The duties of a law enforcement officer are varied and they are always expected to be carried out with legal and ethical consideration. Duties can be as routine as traffic patrol; however, sometimes officers are called upon to address types of situations that are referred to as “significantly above” their normal duties.
Recently, officers with the Laurel Police Department were honored with awards for “Exceptional Performance.” The recognition came as part of the annual police department awards banquet held at the Laurel Fire Hall.
Police Chief Danny Wright made the following presentations for “Exceptional Performance:”
- Cpl. Jared Haddock: On May 8, Cpl. Jared Haddock was working night shift conducting proactive patrol on U.S. 13. During the course of his patrol, he stopped a vehicle traveling southbound for a traffic violation. Once speaking to the operator of the vehicle he detected “an overwhelming odor of marijuana” coming from within the vehicle.
“Cpl. Haddock is an experienced officer and well versed in drug trafficking on our local roadways,” Wright said. Based on his training and experience, he had the driver exit the vehicle and engaged in a conversation with the driver. When asked if there was any marijuana inside of the vehicle, the driver stated, ‘There is not supposed to be any marijuana in the vehicle.’
Haddock searched the vehicle and located a shrink-wrapped package “shaped like and about the size of a basketball,” in the trunk of the vehicle. Further inspection of the package revealed 10 one gallon bags containing marijuana. The driver was taken into custody and charged with possession of marijuana. Wright said the man pled guilty to the charge and is currently serving a 15-year sentence.
“Cpl. Haddock’s ability to recognize and investigate criminal traffic stops is second to none,” Wright said. “Because of his willingness to go the extra step, the marijuana never made it to the streets. Congratulations to Cpl. Jared Haddock on a job well done.”
- Pfc. David Marvel: On July 18, Marvel responded to the Five Points Liquor store in reference to a check fraud complaint. Once contacting the clerk, he was told a subject had entered the store and cashed six checks totaling $700. It was later determined the checks were stolen. Marvel retrieved copies of the store’s surveillance video.
After reviewing the video, he made copies of the bank statements related to the victim’s account. The investigation ultimately led to several additional subjects being interviewed. Marvel was able to identify the suspect involved in the liquor store robbery. He also learned that the Delaware State Police were investigating other fraud incidents involving the same suspect and had active warrants for his arrest. He was arrested, charged and sentenced.
In a second recognized incident on Nov. 17, Marvel was conducting traffic enforcement in the area of West Sixth Street. He noticed a vehicle had failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and he stopped the vehicle, which had three occupants.
During the stop, Marvel learned one of the subjects was wanted and took him into custody. Wright said Marvel had developed enough probable cause during the traffic stop to search the vehicle. The search led to the recovery of a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun. The suspect was later charged and convicted of possessing a concealed deadly weapon. “Due to Pfc. Marvel’s willingness to take the extra steps, a handgun was removed from our streets thus possibly saving a life. Congratulations on a job well done,” Wright said.
- Cpl. Christopher Story: On Feb. 19, Cpl. Story was conducting proactive surveillance referencing the Little Creek Deli. The police department had been receiving complaints from both area citizens and the deli owner about loitering and the sale of drugs in and around the deli. During his surveillance, Story noticed a subject loitering in front of the store. He approached the person and they entered the store. He went inside and found the man sitting on cases on soft drinks talking on his telephone. Store advised the man that he was being charged with loitering. He made the arrest and while placing handcuffs on the man he began to resist. The man was taken under control, however, while being escorted back to the patrol car he began to struggle with Story and, once again, attempted to flee. The officer requested backup and was again able to bring the suspect under control.
During a search of the subject, Story located 195 bags of heroin. The man was charged with possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance. He was convicted and following a prison sentence, is now serving probation.
“Due to the efforts of Corporal Story in conducting proactive policing in a high crime area, 195 bags of heroin were taken off of the streets and out of the community. Congratulations for a job well done,” Wright said in making the presentation.
- Cpl. Melissa Carignan, Cpl. Jason Bauer, and Det. Sean Callaway: On May 10, Cpl. Bauer and Cpl. Carignan with the assistance of Delaware State Police Detective Sean Callaway, initiated a drug investigation involving a residence on West Sixth Street, which was known for drug distribution.
The investigation lasted approximately four months, with numerous drug purchases taking place from the residence. Wright said the investigation branched out to a neighboring house where drugs were also being sold. At the conclusion of the investigation after obtaining probable cause, two search and seizure warrants were executed on both residences.
A search discovered 98.1 grams of cocaine, 45.2 grams of crack cocaine, and 18.4 grams of heroin along with $1,081 in suspected drug money. Suspects were taken into custody. The primary target of the investigation received a bail of $150,000 and was found guilty and given a 25-year sentence, suspended for 18 months of intense supervision.
“This investigation shows great cooperation by multiple agencies over an extended period of time,” Wright said. “The dedication and cooperation led to the removal of dangerous drugs, the arrest of the drug source, and helping to keep our town a little safer.”
- Patrolman Shane Karlik, Cpl. Christopher Story, Cpl. Jason Bauer and Pfc. Ashley Little: On Sept. 20, while viewing Little Creek residential complex surveillance cameras, Karlik, along with Cpl. Christopher Story and Cpl. Jason Bauer, noticed four subjects attempting to enter into an apartment and responded to the complex.
They found the four subjects were attempting to force their way into an apartment. The officers learned the subjects were homeless and were aware the owner of the apartment was out of state. Police also discovered several burglary tools that were used in their attempt to enter the apartment. All four subjects were arrested.
“Due to the officers’ proactive policing tactics a burglary was prevented and four subjects were removed from the neighborhood before they could complete their crime,” Wright said.
In a second incident on Sep. 24, Karlik, Cpl. Story and Pfc. Ashley Little responded to a residence on Old Stage Road where it was reported an intoxicated man was threatening suicide. Police were told the man had fired two rounds from his gun into the air. When they arrived at the residence, the officers found the man sitting on the porch with a handgun in his lap.
“The officers took tactical positions to maximize their safety, and ordered the man several times to put the gun down,” Wright said. He said this went on for several minutes and at one point, the man put his hand on the gun.
After initially refusing the officers commands, the man eventually complied with the officers and he was taken into custody. “While he was in custody the man stated he wanted to end his life and no one would miss him,” Wright said.
The man was taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital for further evaluation.
“Due to the officers recognizing the situation they were facing and utilizing sound officer safety tactics, good communications and professional policing, this situation was resolved without the use of lethal intervention,” Wright said. “These officers are commended for resolving a situation that certainly had the makings of a possible different outcome.”
- Pfc. Michael Guerrieri: On Sept. 18, Pfc. Guerrieri was on patrol when he encountered a man who had six separate warrants out of Family Court for his arrest. These warrants were related to three counts of resisting arrest, two counts of criminal mischief, three counts of terroristic threatening of serious harm to a public official and two counts of disorderly conduct.
“The wanted subject is always very aggressive and physically violent towards law enforcement. On every occasion when officers were dispatched to complaints involving this subject, extra officers are sent,” Wright said.
Wright said Guerrieri used “tact and a calm demeanor” to defuse potential conflict and for the first time, “the subject did not fight with our officers.” The man was taken into custody, and transported to the Laurel Police Department, where he was ultimately released with a future court date.
- Cpl. Tyler Bryan: On March 31, Cpl. Bryan was completing an overtime assignment and when he returned to the police station, he noticed damage to three newer police vehicles that had been parked in the police department parking lot.
Bryan immediately notified the administrative staff and began reviewing the parking lot security camera. He observed at least one person jumping on the hood of one of the damaged police cars. “The video was poor at best and there was no way to identify a suspect,” Wright said. Bryan noticed several shoe prints on the hood and roof of the damaged police vehicles. He also observed several fingerprints and palm prints on the vehicles.
Bryan sent the prints to the Delaware State Police Bureau of Identification. Due to the quality of the lifted prints, a suspect was identified. Based on the information obtained during the course of this investigation Bryan was able to obtain felony level criminal mischief charges against the suspect. The suspect caused over $5,000 worth of damage to three Laurel Police cars. The subject was later arrested and taken into custody.
“Cpl. Bryan’s attention to details and dedication to his job led to the apprehension of someone who has no regard for others and their property,” Wright said.
- Cpl. Jason Bauer: On June 5, Cpl. Bauer was patrolling in the area of Webb Avenue, and West Sixth Street, when he observed a suspicious vehicle and ran a registration check. He discovered there was a court warrant connected to the vehicle and made a traffic stop.
With the backup of other officers, Bauer removed everyone from the vehicle. It was later learned that two out of the three occupants of the vehicle had warrants. When the vehicle was searched, marijuana was found. The driver was issued a citation and the other two occupants, who had court warrants, were taken to the Laurel Police station.
At the station, Bauer was attempting to search the men when he noticed one of them was attempting to conceal something in his pants. Bauer discovered the man had 94 bags of heroin. The man was charged with possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance with an aggravating factor. He was convicted and given an eight-year sentence that was suspended after serving 90 days.