Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crisfield Police Officer Is "Top Cop In The State"

CRISFIELD -- A Crisfield police officer will be honored by the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association for his role in rescuing an elderly woman from a burning house last year.

Patrolman 1st Class Andrew Crockett will receive the Exceptional Police Professional Award for 2009 during the association's annual conference in Ocean City on Nov. 8.

"I think the Lord sent him that day," said Melvin Harris, whose mother, Myrtle Harris, was carried to safety by Crockett after her Minden Avenue house caught fire.

Crisfield Police Chief Mike Tabor submitted the nomination for the award and recently learned Crockett was the winner.

"He's the top cop in the state," he said during a recent City Council meeting.

In a letter to Tabor, the awards committee said it selected Crockett "as the officer who, through his dedication to duty and selfless service, best exemplified the ideals to this prestigious award."

The association will provide Crockett with a complimentary hotel room in Ocean City for two nights during the conference.

On the morning of Aug. 9, 2009, Crockett was one of the first to arrive on the scene of the fire and learned from neighbors that someone was inside.

Through a window, Crockett saw 81-year-old Myrtle Harris collapsed on the floor. He quickly broke in and carried her to an ambulance outside.

Harris was treated for smoke inhalation at McCready Memorial Hospital and released.

Soon after the incident, Crockett was recognized with his department's Bronze Star, given by Tabor during a City Council meeting and in front of family members and city residents.

Since then, Harris has been living with her granddaughter, Melissa Dixon.

"She went through a bad time, but she's perked up a little bit," said Melvin Harris, who also credits his mother's neighbor, Pat Stern, for spotting the smoke and calling 911.

Myrtle Harris' sister, Peggy Culbertson, lived in the same house but had gone to church that morning and escaped injury.

Culbertson has been living with two nieces since the fire.

Both women lost everything they owned in the blaze that was caused by an electrical wiring problem.

Melvin Harris said in spite of the material losses, no one was seriously injured.

"We've got our family; that's the most important thing," he said.

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