ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - For the fourth consecutive year, the Directorate of Emergency Services has been selected to receive the Governor's Crime Prevention Award from the state of Maryland.

Each year, the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute, along with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions and the Maryland Crime Prevention Association present the annual awards. The awards subcommittee meets in August to review nominations and after an extensive screening process selects the departments, individuals and programs that meet the criteria for recognition.

Of the 55 winners of this year's award, APG's DES is the only military police department among the recipients.

Chris Ferris, director of Emergency Services, said the award is a testimony to the professionalism of the department and its officers.

"Our receipt of this award, four years running, demonstrates the directorates' long-term commitment to the community policing and crime prevention philosophy and the age-old adage, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,'" Ferris said. "I am extremely proud of the exceptional work of our police officers day in and day out and I want to emphasize the pride we feel having those efforts acknowledged with such a prestigious award."

Ferris credited Bill Marion, chief of the Investigative Services Division, with preparing the nomination packet. Marion said the directorate was recognized for several programs and services and will receive the Category A Governor's Crime Prevention Award for Law Enforcement Agencies in December.

"The award means we met or exceeded the criteria for required programs," he said. The award recognizes those departments that have incorporated an overall outstanding crime prevention program as an integral part of their daily operations.

The DES had to fulfill requirements in the following categories: Personal Security Program; Rape and Sexual Assault; Elderly Crime and Prevention Program; Youth Crime Prevention Program; Drug Abuse Prevention Program; Residential Security Program; Commercial Security Program; Involvement of patrol officers in residential/commercial security surveys and referrals; Crime Prevention Training; Crime Prevention Public Information/Media Activities; Officer and Citizen Recognition Program for Crime Prevention Activity; and Support of the National Crime Prevention "McGruff" Campaign as well as police officer training.

DES programs recognized include participation in newcomer's briefings, during which personnel are advised about vehicle and motorcycle safety and personal protective equipment; the Special Reaction Team's Active Shooter Response training program; the Community Policing Officer' Home Watch program; and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and Over the Counter Take Back programs.

DES was additionally recognized for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Training to cadets of the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy as well as a Lock-In event at the Youth Center where teens spent the night in a safe environment. The DES has provided 100 individual DARE classes to approximately 150 youth and collected nearly 300 pounds of OTC and prescription medications at five sites. Through newcomer's briefings, Community Action Council meeting and Organization Day activities, the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Unit provides educational materials and guidance on programs like House Watch, Neighborhood Watch and Operation Identification. In addition, the Physical Security Division ensures all commercial facilities comply with Army regulation related to security and crime prevention. The directorate incorporates the use of "McGruff" the Crime Fighting Dog for various programs and obtained the services of national D.A.R.E. spokesman and motivational speaker, "Retro Bill for community outreach events. DES also distributes public service announcements through the APG News and on APG websites.

The Governor's Crime Prevention Award is now in its 33rd year. Since its inception in 1980, more than 3,000 awards have been presented.