- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006

A former D.C. fire cadet assigned to the firehouse that routinely provides support for helicopter landings at the vice president’s mansion was reinstated this month after being arrested twice on charges of drug possession, distribution and resisting arrest last year.

Kevin. E. Steve, 23, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County in October to possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana. He was handed an 18-month suspended sentence and placed on probation for two years.

The sentence stemmed from a June 14 incident in which police stopped Steve at about 11 p.m. in Silver Spring for driving 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. According to charging documents, a search of Steve’s car turned up a paper bag filled with 17 baggies containing white pills that police later determined were the drug Ecstasy and 12 small baggies containing marijuana.

Steve was carrying $795 in cash, and two burned marijuana cigarettes were in the ashtray.

Two months later, on Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. in Capitol Heights, two Prince George’s County police officers on routine patrol saw Steve sitting on a parked motorcycle that had its plates turned inward. The officers thought the motorcycle might be stolen and approached Steve to ask him about it.

According to court records, Steve backed away from the officers as they approached. When an officer ordered him to stop backing away, Steve ran down a hill.

“As he ran, he reached to the front of his pants and grabbed his waist line,” one of the officers stated in court records. The officer said Steve fell, “simultaneously throwing the contents of his pockets to the ground.”

The officer said he ordered Steve to lie on his stomach and put his hands on his head.

“The defendant refused, remaining on his side, and reaching for his waistband,” the officer said. “I then employed the use of my … baton, striking the defendant in his upper arm, ordering him again onto his stomach.”

At that point, Steve complied.

Police recovered two Ziplock bags containing about $80 worth of marijuana, $1,201 in cash and three cell phones.

Steve was charged with a felony count of intent to distribute marijuana, as well as possession of marijuana and resisting arrest.

On Sept. 27, a judge dismissed the felony charge in exchange for Steve’s entry into a drug-treatment program. Prosecutors dropped the remaining misdemeanor charges in December .

Sources in the fire department say that after the charges were dropped, Steve was made to sign a “last-chance agreement,” meaning that if he got into any more trouble, he would be fired.

Steve returned March 6 to his assignment with Truck 2, which is housed at the quarters of Engine 1 at 2225 M St. NW.

Truck 2 and Engine 1 are part of a detail that responds to helicopter landings at the vice president’s mansion on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in upper Northwest.

Firefighters say responses to the mansion are routine and can occur as often as two or three times a week.

Eric Zahren, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, declined to comment on the situation or on the agency’s screening process, other than to say that federal officials work in partnership with local authorities, who provide the personnel for such details.

D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said there are no additional screening requirements for firefighters who work on details with sensitive security requirements.

Steve joined the fire department through the troubled cadet class of 2001.

The Washington Times recently reported that another member of the federally funded cadet program, which gives jobs to at-risk youth, was charged with two counts of murder in Prince George’s County after DNA connected him to the 2003 killings of two elderly women in a Suitland flower shop.

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