Working for a police department might often seem like a thankless job, but three members of Anne Arundel County Police Department’s Eastern District were recognized by the Police-Community Relations Council (PCRC) on February 17.
The PCRC from each district chooses an Officer of the Year, Sergeant of the Year and Detective of the Year annually after reviewing nominations from supervisors. Here are this year’s honorees:
Officer Of The Year: Nicolas Conforti
When crime gets bad in areas of Anne Arundel County, officer Nicolas Conforti is frequently called upon to identify and arrest people driving the crime rates. As the leader for Platoon 4, the largest of all the patrol platoons, he frequently leads the department in overall traffic enforcement and consistently leads the platoon in numbers of arrests each month.
When nominating Conforti for the Officer of the Year award, Lieutenant Glenn Shanahan noted that during 2020, Conforti averaged a combined 159 citations, safety equipment repair orders, warnings and/or parking tickets each month.
“A disproportionate number of his stops lead to either registration improprieties, stolen tags, wanted persons or criminal arrests for illegal possession of narcotics,” Shanahan said. “He had a total of five [controlled dangerous substances] distribution arrests and a total of six recovered loaded handgun arrests for the year 2020. In the collective memories of platoon supervision, we cannot recall anyone with as many handgun arrests during a calendar year. The quality of his work product has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
Conforti joined the department in March 2019 with a goal of listening to other people in the police department and learning from their experiences.
“I'm a relatively new and young officer, so I'm always trying to learn as much as I can to assist me with doing this job, and the other half of it is to then go out there and start applying what I've learned,” he said. “I'm always learning new ways to look for criminal activity, and by then applying techniques I've learned, it works to turn a simple traffic stop into much more than just a vehicle violation.”
Conforti said his goal every day is to come home feeling like he did something important.
“I think lots of the time, it's easy to get caught up and think that you aren't changing anything or doing much good,” he said. “For me, getting this award and seeing the citizens that are responding positively to the work I'm doing just reassures me that I am doing good for the community.”
Sergeant of the Year: Matthew Ploor
A 15-year veteran of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Matthew Ploor was chosen as Sergeant of the Year because of his work ethic and dedication to the concept of community policing. In his written nomination of Ploor, Lieutenant Michael Ashburn commended the sergeant’s investigative and operational abilities, “sound decision making” and crime-fighting techniques.
“This year, Sergeant Ploor not only handled his area of responsibilities within the district but also was made aware of and researched a residence within Eastern District that became known as a nuisance house,” Ashburn wrote. “At the time of this complaint, this address had received over 100 calls for service related to the individuals who reside here. The residents at this location were the cause for calls related to trespassing, drunk or drugged, and numerous disorderly complaints. Sergeant Ploor took the time to research and locate the owners of the residence who in turn eventually served eviction notices to everyone at that residence. In doing so, since then, we have received a significant decrease in the calls for service on that street and are rarely related to that residence.”
Communication and common sense are vital skills needed for the job, Ploor said.
“One skill without the other leads to misinformation, indecision and a lack of transparency within any subject matter,” he said. “I'm very fortunate to currently work for commanders who fully support my efforts in the continuance of community relations in the Eastern District.”
Ploor said he is most proud of the relationships he has built with communities while working in the patrol division. He is humbled to be named Sergeant of the Year.
“Winning this award is a great career accomplishment that, quite frankly, I didn't believe was attainable,” Ploor said. “I'd like to thank all of the citizens of Anne Arundel County, the PCRC board, Eastern District officers and commanders, and Chief Amal Awad for their continued support.”
Detective of the Year: Michael Mulford
Described as a “constant team player” by his supervisor, Sergeant Bryan Isaac, Michael Mulford was named Detective of the Year.
“I know that I can count on him to investigate all cases to the fullest, gather all pertinent information, and complete a clear and concise report,” Isaac said. “He constantly portrays a professional image as a detective with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. Sadly, he is retiring in May 2021 after almost 35 years as a law enforcement officer.”
Mulford said those 35 years of combined service to Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County would not have been possible without the support of his wife and son as he missed many holidays, birthdays and family outings.
“This ‘job’ is a profession and takes a dedicated person and very supporting cast to navigate,” he said. “Luckily, our family survived the bumpy roads, and we look forward to my last working day with no regrets. There were several cases, including homicide, sex offense, and burglary cases that were investigated to a satisfying conclusion, but they take a back seat to family.”
Mulford was also a mentor to younger detectives.
“Being an officer on the street can be overwhelming, especially if you don't have a good role model or mentor as a young officer,” Mulford added. “Officers have to wear many ‘hats’ and are expected to be perfect in every action we take.”
Mulford said it feels great to be recognized.
“I've always put my heart and soul into this job and the cases I have been assigned, and I really don't need an award to validate that fact, but again, it's great to be acknowledged,” he said. “I told my wife that they were just throwing a bone to the old guy on the way out.”