Saving the lives of infants was a specialty of two of the 43 NYPD officers being honored today for feats of bravery and compassion at the PBA’s traditional “Finest of the Finest” awards ceremony at Manhattan’s Water Club.
The event’s honorees – who received a commemorative plaque and a sumptuous luncheon for them and their families – included the Staten Island police officer who rescued a drowning baby, and then was seriously injured himself a few months later in another incident, the quick-thinking cop who saved the life of a choking little boy, and 39 other police officers and two sergeants who risked life and limb to serve and protect.
“We call this event ‘The Finest of the Finest’ for obvious reasons,” said PBA President Patrick J. Lynch. “These awards mean more to the officer on the job than all the others because it’s all about being recognized by your peers.”
Police Officers Matee Brisbane and Cornell Enoch of the 44 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in a Life-and-Death Confrontation with an Armed Perpetrator.
These officers encountered a man on the street waving a gun – he apparently had just tried to rob some drug dealers. The gunman ignored repeated warnings to drop his weapon and, in fact, pointed it at the cops. Officer Brisbane discharged three rounds at the perpetrator, and Officer Enoch fired four times. The perp then surrendered and the incident ended with no injuries and only minor property damage.
Police Officer Kenneth O’Connor of the 47 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave, Quick-Thinking and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life and the Life of an Innocent Civilian in an Off-Duty Confrontation With an Armed Attempted Robber.
This officer was off duty and sitting in a parked car with a female acquaintance when a man approached them from the rear and pointed a handgun at them. When the gunman pointed his weapon at the woman’s head, Officer O’Connor got out of the car, drew his off-duty 38-caliber and shot the perp in the nose area of the face, causing him to drop his weapon. The officer then pulled the woman to safety and the gunman was apprehended and taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Police Officer Edgar Louis-Juste of the 19th Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Swift, Quick-Thinking, Expert and Compassionate Action Taken to Save the Life of a Choking Infant and Secure Medical Attention for a Seriously Injured Nanny.
The incident began when a truck hit a nanny who was crossing an Upper-East-Side street with a baby boy in her arms. The nanny had been rushing the child to a nearby hospital because he wasn’t breathing. This officer sprung into action. He called and ambulance for the nanny, and commandeered an SUV driven by a retired NYPD officer who drove them him and the child to New York hospital. The baby’s life was saved. The next day’s newspaper headlines called this officer a hero. We agree.
Police Officers Nicholas Douglas, Daniel Ehrenreich, Zachary Bonner, William Coyle andEvelio Rosario of the 32 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives, the Lives of Fellow Police Officers and the Lives of Innocent Civilians in a Deadly Confrontation with an Armed Murderer.
When these officers arrived on the scene, a gunman had just shot his estranged wife and her male companion – who subsequently died. The man, a New York City Corrections officer, pointed his authorized 9-millimeter Glock at the cops and refused orders to drop the weapon. “You’re going to have to shoot me,” he told them. They had no choice but to comply. The gunman joined his male victim as a DOA.
Police Officers James Smith and Brendan Heaps of the Midtown North Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Alert, Quick-Thinking and Valiant Action Taken in Risking His Life to Help Save Residents From a Burning Building.
These officers were on patrol when they got a call about a fire in a four-story apartment building at 401 West 50th Street. When they got to the location, smoke was pouring out of the roof, the source of the blaze. At great risk to their own safety, they rushed into the building to search for possible trapped victims and, starting from the roof, made their way down, knocking on each door, getting all residents to safety.
Police Officers Kevin Kee and Ricardo Chi of the 13th Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave, Quick-Thinking and Intelligent Action Taken to Apprehend an Armed Robber.
This incident began when two men, one of them armed, approached two other men on the street and demanded cash. After handing over their property, one of the victims chased the perps and the other gave these officers a description of the suspects. Armed with this information, the officers were able to canvas the neighborhood and apprehend the armed suspect, with no injuries to anyone.
Police Officer Brian Sheehy of the 120 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Quick-Thinking, Brave and Valiant Action Taken in Plunging Into Icy New York Harbor to Save a Drowning Infant Boy.
This incident also earned banner headlines in the daily newspapers. It started when an emotionally disturbed man tried to commit suicide by diving into the freezing waters of New York Harbor with his eight-month-old son in his arms. Witnessing this, Officer Sheehy dropped his gun belt and jumped into the waters after them. The baby was floating on is back about 20 feet from shore, and this officer managed to save the child’s life. Officer Sheehy has continued to give his all to serve and protect New Yorkers. A few months after this rescue, he was seriously injured in an RMP accident while responding to a burglary in progress.
Police Officer James Butler of the 122 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Compassionate, Alert and Quick-Thinking Action Taken to Save the Life of a Woman Attempting Suicide in a Leap from a 40-Foot Roof.
This officer tried for almost an hour to talk a suicidal woman out of her death leap. After climbing to the roof up a metal ladder, he cautiously tried psychology to talk her away from the ledge. Then, when she ran toward the ledge in a final attempt to jump, he rushed her, tackled her and brought her to safety.
Police Officers Hector Ramirez and John Antonacci of the 81 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken While Being Wounded in a Life-and-Death Struggle With an Armed Emotionally Disturbed Person.
An emotionally disturbed person set a fire, locked himself in his room and began screaming about “burning the devil.” This is the situation these officers encountered in the SRO location of the 911 call. From there, it got worse. The EDP had a .44 Magnum and he fired it at the officers, getting Officer Ramirez just above the heart, luckily in his vest, and Antonacci a graze wound in the back. Despite being wounded, they were able to subdue and arrest the suspect.
Police Officers Milko Mejia and Anthony Reynolds of the 88 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Tactically Sound Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in a Deadly Confrontation With an Armed Perpetrator.
For these officers, the incident began explosively, with gunshots fired in their direction. They responded by locating the shooter, standing outside his double-parked vehicle with two other individuals sitting inside. After ignoring orders to drop his weapon, the gunman got into the car. Then he got out again and pointed the gun at cops. While one officer covered all suspects with his service weapon, the other fired four times, fatally wounding the suspect. The officers showed great courage and used great tactics, ending the threat.
Police Officer Andrew Rydlewski and Sgt. Ajay Kapour of the 67 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life, the Life of a Fellow Police Officer and the Lives of Innocent Civilians in an Exchange of Gunfire with an Uzi-Toting Assailant.
These officers were summoned to an after-hours joint at 4:30 a.m. where a customer had just been denied entry because he was carrying a two-foot-long Uzi with 30 rounds in the clip. As soon as he saw these cops, of course, he opened fire, and they returned the compliment, hitting the suspect in the torso and legs, and blowing off his finger and his penis. The suspect, with a long criminal record, had once owned the gun that killed Police Officer Dillon Stewart. He also now faces life in prison under a new law, championed by the PBA, that toughens the penalties for crimes against cops.
Police Officers Patrick Gaines, Brian DeBoer, Scott Chin and Claude Jean-Pierre of the 70 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives, the Lives of Fellow Police Officers and the Lives of Innocent Civilians in an Exchange of Gunfire with Two Criminals.
Responding to a report of a man with a shotgun, these officers and a sergeant heard many shots being fired from around the corner. Then they saw two men with handguns running toward them. Officer Gaines shouted, “Police, don’t move,” and the perp pointed his weapon at the sergeant, who fired his weapon. The officers chased the suspect, exchanged gunfire with him and physically struggled with him until they subdued and apprehended him with no further incident.
Police Officers William Scheffler and Piotr Pszeniczny of the 114 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken in an Auto Chase and Foot Pursuit Leading to the Capture of Three Armed Robbers Wanted for Several Crimes.
The call was armed robbery. These officers identified and vehicle and chased it from Queens over the Triborough Bridge into the Bronx. It was a frantic, dangerous auto chase and then, when the perps abandoned their vehicle, a foot chase through streets and back alleys. They collared one of the robbers, who turned out to be someone wanted for several similar crimes in the Bronx.
Police Officer Christopher Wiesneski of the 105 Pct. is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Uphold the Law and Defend His Life in a Violent Struggle With an Attempted Murderer.
On scooter patrol, this officer spotted a man rolling a marijuana cigarette. When he approached the suspect, the officer noticed that he was armed, so the officer drew his weapon and to involved in a struggle with the perp. In that struggle, the officer’s firearm went off, striking him near the left knee. Despite this wound, the officer was able to transmit a 10-13 and enough information to lead to the eventually apprehension of the suspect.
Police Officers Michael Clark, Brendan Parpan and Shawn Gallagher of the 105 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Alert, Brave and Valiant Action Taken in a Violent Struggle to Apprehend an Armed Suspect.
It started, as is often the case, with a routine car-stop for a defective light. In questioning the driver, the officers suspected a handgun in his waistband. When they patted him down, the suspect fled on foot. They finally cornered the suspect hiding under a parked truck. They ordered him out at gunpoint and then he got into a physical struggle with Officer Clark and the cop’s gun went off in the struggle. No one was hurt and the suspect was cuffed. His weapon was found secreted in the underside of the truck.
Police Officers Anthony Francavilla and Paul Chaves of Transit District #1 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Quick-Thinking, Alert and Valiant Action Leading to the Recovery of Stolen Property and the Arrest of Four Perpetrators of an Armed Robbery.
These officers responded to a report of a robbery at gunpoint. Following up on a description of the perpetrators in their mobile car, they stopped a vehicle fitting that description. The two suspects ran from the car and these officers gave chase, finally apprehending them and recovering the firearm used in the robbery, with no injuries to anyone.
Police Officers Horace Robinson, Alexander Mercado, Carlos Deleon, Francisco Riveraand Raisa Estevez of Transit District #11 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Quick-Thinking, Alert and Valiant Action Taken in a Violent Struggle With and Apprehension of an Armed Suspect.
These officers responded to a shots-fired on the southbound #2 train at 149th Street and Park Avenue. They saw a man that fit the perp’s description and, as they approached him, he made a run for it. After a physical struggle, in which Officer Robinson sustained an injury to his elbow, they managed to apprehend the suspect and recover his weapon.
Police Officer Albert Brust of PSA #3 is named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend His Life, the Lives of Fellow Police Officers and the Lives of Innocent Civilians in an Exchange of Gunfire With a Criminal Assailant.
In an unmarked department van, this officer saw a large group running and heard gunfire coming from the vicinity of the crowd. Officer Brust got out of the van and ran toward the group. Seeing a man with a gun, he ordered him to put down the weapon but received only gunshots in return. Undeterred, this officer apprehended the gunman and ended the threat with no further incident.
Police Officers Jason Jeremiah and Dominick Desiervi of PSA #1 are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend Their Lives and the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in a Potentially Deadly Confrontation With a Crazed Assailant.
These officers were responding to a noise complaint at an outdoor party with music. As they were dealing with the disc jockey, another man, drunk and abusive, decided to get into the act. When his actions escalated to the point of criminality, they tried to cuff him. Then another man got involved by swinging a scooter in “helicopter-type” motion at the cops and striking Officer Jeremiah in the back of the head. From there things got uglier and the officers, with no avenue of escape, were forced to fire, striking the assailant and stopping the threat.
Police Officer John Baumeister and Sgt. Michael Ingram of the 47 Pct. are named the Finest of the Finest for Extremely Brave and Valiant Action Taken to Defend the Life of a Fellow Police Officer in a Violent Confrontation With a Knife-Wielding and Murderous Perpetrator.
The incident began when this officer and this sergeant visited a Yonkers bar after their shifts at the 47. Two men were told to leave the place because they were causing a disturbance. Outside the bar, with Officer Baumeister trying to calm things down, one of the men stabbed the cop twice, in the neck and back. Sergeant Ingram fired two shots at the stabber, who was DOA.