New York State Police Hold Annual Awards Day Ceremony
The 43rd annual ceremony, held at the New York State Police Academy in Albany, paid tribute to the courage and perseverance of employees and sworn members of the agency.
Today’s awards ceremony immediately followed the State Police’s Annual Memorial
Day Service to honor the memory and service of deceased members of the State Police.
This year, State Police will recognize four members, former Superintendent Wayne E. Bennett, Sergeant/Station Commander Charles R. Salaway, Trooper Nicholas F. Clark, and Sergeant Jeremy J. VanNostrand.
Former Superintendent Bennett passed away on August 15, 2017, from an illness stemming from his assignment at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. He served as the 12th Superintendent of the New York State Police. Sergeant Salaway passed away from an illness stemming from his assignment at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Trooper Clark was killed on July 2, 2018, when he was shot responding to a report of a suicidal male. Sergeant VanNostrand was killed on November 27, 2018. He was reporting to work when his vehicle was struck from behind by a box truck, sending his car into oncoming traffic. He later died from his injuries at the hospital.
Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “Today, we recognize State Police employees; troopers, investigators and civilians, sworn and non-sworn, who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to this agency and the people of New York. Our honorees have shown tremendous bravery, dedication or leadership out on the road, or at one of our installations across the state. Every day our employees continue the fine tradition of the State Police and work to keep New Yorkers safe.”
The following awards were presented:
Brummer Award – Highest Award for Heroism
The Brummer Award, established in 1968 by Wall Street financier and philanthropist Bertram F. Brummer, represents valor, heroism, and outstanding performance of duty by members of the New York State Police. Inclusive of this year, the Brummer Award has been presented 102 times, including 14 times posthumously.
Trooper Nicholas F. Clark (Posthumously) – Troop E
On July 2, 2018, State Police, Corning Police and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office responded to Welch Road in the Town of Erwin, New York for a report of an armed suicidal subject. Trooper Nicholas F. Clark and a Steuben County Deputy took cover on the side of a detached garage. At approximately 4:46 a.m., the subject exited the rear door of the residence and shot at officers, killing Trooper Clark. Trooper Clark heroically responded to a dangerous call without hesitation, and bravely engaged the suspect, ultimately losing his life in the process. On the morning of July 2, 2018, Trooper Clark demonstrated the courage, strength and determination that characterized his career, and his life. Trooper Clark was a three-year-veteran of the New York State Police, assigned to SP Bath. He is survived by his parents and brother.
Superintendent’s Commendation Awards
The recipients of the Superintendent’s Commendation Awards were selected from the many members who have received Letters of Commendation from the Superintendent during the past year. The awards presented today recognize the recipients’ outstanding performance of duty and exceptional contribution to the New York State Police.
Trooper Troy Bullard – Troop A
Trooper Sean Mahony – Troop A
On September 13, 2018, Troopers Sean Mahony and Troy Bullard responded to the report of an overturned boat in a privately-owned pond in the town of Newstead. When they arrived, several people were performing CPR on an elderly victim, the individual’s fishing partner unaccounted for in the water. Troopers Mahony and Bullard removed their uniforms and entered the approximately 15-foot-deep water and started a systematic grid search. After reoccurring dives, Trooper Bullard located the second subject in approximately eight feet of water. The Troopers performed CPR and the victim was taken by boat to medical personnel. Sadly, both victims died, but those at the scene expressed their gratitude for Troopers Mahony and Bullard’s actions in attempting to save their friends.
Investigator Joshua D. Greenman – Troop C
On February 18, 2018, Investigator Joshua D. Greenman received a report of a student threat against teachers and students at Whitney Point High School. An investigation began, involving multiple witness interviews and depositions, as well as searches of premises, social media accounts and cell phones. The investigation culminated in the arrest of the suspect for making a terroristic threat. During the investigation, Investigator Greenman also identified another student of concern. Social media monitoring and a subpoena revealed the student was attempting to purchase a gun. A joint investigation resulted in the student confessing a detailed plan to conduct a mass shooting with the first student suspect at the high school. Investigator Greenman’s diligence, along with excellent investigative skills, thwarted a potential act of school violence.
Trooper Michael D. Petrie – Troop D
On January 14, 2018, Trooper Michael D. Petrie came upon a disabled vehicle on New Boston Road in the town of Sullivan. Trooper Petrie and the two occupants of the disabled vehicle were outside of their vehicles when a vehicle approached them. The operator attempted to slow, but lost control while rounding a curve. Trooper Petrie, without any disregard for his own safety, pushed both occupants of the disabled vehicle out of the path of the car, but was unable to completely avoid being struck by the vehicle. Luckily, Trooper Petrie suffered minor injuries. Trooper Petrie took every precaution, and his awareness of his surroundings, quick thinking, and heroic actions kept the occupants of the disabled vehicle out of harm’s way and saved his own life.
Trooper Ryan V. Benincasa – Troop F
In the early morning hours of September 7, 2018, Trooper Ryan V. Benincasa, along with an Ulster County Sheriff’s Deputy, responded to a domestic dispute on Krystal Lane in Plattekill. When responding, both men heard what sounded like gun shots in the distance and observed what appeared to be a fire west of their location. Trooper Benicasa and the deputy requested fire and EMS assistance and located a shed on fire with a nearby residence beginning to catch. The residence, a single wide trailer, was beginning to melt and fill with toxic smoke. Unable to gain access through the locked doors, Trooper Benincasa removed an air conditioning unit, allowing the Deputy to get inside and unlock the front door. The two braved the conditions, located the two elderly residents and helped them exit the residence.
Zone Sergeant Joseph J. Malorgio – Troop K
On April 24, 2018, at approximately 7:30 AM, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office was assigned to a two-car, head-on, personal injury auto accident, with one vehicle partially in a pond and the other on fire. Zone Sergeant Joseph J. Malorgio arrived first on scene and saw the operator of the vehicle in the pond had been helped from her car, while the driver of the other vehicle, heavily damaged and on fire, was still behind the wheel. Sergeant Malorgio immediately retrieved the fire extinguisher from his troop car and handed it to a civilian to use on the fire, while he attempted to remove the operator. With the driver’s side door damaged and the passenger door locked, he punched the window to gain entry to the vehicle. While Sergeant Malorgio entered the vehicle to free the occupant’s pinned legs, multiple fire extinguishers were used to put out the fire without success. In a last-ditch effort to hold back the flames, a volunteer firefighter placed his “turn out” gear on the dashboard. A fire truck finally arrived on scene and extinguished the fire and freed the driver from the vehicle. Thanks to the quick response, selfless efforts and teamwork of Zone Sergeant Malorgio and those who arrived on the scene, the operator of the vehicle survived and is recovering.
Trooper Michael G. Masino – Troop L
On September 19, 201 8, at approximately 5:1 l PM, the Riverhead Town Police Department was dispatched a call for an unconscious male, face down in the Peconic River near Grangabel Park in the town of Riverhead. Trooper Michael G Masino responded along with Riverhead Police and located the male subject approximately 25 feet from the shoreline. Trooper Masino entered the water to save the man. Trooper Masino and the Riverhead Officer pulled the man from the water and administered CPR. The man regained his pulse and started breathing on his own. The man ultimately survived.
Trooper Ross M. Batty – Troop T
Trooper John S. Kolach III – Troop T
On the evening of December 16, 2018, Trooper Ross M. Batty was assisting Trooper John S. Kolach at the scene of a property damage auto accident on the Berkshire Spur. Medical personnel arrived on scene and advised of a second accident where the vehicle left the roadway. Trooper Batty and Trooper Kolach responded to the second location and located a SUV, on its side, submerged in water and down a 250-foot embankment. Both Troopers scaled down the steep embankment and could hear a female screaming for help. They made their way through icy water and saw the woman was trapped, due to severe leg injuries. Troopers and EMS personnel were able to extricate the woman from the vehicle. The victim suffered several fractures to both legs and a broken hip, but her life was saved due to the quick response of Troopers Kolach and Batty.
Trooper Richard J. Woodcock – Troop E
On July 2, 2018, Trooper Richard J. Woodcock, along with other members of the New York State Police, personnel from the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office and the Corning Police Department, responded to a report of a barricaded suicidal subject. While Trooper Woodcock was positioned at the front of the residence, the suicidal subject exited the rear of the residence, and engaged troopers and deputies. Trooper Nicholas Clark was killed. The subject then retreated back into the residence and moments later, opened the front door, attempting to once again initiate conflict. Utilizing his patrol rifle, Trooper Woodcock shot and mortally wounded the subject. The subject – now physically unable to continue to fight – went back into the house where he committed suicide, prior to succumbing to his otherwise mortal wound. While this incident will forever be recognized as the tragic end to the brilliant life and career of Trooper Nick Clark, Trooper Woodcock’s actions prevented this subject from committing further acts of violence against other members of law enforcement or the public.
Trooper Kevin P. Dobson Traffic Safety Award
The Traffic Safety Award recognizes a member’s commitment to saving lives and reducing accidents through public education and enforcement. This award is made possible with the help of the New York State Trooper Foundation. The award is named in honor of the late Trooper Kevin P. Dobson who was killed on March 26, 2011 on Interstate 290 in the Town of Tonawanda, Erie County. While outside his patrol vehicle conducting a vehicle and traffic stop, Trooper Dobson was struck and killed by a passing motorist.
Trooper Robert Barksdale – Troop K
Trooper Robert E. Barksdale has epitomized traffic safety for most of the 30 years he has been a New York State Trooper. In 2018, Trooper Barksdale wrote 3,212 Uniform Traffic Tickets, the highest number in Division. As per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2017, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of fatal motor vehicle collisions. Of the tickets Trooper Barksdale issued in 2018, 2,144 were speeding citations. After more than 30 years of service, Trooper Barksdale shows no signs of slowing down and is the perfect example of a motivated Trooper.
George M. Searle Memorial Award
The George M. Searle Memorial Award, established to honor the late Deputy Superintendent George M. Searle, is presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves in training and education.
Senior Investigator Joseph R. Auriemma Jr. – Troop F
Investigator Joseph R. Auriemma began his career with the Division in 1999, becoming an investigator in 2006. His supervisors have said Investigator Auriemma’s knowledge, energy, and willingness to get involved, makes everyone around him better at all levels. What began as a guide for Investigator Auriemma and a few members has now evolved into a legitimate guidebook for investigators. This guide has been accepted by the Director of Training at the State Police Basic School and is used in many training platforms from the Academy to advanced investigative training. Investigator Auriemma created, continually maintains, and improves this document – largely on his own time – without being asked to do so, which is consistent with the energy he brings to his work every day.
Trooper William V. McDonagh Award
This award was established in honor of the late Trooper William McDonagh, who was killed in the line of duty on December 14, 1975. Trooper McDonagh actively participated in community events and this award recognizes State Police members for their exceptional community service efforts.
Trooper Fabio D. Daino – Troop L
Trooper Fabio D. Daino is an 18-year-veteran of the State Police assigned to Troop L, SP Riverside. Over the years, through his work as a Trooper and his community involvement, he has become a fixture on Long Islands East End. Through his enforcement efforts, his role reconstructing accidents, as a field training officer, motorcycle operator, or State Police drone pilot, Trooper Daino is highly visible in Troop L. Trooper Daino has used his knowledge and exposure to give back to the communities he serves. He is an advisor to the Southampton Town Police’s Explorer Program. His role involves everything from basic presentations about law enforcement, to soliciting donations and helping underprivileged youth shop for school supplies each school year. Trooper Daino does the same for clothing and toys during the holiday season during his off hours. Trooper Daino is also involved with the local Boy Scout Troop in Wading River, helping with merit badges and lectures on topics like traffic safety and the dangers of impaired driving. It is evident through his daily work, and his commitment to community service, that Trooper Daino represents the spirit of Trooper William McDonagh.
Superintendent’s Unit Citation Award
This award was established to recognize the outstanding efforts made by members of a particular unit or detail.
Troop G – Forensic Identification Unit/Collision Reconstruction Unit
The Troop G Forensic Identification Unit consists of four investigators assigned to the Forensic Identification Unit, two investigators and a trooper assigned to the Collision Reconstruction Unit, and one investigator and trooper assigned to the Evidence Vault.
During 2018, the Troop G FIU responded to many serious cases ranging from homicides to kidnapping, to one of the most serious traffic fatalities ever seen in New York State. They examined hundreds of latent prints, handled thousands of pieces of evidence, and reconstructed dozens of auto accidents. All of these things are labor intensive. Without the solid work of the Troop G FIU, many significant criminal cases from inside the Division and the many agencies the unit assists could never be successfully prosecuted. Their work is often the sole bond between conviction and acquittal, and the most frequently attacked and scrutinized during cross-examination. A mishandled piece of evidence, an improperly documented crime scene, or a mathematical error can turn a certain conviction into an acquittal. The fact that so many of the cases the Troop G FIU has worked on have resulted in indictments, convictions and significant prison time speaks to the thorough work this unit does.
Members of all three units provided grand jury and criminal court testimony in cases in a number of courts throughout Troop G, as well as Federal Court. Members also provide instruction throughout the year to NYSP members, law enforcement officers from outside agencies, and students in topics such as Crime Scene Investigation, Motor Vehicle Collision Investigation, Latent Print Examination, and Crime Scene Photography, at the NYSP Academy, Zone 5 Law Enforcement Academy and various educational institutions throughout the Troop.
Supervisor Recognition Award
This award recognizes the outstanding work ethic demonstrated by both sworn and non-sworn supervisors who coordinate and oversee various units within the State Police.
Senior Investigator Darren D. Daughtry – SIU – JTTF- NYC
Senior Investigator Daµghtry has served the Division for more than 28 years. He has been assigned to the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force for more than 12 years, eight in a supervisory capacity, coordinating and overseeing the efforts of the NYSP members assigned to the various JTTF squads in NYC. He is unquestionably Division’s point person regarding terrorism and related intelligence matters spanning NYC, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island. Senior Investigator Daughtry has time and time again stepped up and been the conduit of very sensitive information and intelligence between our federal and state partners and Division Command Staff, often in very trying circumstances.
Between 2016 and 2018, Senior Investigator Daughtry’s leadership and work ethic where highlighted in his responses to five terrorist attacks in NYC. In 2018, he worked around the clock for eight straight days at the JTTF Command Center in furtherance of an investigation into mail bombs being sent across the U.S. Senior Investigator Daughtry also played a critical when a shrapnel filled pressure cooker bomb was planted in Chelsea, when a white supremacist attacked an African American victim, and in the the West Side Highway vehicle ramming attack on October 31, and the attempt to detonate a suicide bomb between subway lines at Times Square and the Port Authority. Senior Investigator Daughtry directed and supervised task force members conducting investigative leads in each of these cases as well as provided Division Executives with appropriate updates as the operational responses and investigations unfolded. Senior Investigator Daughtry’s relentless drive, integrity, collaborative spirit and leadership skills have earned him the highest regard from our agency executives as well as our partners at the JTTF NYC.
Mr. James Kennedy – Academy
Mr. Kennedy is the Director of the New York State Police Video Production Unit, which he assisted in creating. Mr. Kennedy started his career with the State Police in October of 1984 as an intern, tasked with creating a Video Production Unit whose responsibilities were to produce SP Academy training videos and Basic School recruit videos. Mr. Kennedy played a pivotal role during his time with the New York State Police. Over the almost 35 years since starting the unit, he adapted the unit to the changing needs of Division.
From video training programs and commercials, to video documentation of major crime scenes throughout the State and forensic multimedia analysis, the modern Forensic Video/Multimedia Services Unit is now 10 members. 2018 represented the largest case load with almost every major case offering some type of digital evidence for the Unit. Including the Troy quadruple homicide case, major cases included four officer involved shootings, twenty-eight homicides, three crime scene re-enactments and 17 court assignments across New York State.
Civilian Employee Recognition Award
The Civilian Employee Recognition Award is presented to civilian employees who have made significant contributions to the Division of State Police.
Ms. Heather Charpentier – Computer Forensics Lab
Ms. Heather Charpentier is a Computer Forensic Analyst III who has been with State Police sine 2015. CFA III Charpentier is often relied upon for her knowledge, expertise, and research ability by the entire New York State Police Computer Crime Unit. Her ability to locate, analyze, and explain data is critical to the successful prosecution of some of the state’s most heinous criminals including those who prey on our children. In 2018 alone, her work has led to convictions that would never otherwise been obtained. She is regarded as a point of contact for members of the digital forensic community for her strong technical knowledge of mobile and computer forensics. Every day, Ms. Charpentier answers highly technical digital and investigative questions from State Police employees. She is able to balance the dispensing of knowledge with her case load responsibilities. She regularly goes above and beyond to find solutions to tough digital forensic challenges.
For further details regarding any of the incidents depicted in the narratives above, please contact the respective Troop Headquarters and Troop PIO.