Montgomery police awarded for hate crime investigation

Local,Maryland,Crime,Abby Hamblin

Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department's 4th District have received the 2012 Anti-Defamation League SHIELD Award for their work in the investigation and prosecution of a hate crime.

"We just wanted justice for the victims, and to be part of this award means so much," said the department's Hispanic liaison, Blanca Kling. "It also makes a statement because the victims win, too."

Those receiving the award include Kling, Community Services Officer Sharif Hidayat, Detective Matthew Vendemio, and Assistant State's Attorneys George Simms and Curtis Zeager. The award honors law enforcement for achievements in fighting against hate crimes and domestic and international terrorism.

Those being honored worked on a case from March 2006 to August 2010 that involved primarily Hispanic victims in three areas of Wheaton who were having their tires slashed. The investigation found approximately 28 victims.

The investigators arrested and charged a suspect with malicious destruction of property and race/religious harassment on Oct. 6, 2010.

"There were no stones left unturned," said Hidayat, who went door to door seeking information for the investigation. "We found all of those victims, and now they can sleep better at night knowing that the perpetrator no longer moves among them."

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