City Police Name Patrolman of the Year

12 May 2009 by Janet Kelley, Staff Writer, Lancaster New Era

Every year, city police recognize their fellow officers for outstanding efforts.

Sometimes it's an ability to solve neighborhood issues or work with city youth, solving a string of crimes or catching a suspected killer.

This year, Officer M. Anthony Weaver was named the Richard W. Slaugh Patrolman of the Year for the kind of policeman he is, as well as all that he has accomplished in his nearly nine years on the force.

Weaver is described in the award as polite, punctual, hard-working, reliable and intelligent.

In 2008, he served as the wiretap officer, field training officer and undercover officer in more than 100 drug and prostitution investigations, resulting in nearly two dozen arrests, officials said.

As the senior Selective Enforcement Unit officer, Weaver was described as efficient, professional and worked well with other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. At the same time, he was going to school part-time to earn a college degree.

The awards, Weavers' and others, were presented this morning at a police appreciation day breakfast sponsored by the Lancaster Kiwanis Club, at the Elks Club on North Duke Street.

Two top investigators, Detective Christopher DePatto and Detective Nathan Nickel, shared the Kauffman Award for an outstanding act or tenacious, long-term investigation.

DePatto solved a shooting on Hand Avenue, as well as several serious assault cases, while Nickel was credited with successfully prosecuting the South Prince Street homicide.

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This year's choice for the Eric Abel Investigator of the Year award, decided upon by fellow police officers, was given posthumously to Detective Todd S. Russell, a 13-year veteran of the city police department, who died last November.

Russell, 38, had served with the patrol division, community police bicycle division and, at the time of his death, was working as a detective handling violent crimes.

His co-workers described him in the nomination petition as "a hard-working, team-player, that would drop help out a colleague. He was characterized as a caring, compassionate, soft-spoken and gentle man with the highest level of ethics and integrity."

In addition to a city policeman, Russell was a veteran of the U.S. Marines, a baseball coach for Warwick Little League, and a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. He was described as a loving father, husband, brother and friend, as well as police officer.

Officer Jose L. Diaz was recognized with the David M. Rineer Youth Award for his work with students in the city school district.

The police officers involved spend a significant amount of time with the students during and after school, teaching classes, helping with programs and sports.

As a result, school officials noted, between 2005 and 2007, they have noted a marked decrease in juvenile arrest rate and expulsion within the city schools.

Officer Jonathan Caple earned the Community Policing Award, sponsored by Franklin & Marshall College, for his work with neighborhood groups to resolve issues and promote understanding.