The Bel Air area has bragging rights to 2011's best trooper in the state of Maryland.
Trooper First Class Michael Bonczewski was named the Maryland State Police 2011 Trooper of the Year on Wednesday, according to a release from state police.
“I was totally shocked and actually still am quite shocked to be quite honest with you” Bonczewski told WBAL Radio’s Anne Kramer Thursday.
The award is in large part due to his dedication to the job, high number of arrests and traffic citations as well as involvement in several major investigations in 2011.
One of Bonczewski's striking accomplishments involved gathering significant gang intelligence
While investigating a domestic assault in Edgewood, Bonczewski noticed gang tattoos on the suspect and "developed a rapport" with the man, according to the release.
That man ultimately divulged information about gang crimes, member identification and provided the only copy of the “Blood Bible” in the region.
Bonczewski was also instrumental in the investigation of prescription fraud at an Abingdon pharmacy that ended in the arrested of a man suspected of passing more than 5,000 illegal prescriptions in three states.
“It turned out that he was printing fake government documents also," Bonczewski said on WBAL Radio.
In 2011, Bonczewski made 2,585 traffic stops, issued more than 2,700 citations—more traffic citations than any other trooper in the state. He also had the most DUI-related arrests for the barrack with 46 and the second-most drug arrests with 23.
He also led the barrack in criminal investigations with a total of 50, according to the release.
Bonczewski joined the state police four years ago and is assigned to the Bel Air Barrack after starting his career in LaPlata.