ATTORNEY'S OFFICE OF WEST VIRGINIA: Law enforcement and other community leaders honored by U.S. Attorney at awards ceremony

By Press release submission | May 28, 2019

U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Northern West Virginia issued the following announcement on May 24.

Five law enforcement representatives and one community leader were recognized for their outstanding work in the greater Martinsburg area.

United States Attorney Bill Powell recognized the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, Martinsburg Police Chief Maury Richards, three Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputies, and Berkeley County Recovery Resource Center Coordinator Kevin Knowles with U.S. Attorney Awards for their contributions to create safer communities.

“While there are so many individual who do so much for our community, it is a great honor to be able to make these awards to this distinguished group of recipients. They have all gone above and beyond in their particular fields and represent the very best of us. I raised my family and live in this community and I know our community is better because of these honorees,” said Powell.

The Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force was recognized for its work in bringing five indictments that included 13 defendants, two of whom were MS-13 gang members, to fruition. Operation Triton, an OCDEFT investigation, seized nearly 13 kilos of cocaine, more than $115,000 in cash, and 11 firearms. These cases were a product of a drug investigation that began in 2016 with over two dozen cocaine buys from Miguel Cruz-Polanco, a citizen of El Salvador, and confirmed member of MS-13.

Cpl. Trampus Boyles and Sgt. Theodore Snyder, both with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, made significant investigative contributions to this case and many other opioid-related cases in the Eastern Panhandle. They are dedicated and unwavering deputies fighting the surge of drugs in Berkeley County and beyond, and recognized individually.

Chief Maury Richards of the Martinsburg Police Department was honored for his dedication to changing the state of the opioid epidemic in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Chief Richards spent 24 years with the Chicago Police Department, but his biggest contribution to law enforcement would come with the formation of the Martinsburg Initiative, a comprehensive and innovative approach to the drug epidemic. The initiative is a partnership between the Martinsburg Police Department and Berkeley County Schools that is focusing on at-risk children with a history of childhood trauma to help build resiliency and provide for a much brighter, drug-free future.

Deputy Tyler Dopson, with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, was recognized for his heroism and quick actions to save the life of a 4-year-old shooting victim in Martinsburg in March of 2018. Deputy Dopson heard the call come over the radio and knew that he had chest wound seals in his cruiser that could help. He arrived on scene and immediately applied two of the seals to both the front and the back of the child’s wound. Based on the investigation performed by the Martinsburg City Police, it was determined the four-year-old girl was shot in the chest with a 9mm pistol. In the days following the incident, the officers were informed by medics that the young girl may "fully recover" from her injuries, due to the usage of the chest wound seals.

Kevin Knowles, the coordinator for the Berkeley County Recovery Resource Center, is working diligently every day to ensure that Berkeley County, the county in the Northern District of West Virginia with the most overdoses last year, can change its own course. Knowles has worked tirelessly over the past three years to develop partnerships with treatment centers, law enforcement, businesses and community leaders to create and maintain resources for those who are affected by the drug epidemic. Not only is he working to provide solutions for addicts and their families, he is also working to create educational partnerships for prevention in the schools, parents, and community groups.

The ceremony was held in Chief U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh’s courtroom and included remarks from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell and the presence of many local, state and federal law enforcement leaders from throughout West Virginia.

Other ceremonies are planned in Wheeling and Clarksburg to honor more recipients of the U.S. Attorney Awards.

Original source can be found here.

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