Two Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputies were honored at the annual Maryland Chiefs of Police & Maryland Sheriff’s Association Professional Seminar.
Deputy First Class Benjamin Jones received the Sheriff’s Association Deputy of the Year Award for Valor and Sgt. Jessica Murphy was presented with the Sheriff’s Association Deputy of the Year Award for Contribution to Profession.
The seminar was in Ocean City.
“As you can imagine, most agencies in attendance did not have any award recipients. We have two who received state awards. There are 168 police departments in Maryland and the Sheriff’s Office got two of the top awards,” Sheriff Mike Lewis said.
“It is absolutely awesome,” he said.
“Matt Jones is the deputy who was involved in the gang-related shooting on the West side last year, on March 3. We had specific information there was likely going to be a retaliatory gang shooting. He put himself in harm’s way,” Lewis said about Jones.
Jones killed 25-year-old Fednel Rhinvil of Salisbury, after Rhinvil pulled a handgun from his pocket during a struggle with Jones.
A war veteran who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Jones displayed great courage and selflessness, Lewis said.
“It’s one thing to put yourself in harm’s way, but it takes a lot of courage at 1:30 in the morning to step out of your car when you know there is likely going to be retaliatory shooting. He never called for back-up. He went out … and a violent assault ensued,” Lewis said.
Jones caught Rhinvil and never let go. Even though Rhinvil kept shedding layers of clothing, Jones hung on, Lewis said.
Hill was recently promoted to first sergeant and is now assistant commander.
“She does an incredible job. She has a history of community service,” Lewis said.
“She worked with the schools daily for the protection of the students. She’s been an outstanding ambassador,” Lewis said about Hill, a polygraph examiner.
“She is incredible. I am so, so proud of both of them,” Lewis said.
Both received citations from Delegate Mary Beth Carozza.
“I certainly think this community is in good hands. Not just because of the Sheriff’s Office. (Salisbury Police Chief) Barbara Duncan is doing a great job. We have great state troopers. We collaborate. We work together,” Lewis said.
Reach Susan Canfora at email@example.com.