Conservation Officer Matthew Miller has given up family time and served almost voluntarily to protect wildlife and the reputation of hunters all over York County.
The four-year Pennsylvania Game Commission officer was honored as the Officer of the Year Thursday at the 2009 Law Enforcement Award ceremony. The Police Heritage Museum also gave out the President's Award and Citizen Award of Merit at the 10th Annual Law Enforcement Awards ceremony.
In 2009, Miller worked 700 hours. He is paid $65 for each eight-hour shift until the Game Commission's budget dries up, which is typically in about three months. Yet, Miller continued to work throughout the year.
"(The award) means a lot, especially in the presence of such fine officers," he said.
Miller said his most memorable case was catching and helping to convict two people illegally poaching white-tailed deer in 2009. He said the suspects had been driving around shooting deer from their car. He later found out the suspects were convicted felons, banned from possessing firearms.
With just a partial license plate tag, Miller began searching for the people responsible for illegally killing three deer in a two-day period. The entire investigation took 10 months, and at the end, one man took a plea deal to pay fines and the other was convicted and sentenced to 5 to 10 years in state prison.
"It was a good case because it got these guys that give hunters a bad reputation," Miller said. "It was also a safety concern with the high-power rifles."
Also in 2009, Miller helped investigate two cases of illegal deer killing involving eight suspects. One of those cases was the first restitution award for white-tailed deer pursued in York County Court under a new penalty passed by the Board of Game Commissioners in April 2009.
Wildlife Conservation Officer Chad Eyler nominated Miller for Officer of the Year. While accepting his award, Miller thanked his wife, Whitney, for constantly supporting him as he took time away from the family to patrol southwestern York County. The couple have a two-year-old daughter, Avery.
---The York County Drug Task Force accepted the President's Award Thursday afternoon. The task force was created in 1987 and is made up of narcotics investigators as well as a prosecutor. In 2009, the task force made 652 felony drug arrests and 385 misdemeanor drug arrests. The arrests resulted in more than $146,000 in heroin, $285,000 in cocaine and $292,000 in marijuana off the streets of York County.
---Conewago Valley School District teacher Bryan Rehm was honored with the Citizen Award of Merit. On Oct. 17, Rehm recovered a purse from a man who snatched it off of a 72-year-old woman.
The woman was walking in a parking lot at the West Manchester Mall with her disabled son when a man ran up and grabbed her purse. Rehm heard her scream and ran after the subject, holding him until police arrived.
Rehm was nominated by West Manchester Township Police Chief Arthur Smith.
Police Officer of the Year Award nominees included Officer Adam Bruckhart of West Manchester Township Police Department, Officer Bryn Lindenmuth of Southwestern Regional Police Department, Officer Blake McBride of York City Police Department and Officer Ronald Stiles of Carroll Township Police Department.
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Nominees
---Officer Adam Bruckhart, West Manchester Township Police Department
-- 23-month veteran
-- In 2009, he made 545 traffic contacts, 15 DUI arrests, 15 felony arrests, 100 summary non-traffic citations and 34 warrant services
---Officer Bryn Lindenmuth, Southwestern Regional Police Department
-- Five-year veteran
-- In 2009, Lindenmuth made nearly 500 traffic contacts and 90 separate criminal charges
---Officer Blake McBride, Pennsylvania Game Commission
-- Twenty-two year veteran
-- In 2009, McBride issued 103 parking tickets, 66 traffic citations, 15 non-traffic citations, nine felony and misdemeanor arrests and served 20 warrants
---Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer Matthew Miller
-- Four-year veteran
-- Miller was a nominee for Deputy Wildlife Conservatino Officer of the Year for 2009. He is the recipient of a Citation from the Bureau of Wildlife Protection and Pennsylvania Game Commission for work on a major felony case in 2009
---Officer Ronald Stiles, Carroll Township Police Department
-- 32- year veteran
-- Stiles teaches DARE to 6th grade students at Northern York County Middle School. He volunteers to give tours of the police department, gives safety talks to schools and volunteers with the Flying Angels, a non-profit group that grants dreams for terminally ill children
--Reach Amanda Dolasinski at 505-5434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.