On her first day on the job as a Montgomery County police officer, Britta K. Logerquist responded to the intersection of Routes 118 and 270, where a man was threatening to jump from the overpass into oncoming traffic.
"I was thinking: 'Oh my God, this guy is going to jump,' " Logerquist, a Lifesaving Award recipient, recalled last week at the Montgomery County police awards ceremony, held at the Rockville campus of the University of Maryland. "We were in 100-degree heat, and the man cried the whole time."
Logerquist and her training partner, Officer Robin A. Hawkins, who also received an award, eventually were able to convince the man, who was hanging on from the outer side of the overpass, to step back to safety. It took skill, tenacity and the right degree of coaxing. They got the job done, their supervisors said, and very likely both saved a life and prevented what could have been a messy accident.
It was the kind of happy ending to a life-and-death situation for which police officers seldom get credit, senior police officials said.
"A lot of the things you see on TV about the police are always bad," said Capt. Betsy L. Davis, who coordinated the ceremony at which more than 100 department employees were lauded for individual accomplishments and outstanding teamwork. "It's nice to be recognized. It keeps you motivated."
Police employees who received awards were praised by Chief J. Thomas Manger and other high-ranking department officials.
"One of the nicest things I get to do as chief is sign these awards," Manger told the audience, which included relatives and friends of the honored officers. "We have top-notch employees at the Montgomery County Police Department."
As supervisors read brief narratives explaining each accomplishment, several officers smiled shyly as they walked up to the stage to accept their awards. "Every officer here today will tell you they were just doing their job," Davis said, noting many officers' resistance to being in the limelight.
Other Lifesaving Awards went to: Officers Jeffrey M. Brewer, Gregory A. Chmiel, Nicholas M. Picerno, David M. Magnelli, Brandon E. Pellecchia, George M. Witherington, Michael S. Yu, Mark T. Kopp, Gabriel J. Stone, Sandra H. Moss, James D. Reed, Ira L. Schoem and Romand B. Schmuck; Cpl. Eric J. Harrell; and Sgt. Cathleen H. Lapsley.
The Chief's Award was given to Sgt. Mitchell E. Hollis, of the department's 3rd District, which covers Silver Spring. Hollis, a 28-year veteran, was honored for aggressively tackling commercial burglaries and auto thefts and for serving as a role model for rookie officers.
Officers Arnold L. Aubrey and Floyd Russell Smith III, who recently served in the armed forces, received National Defense Awards.
Unit Citations were awarded to the department's Robbery Section and Major Crimes Division, the Repeat Offenders Section, special assignment teams at District Stations 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and officers that belong to the 4th District's Shift 8.