Laurel honors "Police Officer of the Year" at annual banquet

By Tony E. Windsor

Special law enforcement accolades were bestowed to police in Laurel during the recent Laurel Police Department Awards Banquet. The banquet was held at the Laurel Fire Hall on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Among the honors given during the event was the annual Police Officer of the Year award. According to Laurel Police Chief Dan Wright, to be named Police Officer of the Year, an officer must also be recognized with awards including valor, exceptional performance, a police chief's citation and/or recognition for efforts that involved saving a life. The awards must have been received during the 2017 calendar year. Officers who meet this criteria are then judged with the support of the police administrative staff on their performance in the areas of work performed, ethics, attitude and professional demeanor.

This year's Police Officer of the Year was awarded to Cpl. Christopher Story. A 2003 graduate of the Delaware State Police Academy, Story is a veteran of multiple area police departments including Bridgeville, Milford and Georgetown, and came to the Laurel Police Department in 2014.

In making the presentation, incidents from Story's 2017 law enforcement efforts were highlighted. In May 2017, Story responded to the area of Carvel Gardens in response to a reported robbery. He learned that two subjects had entered an ice cream truck and were told to leave. The suspects then began removing money from the truck. When the owner attempted to call 911, one of the suspects threatened the man saying, "You're lucky I don't shoot you."

Story learned the names of the two suspects and was able to locate them. They were charged with robbery, conspiracy, terroristic threatening and resisting arrest. Both pled guilty and were sentenced to prison.

In an April incident, Story responded to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital regarding a possible child abuse case. A Child Advocacy Center interview was set up for the victim, which resulted in other victims being discovered. Through Story's investigation it was learned that the suspected assailant would engage in sexual activity with a five-year-old child. The suspect was arrested and charged with several counts of rape and continuous sexual abuse and pled guilty.

In November, Cpl. Story responded to a complaint about a female engaging in criminal solicitation and prostitution on Market Street, Laurel. While conducting a check of the area, Story noticed a female that matched her description. Maintaining a safe distance, Story surveilled the female. He saw her approach a man and escort him to a secluded area. Story then approached the area and heard the woman offer the man sexual favors for money. Story then arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school, church or place of worship. The woman pled guilty.

Story's 2017 performance as a police officer included his being a leader in several law enforcement categories. He had 37 felony arrests, 166 misdemeanor arrests, 118 traffic citations and investigated 15 motor vehicle accidents and made six DUI arrests.

In making the presentation, Chief Dan Wright complimented Story's commitment to the department and people of the Laurel community. "Cpl. Story is a dedicated employee who strives for perfection," he said. "He is a hard worker and an asset to the Town of Laurel and the Laurel Police Department."

Story was also the recipient of this year's Bobby Carey Volunteer Award, an award he also received last year. In 2017, Story volunteered his personal time picking up Law Enforcement Support Program (LESO) items to better equip the police department and improve the working conditions for officers.

According to Wright, Cpl. Story travels to different locations within the state and other states to obtain LESO equipment for the department. "Cpl. Story does this without complaining or compensation," he said.

In addition to being awarded Police Officer of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, Story also received a commendation in the form of a Town of Laurel Proclamation presented by Laurel Mayor John Shwed.

The proclamation named Saturday, Oct. 15, 2018, as Cpl. Christopher Story Day in Laurel. The proclamation read in part, "Cpl. Story is a remarkable man who has dedicated his life between family, community and public safety and his dedication, service and diligence has made the Town of Laurel a safer place."

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