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30 May 2018
New York State Police hold 42nd annual Memorial and Award Ceremonies
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
George P. Beach II
Director of Public Information
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II commended and recognized 18 individuals and one Division unit for bravery, investigative persistence, police education, traffic safety, community service and overall exceptional contributions at the New York State Police Annual Awards Day Ceremony.
The 42nd 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 recognized three members, Trooper Darryl J. Burroughs Sr., Trooper Joel R. Davis and Trooper Michael J. Anson.
Trooper Burroughs entered into service retirement from the New York State Police after 28 years of service on July 31, 2011. On May 25, 2016, Trooper Burroughs passed away from an illness stemming from his assignment at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Trooper Davis was killed on July 9, 2017, when he was shot responding to a domestic disturbance. Trooper Anson died January 2, 2018, from cancer stemming from his assignment to the World Trade Center Site, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011.
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 101 times, including 13 times posthumously.
Trooper Joel R. Davis (Posthumously) – Troop D
On July 9, 2017, at approximately 8:09 PM, Jefferson County 911 received a telephone call regarding a domestic dispute in the town of Theresa. Trooper Joel R. Davis was dispatched and was the first on scene. Trooper Davis parked his patrol car several hundred feet south of the driveway of the residence, approached the scene on foot with his Division issued patrol rifle, utilizing a hedge row for concealment. Trooper Davis entered the driveway of the residence and was immediately struck in the chest by a round fired by the suspect, Justin Walters.
As the other responding Troopers arrived, Walters was standing in the driveway with his hands-up, and was taken into custody. Members observed Trooper Davis lying unresponsive in the ditch, immediately requested EMS and rendered aid to Trooper Davis until medical personnel arrived. Trooper Davis was transported to Samaritan Medical Center where he died.
During a property search, the suspect’s wife was found deceased in the driveway and a friend was found in a building on the grounds, with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to her back. Two children were also located in the building, unharmed. Walters was charged in the death of his wife and Trooper Davis.
Trooper Joel R. Davis joined the State Police in 2013 and was assigned to SP Philadelphia in Troop D. Prior to the State Police, Trooper Davis served for 10 years with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
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 Michael S. Kohan -Troop B
Trooper Roger W. Lind – Troop B
On February 17, 2017, Trooper Kohan of SP Tupper Lake and Trooper Lind of SP Indian Lake, attempted to rescue a snowmobiler who had fallen through the ice on Long Lake in Hamilton County. During the rescue efforts, Trooper Kohan fell through the ice and was submerged in the freezing water for approximately seven minutes. Trooper Lind arrived and took decisive action, along with members of the Indian Lake Fire and Rescue, which ultimately saved the lives of Trooper Kohan and the initial victim.
Trooper Thomas E. Miller - Troop D
On July 4, 2017, Trooper Thomas E. Miller, SP Carthage, received a call for a structure fire on Frances Street in the village of Carthage. At the scene, he observed a home fully engulfed in flames and was told a woman and children were still in a basement bedroom. With the front of the home on fire, Trooper Miller, along with a Carthage firefighter, ran to the back of the home. Once there, Trooper Miller broke a ground level window and went into the basement, locating a female subject and a five-year-old child. The female stated she had an eight-year-old daughter asleep in a second floor bedroom. Trooper Miller made his way to the second floor and located the child. Trooper Miller wrapped the girl in a blanket and carried her back to the main floor where two firefighters were able to kick open the front door and the child was treated by EMS.
Trooper Aaron C. Eastwood – Troop D
On May 16, 2017, Trooper Eastwood, SP Pulaski, responded to a call of a boat in distress at the Oneida River Dam in Caughdenoy, with two males trapped, one, a paraplegic. Trooper Eastwood responded and observed a 19-foot Ranger fishing boat taking on water, caught in the current and pinned to one of the floodgate channels. Trooper Eastwood and an Oswego County Sheriff’s Deputy, jumped down onto the boat where they were able to level the stem of the boat. While on board, Trooper Eastwood crawled under the flood channel and moved the boat's damaged trolling motor and bow seat, allowing the boat to pass through to the west side of the dam. Trooper Eastwood then tied a strap to a cleat on the boat's bow, took off his boots and vest, and dove into the river. While attempting to swim to shore, he ran out of line but made efforts to get to land. He was able to find a calm, shallow spot near a bridge abutment to pull the boat. Once to shore, Trooper Eastwood and the Deputy carried the paraplegic subject up the river bank, along with the help of Caughdenoy Fire Department members.
Trooper Jeffrey B. Shiposh - Troop E
On October 26, 2017, Trooper Shiposh, SP Wellsburg, monitored a radio transmission of a vehicle pursuit involving a city of Elmira Police Officer, attempting to apprehend an armed robbery suspect. He immediately responded to assist and when the pursuit traveled outside of the city of Elmira, Trooper Shiposh took over as the lead pursuing vehicle. The suspect discharged several rounds from his handgun, striking Trooper Shiposh’s patrol vehicle. Trooper Shiposh used his patrol vehicle to force the vehicle off the road and into a ditch. During the short foot pursuit, the suspect pointed his gun at an Elmira police officer and was subsequently shot and killed without injury to any innocent party.
Trooper Adam J. Ferstand -Troop F
Trooper Brian G. Kieckhafer – Troop T
Trooper Kareem B. Washington – Troop F
On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at approximately 12:30 pm, Trooper Ferstand, assigned to SP Montgomery, received a report of a suspicious person on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Trooper Ferstand responded to the scene and met with Trooper Kieckhafer of SP Newburgh, and Trooper Washington of SP Middletown. The three Members approached the female subject and questioned her about being on the bridge. The subject stated she was merely walking, was not suicidal, and gave no indication she was intending to harm herself. The members concluded there was no reason to detain the subject, and advised her she could continue on her way. Trooper Ferstand watched the subject as she walked away, who suddenly jumped on and climbed over the six-foot high fence separating the walkway from the river below. Trooper Ferstand rushed over and was able to grab hold of the subject as she attempted to jump into the river. Troopers Washington and Kieckhafer ran to the woman, jumped over the fence and struggled with her as she attempted to jump. The members were able to restrain the woman and she was lifted back over the fence to safety.
Trooper Jason A. Dutcher - Troop G
On November 4, 2017, Trooper Dutcher, assigned to SP Princetown, was alerted by a passing motorist of a structure fire on Broadway in the town of Rotterdam. Trooper Dutcher responded to the location and began to assist with evacuating residents from the three-story building. Trooper Dutcher was advised there was a male subject still in a third-floor apartment. Trooper Dutcher entered the stairway and climbed to the third floor where he located a male tenant. Trooper Dutcher advised the tenant he had to exit the apartment and began to lead the man down the stairway when he broke free and ran back into the smoke-filled apartment. Trooper Dutcher followed the male, who was heavily intoxicated, and physically removed him from the building.
Investigator Kevin E. Noto - Troop G
On May 15, 1995, the body of Suzanne Nauman was located on the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, the victim of a brutal homicide. This case was originally investigated by the Schenectady Police Department, who arrested a suspect for the homicide a year later. However, citing a lack of evidence, the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute and the Nauman homicide became a cold case. In 2015, as part of the Troop G Major Crimes Unit, Investigator Noto was assigned to review the Nauman homicide. During the next two years, he interviewed numerous individuals, examined physical evidence and volumes of case files. As a result, Investigator Noto determined Ms. Nauman's homicide contained strong resemblances to another 1995 Schenectady homicide. A suspect in that case, Stanley Maciag, was identified and arrested for unrelated crimes, and committed suicide in prison in 1997. Knowing there was suspect DNA evidence obtained during Nauman's autopsy, Investigator Noto located two living relatives of Maciag, who provided swabs for purposes of doing a familial comparison to this profile. The results determined a high probability that the two individuals were related to suspect Stanley Maciag. A search warrant was obtained to exhume the body of Maciag to compare DNA samples. The DNA was a match to Maciag, proving his responsibility for the death of Suzanne Nauman, 22 years after her murder.
Trooper Jeffrey D. Still - Troop K
On September 15, 2017, Trooper Still, SP Stormville, was off duty and enroute to Ocean City, Maryland when he witnessed a serious personal injury auto accident in Delaware. An elderly woman attempted to make a U-turn across three lanes of traffic, striking a motorcycle, ejecting the operator and passenger, severing their right legs. Trooper Still immediately stopped and began to render first aid by placing a tourniquet on the male victim, while another individual assisted by placing a tourniquet on the female passenger. Trooper Still was told the elderly female was attempting to leave the scene. Trooper Still identified himself and took her keys to keep her from departing until the arrival of the Delaware State Troopers. Both victims recovered from their injuries.
Trooper Jean A. D’Haiti - Troop L
On February 15, 2017, Trooper D’Haiti, SP Valley Stream, stopped a motorist for texting while driving on the Southern State Parkway. Trooper D'Haiti discovered the operator's license and the vehicle's registration were both suspended and he informed the operator the vehicle would be impounded. The operator refused to surrender the vehicle's keys, forcing Trooper D'Haiti to attempt to seize them. A struggle ensued. While Trooper D'Haiti was partially inside the vehicle, the operator accelerated and drove 300 feet across three lanes of the Parkway with the member hanging onto the car door. The vehicle crashed into the concrete highway divider and Trooper D'Haiti's head struck the door frame, as the driver attempted to run. Despite having been dragged across the highway by a car and bleeding severely from his injuries, Trooper D'Haiti took the suspect into custody, moved out of the roadway, and secured the subject until backup arrived.
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 Kenneth M. Ahigian Jr. – Troop G
Trooper Ahigian, SP Northway, issued more than 1,900 traffic citations in 2017 putting him in the top 10 Troopers statewide for Vehicle and Traffic Law arrests. In addition, Trooper Ahigian completed 158 vehicle search reports, conducted 304 Penal Law arrests, 46 of which were felony arrests, and made 40 Driving While Intoxicated arrests. Through the arrests he conducted, the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC) was provided with valuable information used to produce critical intelligence, leading Trooper Ahigian to make significant drug arrests. Most noteworthy, Trooper Ahigian stopped a vehicle with 600 bags of heroin containing the narcotic, Fentanyl, and has arrested dealers responsible for flooding communities with dangerous, illegal drugs.
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 Thomas E. Gibbons - CSAVU
Senior Investigator Gibbons, assigned to the Campus Sexual Assault Victims Unit, has received hundreds of hours of specialized training pertaining to the investigation of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. He has also obtained training in responding to and interviewing victims of trauma, particularly victims of sexual violence. Senior Investigator Gibbons has established himself as a subject matter authority and has taken his knowledge and experience to develop a detailed training curriculum that he uses to provide instruction in the topics of healthy relationships, bystander intervention and trauma informed investigation.
Senior Investigator Gibbons has trained well over 5,000 people including law enforcement officers, college and university students, high school students, parents and other members of the community in his region. He has also embraced the concept of collaboration by participating in joint trainings with schools and organizations to combat sexual violence on college campuses.
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.
Lieutenant Richard F. Anguish – Troop G
Lieutenant Anguish, Troop G BCI, was the principle organizer and leader of more than 30 New York State Police volunteers that helped construct and rebuild Albany homes as a part of Habitat for Humanity. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Anguish, the volunteers worked over the course of three days. Because of this effort, affordable homes were provided for several families in need. Lieutenant Anguish also organized a group of State Police personnel to build a ramp at the home of Trooper Michael Anson. Trooper Anson was suffering from a terminal illness because of exposure during his response to the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. He required the use of a wheel chair due to his deteriorated health. The construction of this ramp enabled Trooper Anson to access his residence safely and easily. Through his exemplary service, Lieutenant Anguish has distinguished himself with his continued commitment to our community.
Superintendent’s Unit Citation Award
This award was established to recognize the outstanding efforts made by members of a particular unit or detail.
This year’s Unit Citation is awarded to the Familial Search Validation Team of the Biological Science Section of the Forensic Investigation Unit. In February of 2017, the Division of Criminal Justice Services Office of Forensic Services was tasked with developing a proposed Familial Search policy and assigned the New York State Police to evaluate Familial Search software.
Interest in this technique was sparked following the August 2016 killing of Howard Beach jogger, Karina Vetrano. There was DNA evidence on Vetrano’s body and personal effects, but none of the genetic material matched samples kept in state or local databases. Familial Searching technology performs a targeted search of an unknown DNA profile against the population of convicted offender DNA profiles to generate a list of candidates that may be related to the perpetrator of the crime. This method, used in other states, has proven to be an effective tool for solving cold cases or providing investigative leads. The Biological Science section at the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center made it a top priority to identify and acquire critical computer hardware and specialized statistical software needed to validate Familial Searching. The Biological Science section then assembled a Familial Searching validation team. Drawing on their years of experience, this team effectively networked with the forensic community to research current software, policies, and procedures enacted in other states. Through this process, the team quickly identified and acquired an optimal Familial Searching software program and immediately commenced validation testing. The validation team worked to develop a plan that could be completed in the limited time frame, while ensuring the integrity and quality of the process. Over the course of three months, the validation team designed and conducted extensive experimental tests to thoroughly evaluate the Familial Search software. The results of the validation testing clearly demonstrated the software was a reliable and effective tool for identifying potential familial links within the NYS Convicted Offender database. In June of 2017, the Familial Searching validation was approved, paving the way for New York to begin utilizing this new forensic tool.
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.
Technical Lieutenant Kirk J. Lee – Benefits Administration Unit
Technical Lieutenant Lee, assigned to the Human Resources Benefits Administration Unit, provides services to all current and retired employees in the areas of health and insurance benefits, retirement support, survivor death benefits, tuition reimbursement, payroll and medical monitoring programs. Whenever he is recognized for a job well done, he makes it clear that it is a group effort, never wanting to take full credit, and reiterates the importance of a team mentality. A critical job function that Technical Lieutenant Lee handles is ensuring that employees and their families are supported while going through catastrophic illnesses, injuries and sometimes death. He and his staff also spend long hours providing documentation, information and guidance that allows employees to register for benefits and health screenings that could potentially save their lives.
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.
Thomas E. Leonard – Communication Technology Support
Mr. Leonard is assigned to the Division Headquarters Communications and Radio Services Unit where he strives to ensure the reliability and continuity of our agency’s land mobile radio system. Mr. Leonard’s technical ability has proved most valuable in situations where large scale command post operations are initiated and the need for creative interoperable communications solutions are required to overcome challenging conditions, as evidenced during the Dannemora Prison Detail, Super Storm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene. In 2015, Mr. Leonard’s thorough understanding of the operational requirements of our partner agencies proved critical to the development and success of the first public safety grade shared microwave radio network in the North Country.
For further details regarding any of the incidents depicted in the narratives above, please contact the respective Troop Headquarters and Troop PIO.
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