State Police hold annual Memorial and Award Ceremonies in Albany

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11 May 2022
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Kevin P. Bruen
Superintendent
PRESS RELEASE

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen commended and recognized 21 individuals and one Division unit for bravery, investigative persistence, police education, traffic safety, community service and overall exceptional contributions in this year’s New York State Police Annual Awards.

The 46th year for the awards, they pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of employees and sworn members of the agency.

Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Today, we take the time to congratulate and recognize State Police employees who consistently show their perseverance and dedication to our agency and state. These members and civilians honored today – are the best of an agency filled with brave and courageous leaders who are diligent and ready to serve. To our award recipients, I thank you for selflessly putting others first and making New York State a better place to live.”

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 104 times, including 14 times posthumously.

Trooper Robert P. Stawicki – Troop D

On December 15, 2021, Troopers Robert Stawicki and Alec Nelson were dispatched to a house fire located in the town of Schroeppel. Upon arrival, they found the home fully engulfed in flames. Trooper Stawicki ran to the front of the residence, and without hesitation, entered the structure. He observed an unconscious child approximately eight feet inside the residence, and with flames rolling over his head, he pulled the child to the outside. The child was unresponsive, so Trooper Stawicki immediately administered CPR while Trooper Nelson continued to search the property for additional survivors and awaited the arrival of medical personnel.   Trooper Stawicki’s quick thinking and valiant efforts kept the child alive at the scene. His courage under duress was remarkable. Sadly, the child ultimately succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Trooper Stawicki’s courage is honored here today with his selection as recipient of the Brummer Award.

 

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 Joseph M. Butler – Troop A

On February 12, 2021, Trooper Butler rescued a wheelchair-bound woman in Cattaraugus County who could not escape the fire that fully engulfed her home. Despite the danger, and before any other first responder was on scene, he rushed into the smoke-filled home. Aided only by the cries of the resident to guide him, he successfully located and pushed her to safety. Despite the volume of smoke and intensity of the fire, that elderly resident escaped with minor injuries because of Trooper Butler’s immediate and heroic actions.

Zone Sergeant Bryan C. Meehan – Troop C

Within a single month, June 2021, two of Troop C Zone Sergeant Meehan’s Troopers were shot during separate incidents. Despite the volatility of the situations and being wounded by shrapnel himself during the first incident, he masterfully took command of each situation. Not only did his actions ensure the safe evacuation of the wounded Troopers, but his instructions ensured the safe cover of the other responding personnel. As supervisors, a Sergeant’s most important job is to lead and protect the lives of their Troopers. Zone Sergeant Meehan’s control over these dangerous and highly stressful situations resulted in the apprehension of the suspects and the prevention of further tragedies.

Trooper Timothy J. Nanry – Troop E

On April 16, 2021, Trooper Nanry was deployed in support of the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force to execute a parole arrest warrant in the city of Rochester. After observing the subject briefly exit the location and then go back inside, Trooper Nanry breached the door and observed an open kitchen drawer. Earlier, a resident of that building stated the subject was in the basement of the building armed with a knife. Trooper Nanry, additional Troopers, and a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, entered the basement. When they heard commotion from behind a door, they opened the door and Trooper Nanry observed the subject lunging at him with a butcher knife in his hand.  Trooper Nanry evaded the subject’s swipe, but the subject continued lunging at the other responding officers with the knife, prompting Trooper Nanry to discharge his firearm, striking, and immobilizing the subject. First aid was rendered to the subject, who was then transported to the hospital for treatment. Trooper Nanry’s swift actions resulted in the incapacitation and apprehension of this violent suspect.

Trooper David M. Rogers – Troop B

Trooper Shannon J. Saunders – Troop B

On December 6, 2020, Troopers Rogers and Saunders deployed to the scene of a Schuyler Falls incident involving a suicidal subject. Upon arrival, Trooper Saunders worked with the officers on-scene to determine whether the subject possessed a firearm. Trooper Saunders moved to a position on the property allowing him to observe and engage the subject in conversation. When the subject demanded that Troopers bring his girlfriend to the scene so he could kill her, Trooper Saunders responded that the request was unreasonable. As he did so, the subject then threatened to kill the responding officers, aiming and firing his shotgun outside the window in the direction of Trooper Saunders and a Clinton County Deputy. Troopers Rogers and Saunders returned fire, striking the subject who retreated further into the residence. After several repeated orders to surrender, the subject emerged from the home, was rendered first aid, and taken into custody. The subject ultimately pled guilty to Attempted Aggravated Assault Upon a Police Officer and received a 12-year prison sentence.

Trooper Rebecca C. Seager – Troop C

On June 9, 2021, Trooper Seager was completing her shift at the SP Binghamton station when she became aware of a “shots fired” call in the Town of Colesville, Broome County.  Despite being just minutes away from ending her shift and returning to the safety of her home and family, Trooper Seager, knowing that fellow Troopers and law enforcement officers were in potential danger, instead put on her ballistic rifle plates, retrieved her patrol rifle, re-packed her Troop car and headed to the call.  One quarter mile from the scene, she exited her patrol car to advise an uninvolved motorist that he needed to leave the area due to the dangerous situation that lay ahead.  As Trooper Seager walked back to her patrol car, she was shot by the suspect in the left hip with a .270 rifle round.  The suspect had been hiding in the nearby woods. Although seriously injured and unable to walk, Trooper Seager had the presence of mind to use her elbows to drag herself on the ground, take cover on the passenger side of her Troop car, and radio for help.  Trooper Seager’s display of bravery and dedication to duty are what merit her receiving the Superintendent’s Commendation Award.

Trooper Ryan D. Thorp – Troop C

On June 23, 2021, Trooper Thorp responded to a shots fired domestic violence incident in Deposit. Upon arrival, he immediately interviewed the victim about the incident and suspect and secured her in a neighbor’s home. While attempting to radio back information to responding patrols, Trooper Thorp was shot in the arm by the suspect. Despite being seriously wounded, Trooper Thorp advised 911 of the shots fired, and took cover until additional Troopers’ arrival. After firing an additional round in an unknown direction, the subject emerged from the residence and was taken into custody. Without the courageous action and information Trooper Thorp provided to responding officers, this incident may have resulted in further casualties.

Trooper Andre S. Wiley – Troop D

On September 14, 2021, Trooper Wiley responded to a residential fire in the town of Van Buren. Upon arrival, Trooper Wiley learned from a neighbor that there was an 81-year-old resident unaccounted for.  Despite arriving ahead of the fire department and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the engulfed home, without hesitation Trooper Wiley entered the structure, and located the unresponsive woman on the second floor. He carried her to safety outside where she regained consciousness. Because of Trooper Wiley’s heroic actions, this woman survived and is expected to make a full recovery.

Investigator Vincent S. Delango – Troop NYC

Investigator Vincent Delango is a 22-year veteran of New York State Police and has served on the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City since 2017.  His exemplary performance of duty and commitment to fighting terrorism uphold the finest traditions of the New York State Police.

Trooper Nathan J. Chernewsky – Troop K

On July 15, 2021, Trooper Chernewsky responded to a suicidal subject call in the town of New Lebanon. Immediately recognizing both the volatility of the situation and the armed female subject, he ensured the safety of arriving officers and emergency personnel by communicating the potential threat, directing them to establish a secure perimeter, all while taking cover. When the subject became agitated, aiming her firearm at Trooper Chernewsky and another Trooper, and refusing to comply with commands to disarm, he took the necessary action to contain the subject, and then immediately rendered first aid, which contributed to her survival. Trooper Chernewsky’s composure and leadership in this situation merits his receipt of the Superintendent’s Commendation Award.

Trooper Daniel W. Engel – Troop F

Trooper Justin D. Tosi – Troop F

On September 12, 2021, Troopers Daniel W. Engel and Justin D. Tosi responded to a domestic dispute call in the Town of Deerpark. A man who menaced citizens with a handgun had fled into the woods prior to patrol’s arrival. Shortly thereafter, a round from a firearm was heard in the woods. A perimeter was immediately established, and the suspect was observed on the wood line before fleeing back into the woods. To contain the subject within a perimeter, Troopers Tosi and Engel formed the initial core search team that headed down a private road on foot. While searching a nearby vacant property, Trooper Engel was fired upon ambush-style by the suspect who had hidden in a small travel trailer.  Without hesitation, and without the element of surprise, Trooper Tosi skillfully engaged the subject with long arms, suppressing the attack and allowing Trooper Engel to reach the safety of cover. The Troopers then functioned as a team, exchanging gunfire with the suspect, wounding the suspect and keeping him at bay until his eventual surrender.  The Troopers’ quick reaction and grace under fire kept an armed and dangerous felon from escape, and ultimately led to his arrest.

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, Troop A, 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 Michael M. Slawek – Troop A

Trooper Slawek of SP Jamestown joined the New York State Police in October 2016. Throughout his career, Trooper Slawek embraced Division’s mission of enforcing highway and traffic safety.  During 2021, Trooper Slawek made 43 Driving While Intoxicated arrests and issued 818 traffic tickets, an average of 6.68 per patrol day.  Trooper Slawek’s outstanding commitment to traffic safety is also reflected by the special certifications he possesses as a Drug Recognition Expert and Breath Test Operator, providing invaluable expertise and assistance to other Members’ investigations and efforts to remove unsafe drivers from our roads.

 

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.

Lieutenant Colonel George K. Nohai – Division Headquarters

Technical Sergeant Richard A. Ellis – Academy

Technical Sergeant Philip D. Shappy- Academy

In 2020, NYS enacted Executive Law 234 requiring that the New York State Police deploy body-worn cameras in 2021.  This law required all Troopers on patrol to have a body-worn camera (BWC) to document all citizen interactions and any use of force. Beginning as the Chief of Staff and continuing into Administration, Lieutenant Colonel Nohai worked tirelessly as the leader of this massive project to coordinate amongst stakeholders and impacted State Police sections, to establish the Division body-worn camera program, policy, and training curriculum. Technical Sergeants Ellis and Shappy developed and implemented a comprehensive training curriculum for the new BWC program. This entailed significant research into other agencies’ training programs, collaboration across many Details and stakeholders, production of training standards and multimedia training materials, all while meeting a very short deadline. When it was time for implementation, they also trained the large cadre of instructors needed to deliver the field training and served as Troop instructors for several regions. For their leadership and tireless efforts, Lieutenant Colonel Nohai, Technical Sergeants Ellis and Shappy are co-recipients of the George M. Searle Memorial Award.

 

Trooper William V. McDonagh Community Service Award

This award was established in honor of the late Trooper William McDonagh, Troop F, 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 Todd A. Claremont

Trooper Claremont’s personal and professional life was the embodiment of service to his community, the New York State Police, and to the citizens we serve. Starting his law enforcement career in 1994 with the Saranac Lake Village Police Department, he assumed community outreach roles as a Child Passenger Safety Seat Technician, a DARE Officer and Instructor, boat patrol member, amongst other functions. When he became a Member of the New York State Police in 2002, he brought this energy for the job and community service to Division, adding State Police Youth Program Counselor, ATV/UTV Operator, and Division Snowmobile Operator to his repertoire. He also stayed active with the Special Olympics Torch Run and many other State Police community service events. His service did not stop there. He was also a devoted firefighter for more than 30 years. All of these functions kept him connected to and serving the Adirondack community he loved. The energy, selflessness, and dedication he brought to every aspect of his working life and the communities he served are being honored through his receipt of this award.

 

Superintendent’s Unit Citation Award

This award was established to recognize the outstanding efforts made by members of a particular unit or detail.

Business Integration Services Unit (BISU)

The Members of the Business Integration Services Unit (BISU) demonstrate a work ethic and level of professionalism that reflects highly on the New York State Police. Specifically, as part of the State Police’s new body-worn camera (BWC) program, the BISU was tasked with implementing this unprecedented and time-sensitive initiative. Despite their existing support responsibilities and the unprecedented scope and complexity of the project, the members of the BISU, in conjunction with the NYSP Portfolio Management Office (PMO), developed a detailed and comprehensive implementation plan to deploy more than 3000 body-worn cameras to the field. Based upon their unparalleled productivity while working under extremely difficult conditions and for their contributions to the overall success of the project, the BISU is receiving the Unit Citation Award.

 

Supervisor Recognition Award (Sworn)

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.

First Sergeant Lawrence Wood (Retired)

First Sergeant Lawrence Wood is receiving the Supervisor’s Recognition Award not for a single act or specific event, but rather for his years of dedication and service to Troop NYC.  He was a First Sergeant in the truest sense of the position.  Dedicated and loyal to the Troop Commander, highly efficient, and always two steps ahead.  Leader and supervisor, mentor and disciplinarian, Troop over self. Unlike the other Troops, Troop NYC has a civilian staff of only three.  This means that duties and responsibilities normally performed by a civilian were the responsibility of the First Sergeant.  During his tenure, First Sergeant Wood served as the de facto Principal Clerk, Leave Clerk, Quartermaster, Records Clerk, and Administrative Assistant.  These tasks were performed in addition to the traditional responsibilities of the First Sergeant, including the planning, organization, and execution of four annual parades with more than 150 State Police Members participating in each.   First Sergeant Wood truly demonstrated his skill and leadership ability during the establishment of a uniform presence in Troop NYC.  Since its formal inception in 1992, Troop NYC has been predominately staffed with Members of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).  In 2017 a decision was made to add a permanent Uniformed Force to the Troop.  This task essentially required a complete overhaul of the existing Troop structure and rebuilding from the ground up.  Posts and assignments were created.  Station facilities and patrol vehicles were acquired.  Relationships with other agencies, specifically the New York City Police Department and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, were established and fostered.  Communications, Traffic, Emergency Management, and Firearms sections were created.  Training was provided.  This brief paragraph does not adequately explain the level of effort required to make all of this happen.  While the upper echelon of Troop NYC Command changed over the years, the only constant uniformed Member was First Sergeant Wood. Although he would never seek public recognition, it is only fitting that he is honored for his contributions to Troop NYC.

 

Supervisor Recognition Award (Non-Sworn)

Mr. Bradley Brown – Supervisor, Forensic Services

Mr. Brown has served in Division for more than 21 years. He supervises the Forensic Investigation Center’s Firearms Unit. He led the unit through a staggering 174% caseload increase since 2019, with the Unit culling through thousands of pieces of evidence all while enduring staffing shortages. Under Mr. Brown’s supervision, this Unit enhanced its training protocols, enhanced their workflows to maximize efficiency and maintain quality, all while fostering a positive team environment. As testimony to his work ethic, he is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and work alongside his team. He continues to meet every challenge with professionalism and high standards, which is why he is honored today with this award.

 

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. Melissa J. Weingaertner – Administrative Assistant 1

As one of only six non-sworn members assigned to Troop K Administrative Services, Ms. Weingaertner routinely performs work across several areas. Over the past two years, Troop K Headquarters lost its entire cleaning staff, and the Administrative Assistants for both the Troop Commander and BCI Captain. Ms. Weingaertner’s extraordinary commitment to the Division mission prompted her to voluntarily change her shift so she could perform the functions of these vacancies, functions well outside of her regular responsibilities, to minimize disruption to Troop K’s operations. In addition, her efforts to train new administrative personnel hired late in 2021 quickly and seamlessly integrated them into office work. Ms. Weingaertner exemplifies dedication to the Division mission.

 

Author: Harlem Valley News