line-of-duty death in the Department’s history.
Officer Jason Schneider
On August 28, 2013, Tactical Officer Jason Schneider was shot while serving a warrant in Precinct 1/Wilkens. An investigation into an August 19 shooting on Winters Lane led detectives to a home on Roberts Avenue. Tactical Officer Schneider was shot after an exchange of gunfire with a subject inside the Roberts Avenue home. He was transferred to Shock Trauma, where he later died. Officer Schneider was 36 years old.
Lieutenant Michael Howe
Lieutenant Michael Howe died on August 11, 2008 following a massive stroke. On August 10, 2008, Lieutenant Howe was with his unit at the scene of a murder-suicide in Precinct 4/Pikesville. When Lieutenant Howe returned home after the incident, he collapsed. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he died the next afternoon.
Sergeant Mark Parry
Sergeant Mark Parry died on January 21, 2002 from injuries sustained in a traffic crash. On December 27, 2001, while on routine patrol in Towson, Sergeant Parry’s unmarked police car was hit by a drunk driver. The driver fled the scene and was arrested a short distance later.
Officer John Stem
Officer John Stem died on October 19, 2000 of complications of paraplegia caused by a line-of-duty gunshot wound he suffered in July 1977. Officer Charles Huckeba was fatally wounded during the same incident in Precinct 1/Wilkens. Officers Stem and Huckeba and other officers were trying to subdue an agitated, armed, 19-year-old man who barricaded himself in his family’s home.
Sergeant Bruce Prothero
On February 7, 2000, Sergeant Bruce Prothero was shot and killed during an armed robbery on Reisterstown Road. Four men robbed the jewelry store where the married father of five worked part time as a security guard. Sergeant Prothero followed the armed robbers out of the store and was shot by one of the men. He died an hour later at a local hospital.
Officer Robert Zimmerman
On November 5, 1986, Officer Robert Zimmerman was on foot patrol on Edmondson Avenue in Precinct 1/Wilkens when he was struck in traffic and critically injured. The 41-year-old officer died on November 14, 1986 as a result of his injuries.
Corporal Samuel Snyder
In August of 1983, Corporal Samuel Snyder, a 30-year veteran of the department, was shot by a mentally ill subject while responding to a call for assistance from fellow officers in Towson. Officer Snyder died on August 23, 1983 from his wounds.
Officer Charles Huckeba
Officer Charles Huckeba was shot and killed on July 6, 1977 in Precinct 1/Wilkens as police attempted to talk an armed, drug-abusing, barricaded youth into surrendering. Officer John Stem was also injured during this incident. Officer Stem succumbed to his injuries 23 years later on October 19, 2000.
Officer Edward Kuznar
On December 9, 1969, Officer Edward Kuznar died as a result of a traffic accident. While on traffic patrol near Kingsville, Kuznar was hit head-on by a driver who crossed the center line and crashed into his police car. Both the officer and the driver were killed.
The Baltimore County Police Department Memorial consists of a carved replica of the department badge, flanked by two memorial tablets engraved with the names of those who have died in the line-of-duty since the department was established in 1874.
It bears the inscription:
In lasting memory of those officers and families who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.