MARTINSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT

Officer of the Month

August 2017

Patrolman Chris Williamson

Patrolman First Class Chris Williamson has been selected as the Martinsburg Police Department’s Officer of the Month for August 2017.

“I give it my best every day…If I can make things a little better for people who live here, then I’ve made a difference.” 
- Patrolman Chris Williamson  

An MPD veteran with 12 years of service, Chris’s hard work and outstanding productivity were recognized earlier this year for his lead role in solving a string of Downtown burglaries, when he was honored as Officer of the Month in January.

Chief Maury Richards was quick to recognize Williamson for his latest achievement.  “Chris has the kind of positive qualities we need in MPD,” stated Chief Richards.  “He’s a go-getter, self-starter, team player, and never stops learning and improving.  Chris kicked off the year as our January Officer of the Month and he’s never looked back.  If anything, he’s stepped up his game to another level.  Chris Williamson is a great asset to this Department and is helping make Martinsburg a better and safer place.”  

This July, Officer Williamson had a standout month, even while working night shift and on a vacation with his family for a week.  Chris led the way on his shift in directed, mission-oriented enforcement; investigating and solving a serious stabbing incident; and tying up the final lose end of the burglary cases he solved last January.

Lieutenant Scott Funkhouser, Officer Williamson’s Shift Commander, commended Chris’s motivated performance.  “Last month on night shift, one of our priorities was to focus on problems around the Midtown 7-11 and Chris really hit it hard, observed Lieutenant Funkhouser.  “In only 15 working days, Chris made 40 arrests or criminal citations for drug violations, traffic, loitering, public intoxication, and other offenses.  His enthusiasm and production were outstanding.  The numbers speak for themselves.” 

“His enthusiasm and production were outstanding.  The numbers speak for themselves…” 
- Lieutenant Scott Funkhouser           

On July 30th, MPD officers responded to a call of a person stabbed at 531 W. King Street.  Chris was first on the scene, immediately assessed the situation, and took immediate action.  Chris saw an adult male on the kitchen floor who was bleeding profusely. He had been stabbed six times with a knife in his chest, shoulder, and hand.  Williamson ensured the victim received emergency first aid, called for EMS, while still alertly observing that other persons in the house had been attempting to clean up the crime scene. 

Officer Williamson acted immediately to preserve evidence from being destroyed and quickly obtained initial statements and information from the victim and witnesses in the house.  The officer was told by both the victim and his girlfriend that he had been stabbed in a nearby park by an unknown male offender and had managed to stagger back to the house where the emergency call was made.  The victim’s injuries were life-threatening.  Soon after the EMS response, he was airlifted to the medical trauma facility in Morgantown.

Officer Williamson processed the crime scene with Patrolman Paul Lehman and conducted in-depth interviews.  From inside the victim’s home, the officers recovered a Japanese “Tonto knife” that appeared to have been recently washed.  The shape of the blade was similar to the victim’s stab wounds.  Assessing both evidence and interviews, Chris determined that the original victim and witness statements claiming that the incident occurred in the park and the attacker was unknown man, just didn't fit.  He dug deeper.  Concluding that the stabbing had actually taken place in the house, he conducted follow-up interviews that resulted in new information showing that the victim had actually been stabbed by his girlfriend who was assisted by another man in attempting to destroy the evidence.  The girlfriend, Brooke Fries, was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and her accomplice, Anthony Tangorra, was arrested and charged with Accessory after the Fact for his role in the attempted cover-up.  Within three days of the original incident, Officer Williamson had successfully cleared the complex case, identifying, arresting and charging the actual offenders. 

“Chris has the kind of positive qualities we need in MPD.  He’s a go-getter, a self-starter, and a team player, and never stops learning and improving…”   
-Chief Maury Richards                                             

Also In July, some of the good police work Officer Williamson put in motion last winter while solving the Downtown burglaries resulted in an arrest.  In January, Senbad Jackson, one of the identified offenders, fled the city when the police began closing in.  Chris obtained an arrest warrant for Jackson, but he remained at-large for almost seven months.  Last month, Jackson was finally located, placed in custody and will be brought to trial in the near future.

Chris reacted to his most recent Officer of the Month award with pride and humility.  “It’s an honor to be recognized twice and I thank my fellow officers for all their teamwork and support,” Williamson said.  “I wanted to be a cop ever since I was a kid.  It’s a special kind of job because each day is so different.  I just love what I do.  It’s fun.  Community and family are important so I give it my best every day.  People are counting on me,” he added.  What motivates Chris the most?  “I really like following up on crimes or taking a case from start to finish, so I’ve worked hard on my investigation skills, he stated.  “I get satisfaction from taking bad guys off the street.  If I can make things a little better for people who live here, then I’ve made a difference.”

Through his exceptional skill, dedication, and effectiveness in representing the Martinsburg Police Department and serving our community, Patrolman Chris Williamson has demonstrated a level of excellence far above normal requirements and expectations.  He is awarded Officer of the Month for August 2017.   Congratulations Chris!

Officer of the Month Award

MPD is recognizing on a monthly basis, both sworn and non-sworn Department members who distinguish themselves by exemplary work and actions beyond the requirements of normal assignments and which represent the highest standards of policing and community service in the Martinsburg Police Department.

The Officer of the Month Award will be granted to a Department member or members whose performance of duty during a specific month was characterized by such exceptional professional skill that it merits recognition by the entire Department.

Criteria to be considered includes outstanding work that: Is varied and challenging; greatly affects people from all walks of life; improves community conditions and quality of life; furthers the ideals and values of the Martinsburg Police Department; achieves significant impact on public safety or crime reduction; resolves problems; brings credit to the Department; demonstrates leadership, initiative, and exceptional professionalism; improves police service to the public; or in other ways advance the goals of MPD.

Williamson

Patrolman Chris Williamson