Hilliard Scholarship Established

Hilliard Scholarship Established

BERLIN– A new scholarship honors the legacy of Corporal Glenn Hilliard, the Wicomico County deputy killed in the line of duty in June.

The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore announced this week the creation of the Glenn Hilliard Legacy Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student pursuing a career in law enforcement at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Hilliard’s alma mater.

“It’s definitely going to keep his legacy alive and it’s going to give people who couldn’t get degrees the opportunity to do so,” said Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing, who is serving as the chairman of the Glenn Hilliard Legacy Scholarship Fund Committee.

Hilliard, 41, died June 12 while trying to arrest fugitive Austin Davidson, who was wanted on warrants in multiple jurisdictions. Shortly before 8:30 p.m. on the Sunday evening, Hilliard responded to an apartment complex in Pittsville after getting a tip that Davidson was there. During a brief foot pursuit, Davidson reportedly turned and fired a semi-automatic pistol at the deputy. Though fellow law enforcement officers tried to treat Hilliard at the scene, he was transported to TidalHealth Peninsula Regional Hospital were he was pronounced dead.

Davidson fled to a wooded area nearby and an extensive manhunt by multiple law enforcement agencies ensued, but he eventually surrendered about two hours after the shooting when he exited a tree line near the apartment complex. The weapon was found nearby, according to police reports.

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According to the Community Foundation, Hilliard spent 18 years working in local law enforcement.  While most recently he worked as a deputy in the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, he also served as an officer in the U.S. Marshal Task Force, the Crisfield Police Department, the Berlin Police Department and as a seasonal officer for the Ocean City Police Department.

According to the Community Foundation, the scholarship in honor of Hilliard was created with a pledge of up to $350,000 from the Humphreys Foundation. The pledge consists of a gift of $10,000 per year for five years, with an additional $1 for every $2 raised in donations, for up to $75,000 per year for four years.

Downing, who served as Hilliard’s mentor during his time with the Berlin Police Department, credited the Humphreys Foundation with coming forward with the idea of a scholarship.

“I hope this scholarship will be a living legacy, one that will allow Glenn’s spirit to touch and enrich the lives of others well beyond our years,” he said. “My wish is that Glenn’s life story will encourage others to pursue a career in law enforcement, especially those underrepresented in the profession. Additionally, I hope the scholarship will eliminate the financial barriers that can often derail the purest dreams.”

Downing said most people didn’t realize that teenagers interested in pursuing law enforcement careers couldn’t actually do so until they were 21—leaving them a gap of three years after graduation. He’d like to see them pursue a related degree during that time.

“Having a degree keeps them engaged in the thought process of becoming an officer,” Downing said.

He added that studying criminal justice at college left individuals interested in law enforcement careers better prepared to begin them. Many agencies also offer recruits with degrees financial incentives.

Downing said the scholarship would ensure financial barriers that might have kept individuals from seeking degrees related to law enforcement were eliminated.

“We want the dreamers to continue dreaming,” he said.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the scholarship fund visit CFES.org/donate and select “Glenn Hilliard Legacy Scholarship” in the drop-down menu. The scholarship fund is managed by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.