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Auxiliary Police Officers are Honored

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Auxiliary Police Program, the Fairfax County Police Department recently honored five auxiliary officers assigned to the Fair Oaks District Station. The ceremony was Saturday evening, April 5, at the Fair Oaks Holiday Inn.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger presented awards for service and appreciation to auxiliary officers throughout the county. And Paul J. McNulty, U.S. District Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia, gave the keynote address.

Michael Szedlock of Greenbriar received a plaque and pin for 15 years of service and was honored as the Auxiliary Training Officer of the Year. Receiving milestone awards for 2,500 service hours each were Beth Myers and William Penny.

Jeff Stoy and James Harlow were each given plaques for their 1,000 service hours each, and Fair Oaks' auxiliary program coordinator, Susan Baugh, accepted a station-appreciation award on behalf of all the auxiliary police officers at that station.

In presenting that award, Manger commended Fair Oaks' auxiliary officers for "their ability to work as a team and accomplish many goals, including crime prevention. They provide station tours, home-security surveys, Neighborhood Watch talks, cruiser displays for community events, traffic control, assistance at DWI checkpoints and assistance for the station resource officer."

Szedlock was recognized for outstanding achievement in training. An auxiliary officer since 1987, he's served more than 6,000 hours. He teaches in the AAA Mid-Atlantic Driving School and is the lead instructor for the police department's Mature Operator Driver Improvement Program for elderly drivers.

"Not only is Mike an excellent instructor, he also relates well to the students that participate in this course," said Manger. "Last year he coordinated 25 such courses, which ran smoothly and were well-received, due in large part [to his efforts]. And Mike's commander often calls upon him to give safety and security presentations to the business leaders in the Fair Oaks district."

The police department's 76 auxiliary members are sworn officers who volunteer at least 24 hours a month and regularly perform police officers' duties. These tasks include directing traffic at accident scenes and school crossings, attending special events and assisting at crime scenes.

Auxiliary police officers also help in crime-prevention activities and crime analysis and assist the Computer Forensics Unit with investigations. In addition, they perform background intelligence and surveillance for the department's Criminal Intelligence Unit.

The Fair Oaks District Station has seven auxiliary police officers. Altogether, the county's auxiliary officers have given a total of 567,000 volunteer hours of service to the program since its inception in 1987.