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Posted at 2:18 PM ET, 02/18/2011

D.C. police celebrate annual awards

By Clarence Williams

It's award season for filmmakers, actors, musicians and... police officers.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier played emcee Thursday night as she doled out dozens of awards to officers, civilians and partners, during the Metropolitan Police Department's 11th Annual Awards Ceremony. The event was dedicated to 14 officers, who died in 2009 and 2010, and their families, Lanier said.

Hundreds of officers, government employees and their family members crowded Elstad Auditorium for more than two hours for what Lanier said was "another record year for the Metropolitan Police Department." Several citizens and law enforcement or government agencies received awards for partnering with police to help shutter problem properties, organizing vigils and even saving lives.

"We wanted to make sure we honored the residents and officers who made it all happen," Lanier said. "Really we have a lot of good partners out here that make our success."

Construction workers Pat McGeady and Bill Richardson were honored with Chief of Police Special Awards for helping to save the life of a woman whose SUV crashed in the Anacostia River in August. The pair saw the vehicle speed out of control and careen into the water. They found the driver unconscious, so they broke a window. They helped arriving police officers complete the rescue, police said.

One of the common themes of the night: Honored officers made many arrests. Mayor Vincent C. Gray offered his gratitude and said that the reduction in homicides and other crimes has helped the city's reputation and contributed to its growth.

"I wish I could have all the 600,000 residents be able to see the outstanding job the people that put their lives on the line every day in order to keep us safe," Gray said. "Let me thank you on behalf of everyone in this city."

The 6th Police District earned the award as the top performing patrol area, and its leader Cmdr. Robert Contee received the Commander of the Year award. He was greeted with raucous applause, and a banner unfurled by several of his officers.

Contee is a popular figure in Ward 7 neighborhoods, and is known by his officers as a down-to-earth leader.

The 6th District reduced crime by 4 percent in 2010, from the previous year, logged more than 7,500 arrests, recovered 167 guns and was praised for lowering overtime pay, sick leave usage and equipment damage by 47 percent, officials said.

Alfred Durham won Assistant Chief of the Year, and was praised for attention to detail, a high work ethic and helping the department become more efficient.

The 1st Police District, led by Cmdr. David Kamperin, had an overall crime reduction of 14 percent, including a 12 percent reduction in violent crimes.That was the best in the city. The 1st District also lowered robberies by 15 percent, despite high-profile sprees across Capitol Hill late last year, officials said.

Officer Jason Bagshaw of the 5th District Auto Theft Unit earned Officer of the Year honors, as he made 232 arrests for car theft, drugs and guns. His reward from Lanier was an oversized silver key, signifying the take-home police car that comes with the prize.

"Do not wreck that car, Bagshaw," Lanier quipped on stage.

Sgt. Anthony Greene, of the 7th District, has earned a reputation as a get-things-done person in neighborhoods across far Southeast Washington. Greene, who won Sergeant of the Year, runs the Crime Suppression Team, a group of uniformed officers deployed to hot spots across the 7th District, combating drug dealing, robberies and violent crimes.

"Nobody works as hard as this guy," said 7th District Cmdr. Joel Maupin.

Detective Milton Norris earned the Homicide Detective of the Year, achieving a 300 percent clearance rate (according to FBI Uniformed Crime Reports standards), by closing five cases in 2010, which included slayings from 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Norris is a member of one of the top performing homicide squads in the unit, which are supervised by Lt. Ozetta Posey, whom the Post profiled Her two squads finished 2010 with the highest closure percentages (Squad 6 at 93 percent and Squad 1 at 87 percent).

Detective of the Year was shared by Detective Kenneth "Todd" Williams for his work on the Chandra Levy murder investigation that ended with the conviction of Ingmar Guandique on first degree murder charges. He also received an oversized key for a year's use of a take home vehicle.

Sgt. Dale Sutherland and Inspector Brian Bray, of the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, were honored for their work in a high profile storefront operation, which seized 125 guns, including more than two dozen assault rifles, and drugs valued at more than $1 million in an investigation also profiled by The Post.

Sutherland worked undercover on that case, and also another case in which alleged Mexican drug cartel members were arrested in a sweep across three states, as they attempted to set up a meth marketplace in the city .

"If it wasn't for Brian, I don't know that I would have let these operations go through," Lanier said. "I'm very confident in his abilities as a leader and ability to keep his people safe."

Many others earned honors. The full program of the event can be found here.

By Clarence Williams  | February 18, 2011; 2:18 PM ET
Categories:  Cathy L. Lanier, Chandra Levy, Clarence Williams, Heroes, Narcotics, The District  
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May I add my own appreciation for, and acknowledgement of, DC's police. There are few other jobs that require such bravery, diplomacy and skill. My congrats to those who were awarded, as well as to their compatriots who are alongside every day.

Posted by: mac4700 | February 18, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

May I add my own appreciation for, and acknowledgement of, DC's police. There are few other jobs that require such bravery, diplomacy and skill. My congrats to those who were awarded, as well as to their compatriots who are alongside every day.

Posted by: mac4700 | February 18, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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