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Natural Resources Police Awards Officers for Exceptional Service

Conservation Officers Cited for Going Beyond the Call of Duty

Photo of three police officers and a dog

Col. Adrian Baker (left) and Lt. Col. Robert Kersey (right) presented a Superintendent’s Commendation to Sgt. Benjamin Lillard, along with his partner K-9 Rider. Lillard also received the Award of Merit and was named Maryland Park Service Officer of the Year.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police held its annual award ceremony at Sandy Point State Park Oct. 2 to recognize contributions to conservation law enforcement made by officers in the year 2020. During a year that presented many challenges and difficulties, NRP officers remained steadfast and more committed than ever to protect their community, wildlife, and natural resources. 

The ceremony began with the official swearing-in of Deputy Superintendent Lt. Col. Robert Kersey, who was appointed in June. NRP Superintendent Col. Adrian Baker and Kersey then presented more than 100 awards to several officers during the ceremony, which was hosted by Captain Melissa Scarborough. 

”Last year presented its challenges, however our officers continued to protect Maryland’s residents and visitors on public and private lands and waterways, some even putting their lives on the line,” Col. Baker said. “I’m very grateful to have these hardworking and dedicated men and women that went above and beyond.” 

Individual officers and staff that were honored are:

Officer First Class Brian Heckman received the Medal of Valor, the agency’s highest award, for assisting with a high-risk arrest in January. Heckman helped Harford County sheriff’s deputies after hearing a call for a suicidal subject. While heading toward the scene, Heckman heard gunshots but remained undeterred. When he arrived, he immediately instructed nearby citizens to shelter in place and assisted responding officers with maintaining a perimeter to ensure the safety of all involved. Fortunately, the hostile incident came to a safe end, and the suspect was taken into custody.

Corporal David Wilkinson, assigned to the Lower Eastern Shore, was named the 2020 Officer of the Year for his rigorous pursuit in pursuing violators of Maryland’s wildlife laws. 

Officer First Class Joseph Markiewicz, who patrols the Central Region, was selected as the Conservation Officer of the Year. He was also awarded the Fishing and Boating Services Officer of the Year award. 

Officer First Class Andrew Cummins of the Southern Region was honored as Boating Safety Officer of the Year. 

Administrative Officer Shakira Johnson was awarded the Support Services/Special Services Officer of the Year award for her commitment and dedication. Last year, when the NRP communications center was understaffed, Johnson stepped in to help while also attending to her own duties. 

Sergeant Benjamin Lillard, K-9 Handler and supervisor in the Central Region, was awarded the Superintendent’s Commendation, an Award of Merit, and was named Maryland Park Service Officer of the Year. 

Officer First Class Brian Chillas was awarded the Superintendent’s Commendation. 

Corporal Ronald Cheezum, stationed in the Upper Eastern Region, was awarded the Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year award for proactive enforcement efforts. 

Awards of Merit were presented to:
Ofc. Mark Barger
Ofc. Andrew Blickenstaff
Ofc. Nathan Bradley
Ofc. David Breakall
Ofc. John Bromley
Ofc. David Brown
Ofc. Thomas Burt
Ofc. Zachary Dix
Ofc. Andrew Cummins
Ofc. Cody Linton
Ofc. Jason Haynes
Ofc. Brain Hunt
Ofc. Timothy Hawkins
Ofc. Charles McCauley
Ofc. Jeremy Miller
Ofc. Bradly Mills
Ofc. Nathaniel Minnick
Ofc. Jeremy Ryan

Ofc. Luke Santerre
Ofc. Cody Thorne
Ofc. Charles Tyler
Ofc. Kevin White
Cpl. Laura Albrecht
Cpl. Vincent Artrip
Cpl. Brad Bunting
Cpl. Kristen Clagett

Cpl. Jacob Coxon
Cpl. Timothy Fabian
Cpl. John McNamara
Cpl. Christopher Neville 
Cpl. James Robinson

Cpl. Christopher Warden
Cpl. David Wilkinson
Sgt. Hubert Brohawn
Sgt. William Davis  
Sgt. Brandon Garvey

Sgt. Bradley Lowe   

The Superintendent Letter of Appreciation was awarded to
Ofc. John Butts
Ofc. Robert Duvall
Ofc. Brain Hunt
Ofc. Christopher Severa
Ofc. James Sharpe
Ofc. Ivan Wade
Ofc. Adam Willey
Cpl. Cory Armes
Cpl. Jacob Coxon
Cpl. Scott Davis
Cpl. Andrew Felsecker
Cpl. Michael Godack
Cpl. Bernard Haberkam
Cpl. Bryan Hughes

Cpl. Ethan Leonard
Cpl. James Robinson
Sgt. John Buchanan
Sgt. Bradley Bunting
Sgt. John Chatham

Sgt. Ronald Collier
Sgt. Maureen Ferguson
Sgt. Lindsey Markert
Sgt. April Sharpeta

Lt. James Johnson
Former Sgt. Brandon Garvey
Cpl. Anthony Milburn (retired)
Kyle West

Unit Citations were given to
Ofc. Aaron Cook
Ofc. Anthony Pecoriello
Ofc. Andrew Shifflett

Ofc. David Tosches
Ofc. Ronald Wines
Cpl. Cory Armes
Cpl. Raymond Griggs
Cpl. Amelia Hunt
Cpl. Robert Kapp
Cpl. Raymond Mauerer
Cpl. Stephen Ward

Cpl. Sean Wiles
Sgt. Danielle Brown
Sgt. Murray Hunt
Sgt. Greg Jilek
Sgt. Robert Martin
Sgt. Angie Shirley
Sgt. Elizabeth Tyler
Lt. Diane Roschli
John Anderson
Michael Barr
Julie Brown(Retired)
Yvette Campbell
David Carter
Beth Coleman
Trilisa Collier
Marsha Dicus
Anthony Furno
August Gray
Doug Iman
Denise Jaskulski
Shakira Johnson
Yulonda Johnson
Delma Leto
Scott Lord
Leonard Mathesius
Rashid McMillan
Darlene Melton
Philip Norman
Thomas Oertly
Tiffaney Palmatary
Victoria Price
Lisa Robinson
Tamika Rose
Kaitlin Rossignuolo
Donna Seymour
Patrick Shockney Smith
Kevin Thomas
Malaysia Wallace
Kayla Watson
James Wellman
Kyle West
Mike Wilkinson
Stacy Williams

As family and friends watched, each officer accepted their award and was praised for their high achievement and going beyond the call of duty to serve. 

Photos from the ceremony area available on the DNR website.