Department Loses K-9 Cop

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OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Police Department is mourning the loss of veteran K-9 Jester, who passed away on Feb. 18, 2012, one day after his 11th birthday.

Jester, who retired from the department in 2008, came to the OCPD from Augsburg, Germany, at which time he became the partner to Pfc. Christine (Plant) Kirkpatrick.

Jester, who achieved the highest level of certification (Schutzhund) before joining the OCPD in 2004, spent hundreds of hours in training in Patrol/Narcotics Division. During his career, he completed over 250 drug searches, including one incident in which he found a half-pound of marijuana concealed amidst engine parts and a handgun on the front seat of the vehicle, which resulted in significant jail time for the suspect.

With a skill for tracking, Jester was successful at locating 13 people on tracks and although he was tough on the road, he was also known throughout the community for demonstrations for children and community groups.

“I have never seen a dog so loved by all who met him,” said Kirkpatrick, a former OCPD officer and partner to Jester. “I never intended to stay in police work very long, Jester is the reason I did. I loved being a K-9 handler from the first moment I got him and I couldn’t have asked for a better first partner.”

Since his retirement, Jester lived a happy life at home with Kirkpatrick. He enjoyed playing ball in the backyard, relaxing on the couch and playing with his buddy Chance. “His passing has left a hole in my heart that I think will never go away, he was a great work dog, loyal partner, and best friend,” Kirkpatrick said.

High-Speed Chase

BERLIN — A motorist behind the wheel of an alleged stolen vehicle led authorities on a high-speed chase on Monday through the back roads of northern Worcester County until he crashed in a Holly Grove Road ditch.

On March 5, shortly before midnight, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to stop a Silver Mitsubishi for a traffic violation on Assateague Rd. The vehicle fled from the deputy to Route 611. A vehicle pursuit was initiated.

During the course of the pursuit, it was learned that the Delaware tag displayed on the vehicle was registered to a different car. The pursuit continued from Route 611 to Sinepuxent Road. The vehicle crashed eventually into a ditch near Holly Grove Rd.

The driver, Alvin Alonzo James, 19, of Wilmington, Del., fled from the vehicle into the nearby woods. The passenger, a juvenile, from Wilmington Del., was taken into custody immediately.

A check of the vehicle revealed that it had been stolen from the northeast Maryland area. Units from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Berlin Police Department, Maryland State Police, Maryland State Police aviation and Natural Resources Police conducted a thorough search of the area with negative results.

The juvenile was charged with the theft of the auto and detained by Department of Juvenile Justice.

James was apprehended on Tuesday and charged with felony theft and multiple traffic citations.

Child Dies In Shooting

HEBRON – Maryland State Police are continuing to investigate a Wicomico County shooting that left a child dead and his mother injured last night.
The deceased is identified as Jamal A. Woolford Jr., 4, of Old Railroad Road, Hebron in Md. His mother was identified as Shanice A. Kellam, 24, Her wounds were not believed to be life threatening. 
Just before 9:30 p.m. Monday, Maryland State Police at the Salisbury Barrack received a 911 call from the victim’s address reporting a shooting. Troopers, county deputies, and EMS personnel responded to the scene. They found the boy had sustained what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the chest and his mother, who had what appeared to have gunshot wounds to her hand, arm and shoulder. 
The father of the deceased victim was also in the home, as was a 7-year-old. Neither of them was injured. 
Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators responded to the scene and are conducting the investigation. They are being assisted by investigators from the Wicomico Bureau of Investigation, troopers from the Salisbury Barrack, State Police crime scene technicians, and officers from the Salisbury Police Department. 
The preliminary investigation indicates that Kellam was asleep in her bedroom when she was awakened by something hitting her. She awoke to see her son wounded in the chest and then realized she was also bleeding. She ran with her son into the living room to her son’s father who had just returned home and 911 was called. 
Investigators have learned a handgun that was kept in the bedroom. Police have also been told the child had previously been seen playing with the handgun. 
Investigators have obtained a search warrant for the scene and technicians continue to process the home for evidence. A large caliber handgun has been recovered on the bed where the shooting is believed to have occurred. 
The investigation is continuing.

Tip Leads To Fugitive
SALISBURY — A citizen’s tip to authorities on Tuesday led to the arrest of a wanted fugitive.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office went to a residence in the 600 block of S. Westover Drive after receiving a Crime Solvers tip that a wanted fugitive, Willie Ballard, 31, was there. Ballard was wanted on a Wicomico County Circuit Court warrant charging him with violation of probation in a CDS case. Ballard was also wanted on a Circuit Court indictment in a CDS distribution case. Upon arriving at the house, the deputy was invited in but he soon heard another exterior door close. Believing Ballard was attempting to flee, the deputy exited the residence and gave chase. The deputy caught Ballard after a brief foot chase and had to physically struggle with him in order to place him into handcuffs, police records indicate.

Post arrest, the deputy discovered Ballard in possession of individually wrapped bags of what the deputy recognized as marijuana. The deputy concluded that Ballard was engaged in the sale of CDS and he was arrested.

Annual Reminder

BERLIN– In anticipation of daylight savings time beginning in the early morning hours of March 11, the State Fire Marshal is urging Marylanders to “Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery” in both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their homes.

Recognizing that working smoke alarms and CO detectors double a family’s chance of surviving a home fire and/or an unsafe carbon monoxide level, the State Fire Marshal says this weekend is a great opportunity for families to change the batteries.

“This simple step can help us avoid tragedies in the place we feel the most secure – our homes,” said State Fire Marshal William Barnard.

Along with working smoke alarms and CO detectors, home escape plans are another way Marylanders can avoid injury or death in their homes. By identifying at least two different escape routes, families can practice the plan together – before an emergency strikes. Practicing the plan helps educate younger children to the danger of hazardous situations and the importance of recognizing that the sound of a smoke alarm or CO detector signals a potential hazard in the home.

“Changing the battery in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, along with developing and practicing a home escape plan, are two of the best ways to protect your loved ones and yourself from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Barnard.

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