Honoring Prince George's Co.'s Fallen First Responders: “It's Bittersweet”

WASHINGTON — In Prince George’s County, Maryland, both the firefighter and the police officer of the year for 2016 are being given the awards posthumously.

“It’s bittersweet,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said of the yearly public safety valor awards. “The celebration of acts of personal sacrifice is tempered by the fact that Jacai was killed.”

Jacai Colson, 28, the Prince George’s County Police Officer of the Year, was killed in March 2016 during an ambush outside the station where he worked in Landover, Maryland.

Firefighter/Medic Lieutenant John E. Ulmschneider, 37, is the county’s firefighter of the year. He was fatally shot in April 2016 by a homeowner while responding to a 911 call.

Also being recognized is Firefighter/Medic Captain Christopher E. Hill, 47, who died of a form of cancer directly linked to firefighting.

“It’s an emotional, powerful day for all of us in this room,” Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday said of Wednesday’s public safety luncheon.

“Typically, these are just to honor the heroes. Today we’re [also] honoring three very special men who gave their lives for this community.”

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