On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, Ocean City Police Cpl. Richard Wawrzeniak was named Officer of the Year by the American Legion Post 166. Commander of Post 166, Sarge Garlitz, presented the Officer of the Year award to Cpl. Wawrzeniak, in addition to the presentation of awards for Ocean City Emergency Services Paramedic of the Year Ocean Pines Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, Maryland State Police Trooper of the Year and Ocean City Firefighter of the Year.
“I am extremely proud of Cpl. Wawrzeniak,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino. “He demonstrates the high qualities and standards expected of an Ocean City Police Officer. He is a hero.”
Cpl. Wawrzeniak is from Bowie, MD. He joined the OCPD full time in 1999, after two summers as a seasonal officer. He is an active member of the department’s Bike Unit and Quick Response Team. He is currently assigned to the Patrol Division’s evening watch.
In addition to being named “2011 Officer of the Year” by the American Legion, Cpl. Wawrzeniak was recently named “Officer of the Year” by the Knights of Columbus and was a finalist for the Neighborhood Watch Officer of the Year. In addition, he received a Silver Star for his quick and decisive action on December 10, 2010 when he witnessed Marvin Mitchell assaulting his wife with a knife.
Cpl Wawrzeniak neutralized Mitchell by gunfire, saving the lives of four persons.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Cpl. Wawrzeniak said. “It really has been a special year for me. I’m proud to be a part of such a professional organization. Our officers strive to give their best each and every day. I would like to thank Chief DiPino, all my fellow officers, and my family for their support; and of course, the American Legion for this award.”