January 8, 2016

Annual ceremony honors city police officers

cpdJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland City Deputy Chief Paul Sandy, right, congratulates Cortland Police Sgt. Dan Edwards on being named officer of the year at Thursday’s awards ceremony at City Hall.

Staff Reporter

Using the city courtroom as a gathering spot, Police Chief Michael Catalano and Deputy Chief Paul Sandy held the department’s annual awards and recognition ceremony to honor officers for the work they have done in the past year.
This year, however, the awards were given out in-house, a change from what the department typically does.
“We’ve always given out recognitions for the last three to four years at a venue sponsored by the Police Benevolent Association,” Catalano said Thursday. “The ceremony is based on the department’s planning of it; it’s new because of venue and it hasn’t ever been separated from the PBA.”
Cortland Police Benevolent Association is the city police union.
The department gave out 20 awards, with some duplicate winners, Catalano said. The awards consist of pins that are worn on the right side of an officer’s uniform, which were given out to 17 officers, certificates for accomplishments and a majority received letters of commendations.
Awards in the form of uniform pins were given out for valor, lifesaving, officer of the year and a service award, among others. Catalano said that these awards are not necessarily given out every year, since they are dependent on circumstances and occurrences of that year.
Sgt. Dan Edwards, a detective, was awarded the police department’s officer of the year award for “dropping everything to help out patrols,” managing and monitoring the sex offenders in Cortland and for working on “five notable cases.”
Multiple lifesaving awards were given this year, most of which were for officers administering Narcan, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids — particularly heroin — in an overdose to reverse the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by the opioids.
On June 6, Officers Steve White and Melissa Eccleston responded to a man who was bleeding profusely on a sidewalk on Main Street. White and Eccleston created a tourniquet with a belt to stop the flow of blood, ultimately saving the man’s life, for which they were given the lifesaving award.
Officers Adam Troyer, Ryan Gross, Nate Moran, Ryan Gross and Tony Natoli were given the lifesaving award for administering Narcan.
The valor award went to two officers who responded to a house fire on Madison Street on Dec. 13, 2014. Adam Troyer and Jared Aiken noticed a person was still inside the burning building. Both Troyer and Aiken ran into the building, putting themselves in danger, to pull the man out. The two were able to rescue the man from the smoke and flames, but he died a few days later from smoke inhalation.
Adam Troyer also won the PBA award for exemplary officer, an award separate from the department, which is the union’s equivalent of an “officer of the year award.” Every year, the winner’s name is etched in a plaque in police headquarters.
“You won’t see too many of these (valor awards) in our department,” Catalano said.
Lt. Rick Troyer was given the great service award for his exemplary leadership skills within the department and spearheading investigations. From August 2014 to November 2015, there were four homicides which Catalano called “unprecedented.” Catalano commended Troyer for his work on each case, where each of those cases ended with a “100 percent clearance rate,” Catalano said.
Catalano also gave out certificates of accomplishment, recognizing officers for most tickets and arrests made in various categories.
Of those winners were:
• Riley Ryan, 154 written tickets for Vehicle Traffic Enforcement
• Kyle Green, 10 DWI arrests
• Nick Moran, 68 violation arrests (for disturbances to quality of life, such as noise complaints and marijuana odor)
• Kyle Green, 54 misdemeanor arrests
• Joe Peters, 23 felony arrests
• Nate Moran, 38 warrants served
• Joe Peters, 313 parking tickets issued
Division commendations were awarded to the following officers for their involvement in various cases throughout the year that received attention from their supervisors who praised the way in which the officer aided a case.
Officers Melissa Eccleston, Ken Bush, Ben Locke, Al Greene, Derek Edick, Steve White, Ryan Riley, Nate Moran, Kyle Green, Jeff Fitts and Sgts. Mike Strangeway, Elizabeth Starr, Dan Edwards and Dan Johnson were awarded division commendations.
Many of these officers showed quick thinking in the field, dedication when gathering evidence and displayed exemplary interviewing skills to obtain statements and confessions from suspects in cases ranging from drug sales to homicides.
The city police department has 29 patrol officers, 10 sergeants and two lieutenants.
“This year has been a challenge year for all police officers,” Catalano said. “Nationwide, they are under extreme scrutiny and acts of force are taken out of proportion, I’m proud of what everybody does for the department here.”

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