Natural Resources Police Awards Officers for Exceptional Service

October 12, 2021

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
  • NinaWhite
  • 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.

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.