Three North Point officers earn Silver Stars
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 08:46

Edgemere’s Zellers receives commendation

by Bill Gates

    Responding to a call of a home invasion that involved hostages, North Point Precinct officers Monica Steinacker and Matthew Wazlavek found themselves confronting a man armed with a large semi-automatic weapon.
    The subsequent actions of officers Steinacker and Wazlavek earned each of them the second-highest Baltimore County Police Department award.
    Steinacker and Wazlavek, along with fellow Precinct 12 officer David Dillard, received Silver Stars last week during an awards ceremony at the conference center in Oregon Ridge Park.

    Officer Michael Zellers, an Edgemere resident who is assigned to the Essex Precinct, received a commendation during the Nov. 28 ceremony.
    The Silver Star recognizes service where valor, intelligence and bravery are demonstrated over and above that normally demanded and expected of police officers.
    A commendation, the third-highest departmental award, is given to an officer who displays courage and devotion above that normally required; or who displays intelligence during unusual circumstances; or who demonstrates initiative in solving a crime or arrests an armed and dangerous person under certain circumstances.
    “The job as a police officer requires you to react to life-and-death situations in a rapid fashion,” North Point Precinct commander Capt. Jan Brown said. “These officers not only did that in an exceptional manner, but also two of them were put in a position to require them to discharge their service firearm to defend the life of themselves or the life of a fellow officer.”
    When Steinacker (a 2001 graduate of Dundalk High) and Wazlavek responded to the home invasion on Dec. 19, they approached the rear of the house through an alley as other officers went to the front.
    Seeing a man walking in the back yard of the house, the two officers confronted the subject and ordered him to stop and show his hands.
    Instead, the man attempted to re-enter the house, then pointed a gun at officer Wazlavek as they approached.
    Wazlavek shot the man, incapacitating him, and Steinacker placed him under arrest.
    Officer Dillard responded to the call of a suicidal subject on Sept. 25, 2011.
    Upon arrival with another officer, Dillard learned the subject was attempting to leave the residence and was armed with a knife.
    The man, with a knife in each hand, charged the officers and attempted to slash Dillard’s partner, missing him by inches.
    Dillard, fearing for his partner’s safety, fired his weapon and incapacitated the man.
    Officer Zellers and his partner, officer Stephen Duley, received a call on April 7 to check upon a subject.
    Arriving at the residence, they observed a fire in the upstairs bedroom.
    The two officers entered the residence and attempted to enter the bedroom, but found the door barricaded from inside by furniture.
    They gained entry to the room by removing the door and attempted to fight the blaze with two fire extinguishers.
    The resident, who was armed with a knife, was instructed to jump out the window to escape the fire.
    She did so, dropping the knife in the process. Duley was able to break her fall.
    “We are grateful that these officers were able to react in the manner in which they were trained and each of these officers continue to be an example of the professionalism and level of service that exemplifies all the officers in Baltimore County,” Capt. Brown said.