(Timonium, MD) — Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Terrence B. Sheridan today announced the “Trooper of the Year” and “Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year” for 2008 and presented awards to the winners who include a trooper in his second police career and a former journalist.
Colonel Sheridan presented the Maryland State Police 2008 “Trooper of the Year” award to Trooper First Class Robert B. Rezza, of the Leonardtown Barracks. Colonel Sheridan presented the award for 2008 “Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year” to Sergeant James E. DeCourcey, of the Bel Air Barracks.
“I congratulate Trooper First Class Rezza and Sgt. DeCourcey for their outstanding accomplishments in 2008 that led to the distinguished honors each has received,” Colonel Sheridan said. “These troopers epitomize the actions and attitudes of all the dedicated men and women of the Maryland State Police who serve and protect our citizens every day.”
Sgt. James DeCourcey, 42, joined the Maryland State Police in 1998. He was previously a successful newspaper reporter and photographer in northern Maryland, who often reported on incidents involving the State Police.
Although Sgt. DeCourcey’s title in 2008 was criminal investigation section supervisor, he made significant contributions to both traffic and criminal work at the Bel Air Barracks. Not only was he a unit supervisor, he was also an investigator, collision reconstructionist and crime scene technician.
His superior computer skills assisted not only barrack personnel, but also provided invaluable help to the CRASH Team and Homicide Unit. After attending training on new missing person procedures, he developed and implemented a barrack procedure that was so successful, it was adopted and implemented by the entire Department.
In 2008, the Bel Air Barracks Criminal Investigation Section initiated 35 search warrants and assisted allied agencies with 22 others. Sgt. DeCourcey personally authored more than half of the barrack search warrants and reviewed them all.
One search warrant involved multiple law enforcement agencies in Baltimore City and Harford Co. and resulted in the dismantling of a drug and theft ring. Police recovered drugs and more than $130,000 of stolen property.
In another investigation, it was Sgt. DeCourcey’s knowledge of criminals in both Harford and Cecil counties that led to the disruption of a multi-state burglary ring responsible for as many as 50 burglaries. Thousands of dollars in cash and stolen property were recovered.
Sgt. DeCourcey worked with TFC Dana Wenger on a rape investigation that was two years old. Their relentless investigative efforts led to a suspect whose DNA confirmed he was the one responsible for the rape and an arrest was made. Sgt. DeCourcey’s work was integral in the arrest of a man who had killed his girlfriend and left her in a sleeping bag along a Harford County road last July.
Detective Sergeant Charles A. Moore nominated Sgt. DeCourcey for this award. He said, “Sgt. DeCourcey’s ability and performance as a Maryland state trooper can be summed up as extraordinary. His overwhelming dedication, work ethic, concern for subordinate welfare and acts of self-sacrifice comprise the ultimate model which other law enforcement personnel should study and emulate.”
This is not the first award for Sgt. DeCourcey. He was the Bel Air Barracks Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for 2006, 2007, and 2008. He was the North East Barracks Trooper of the Year in 2002. He was a previous nominee for the Baltimore Sun Police officer of the Year, the Maryland State Police Criminal Investigation Trooper of the Year, the American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and the International Association of Chiefs of Police PARADE Magazine Police Officer of the Year.
Sgt. DeCourcey has been a member of the Charlestown Volunteer Fire Company in Cecil County for 19 years and received the Firefighter President’s Award for his service there. He also won Firefighter of the Year in 1995 and received resolutions from both the Maryland House of Delegates and Maryland Senate for his service.