Saturday, May 11, 2019


Westchester police memorial service and honor awards ceremony held

County Police Officer Christopher Guziczek, center, was presented with the Lifesaving Award

WHITE PLAINS – The Westchester County law enforcement community gathered this week at the County Center in White Plains to pay tribute to fallen officers and honor current officers for outstanding police work performed in the past year.

The annual Police Memorial Service and Honor Awards ceremony on Thursday was presided over by County Executive George Latimer and Public Safety Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason.

The names of 87 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in the county were read aloud and taps were played to honor their memory.

Awards for bravery, investigative skill and lifesaving were presented to 55 law enforcement officers by Latimer, Gleason, Deputy County Executive Kenneth Jenkins and Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr.

“We honor you this day because you honor us every day with the service that you provide to us and that you provide so selflessly,” Latimer said. “You have our continuing and eternal respect.”

Gleason paid tribute to two fallen officers from the New Rochelle Police Department – Police Officer Kathleen O’Connor-Funigiello and Detective Mark Gado – who died in the past year from illnesses associated with their service at Ground Zero.

“Like so many brave men and women in blue, their selflessness and courage after the 9/11 terror attacks cost them their health and then took their lives,” Gleason said. He noted that in accordance with protocols their names were added this year to the national and New York State law enforcement memorials and will be added to Westchester’s memorial statue in the coming year.

In the awards portion of the ceremony, officers were honored for incidents and investigations that occurred between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

For the six-month period ending March 31, 2019, awards were presented to:

• Lt. Drew Conetta, Detective Matthew Chalmers, and Police Officers Salvatore Baldo, Christopher Bivona, Jason Fox, Efrain Roman, Michael Sprague and William Washington of the Port Chester Police Department for their daring rescue of hostages and the safe and successful apprehension of the armed, barricaded subject who was holding them;
• Sgt. Christopher Balezentis, Sgt. Dawn Gomerez, and Police Officers James Baker, Christopher Barca, Christian Carrasco, David MacDonald and Joseph Vellozzi of the Yonkers Police Department for their skillful and decisive handling of an incident involving a suicidal man who barricaded himself in an apartment and set the room on fire;
• Police Officer Dominick Carelli Jr. and Anthony Fraioli Jr. of the Village of Mamaroneck Police Department for entering frigid waters off Harbor Island Park to save a drowning man;
• Sgt. Edward Devlin and Detectives Thomas Barker, Anthony Cucinell, Jonathan Gould, Kenneth Hasko and Nicholas Piqueras of the Westchester County Police Hazardous Devices unit for their skillful handling of explosive devices that were sent to two prominent Westchester County residents;
• Detective Lt. Brian Fagan and Detectives Timothy Adrian, Christpher Guglielmo, Michael Vaccaro and Marc Weinerman, New Rochelle Police Department; Investigator Edward Murphy, Westchester District Attorney’s Office; Special Agent Daniel McKenna, FBI; Supervisory Special Agent Andrew Butorac and Special Agents Sean Argyros, David Brown and Moises Walters of the Drug Enforcement Administration for their long-term and successful narcotics investigation that lead to the seizure of multiple kilos of cocaine and methamphetamine being trafficked through a New Rochelle business establishment;
• Police Officer Ryan Wiley of the White Plains Police Department for rescuing a firefighter who had been overcome by carbon monoxide following a fire at an industrial business;
• Police Officer Patsy Leone and Jonathan Smith of the Pleasantville Police Department for preventing a distraught person from jumping off the Manville Road Bridge.

For the six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2018 awards were presented to:

• Detective Sgt. Victor Preni and Detectives Paul Api, Joseph Nowak, Robert Villanueva and Ryan Wynne of the Yonkers Police Department for the complex homicide investigation they conducted after the remains of an unidentified man were found in Yonkers;
• Police Officer Arcangelo Liberatore of the Irvington Police Department for intervening without regard for his own personal safety while off-duty when a 5-year-old girl was attacked by a rabid coyote;
• Lt. Matthew Kiernan and Detective Michael Martins, Eastchester Police Department; Senior Investigator Michael Occhione of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office; and Detective John Tyndal of the Yonkers Police Department for apprehending persons responsible for numerous burglaries, including the theft of more than $500,000 in cash from an Eastchester residence.
• Detective Sgt. Brian Matthews and Detectives Richard Cunningham, Mark D’Elia, Edgar Demelo, John Distefano, Davey Jakasal and Daniel O’Malley for their successful investigation into a pattern of burglaries that occurred in Greenburgh and other communities in Westchester.
• Police Officer Christopher Guziczek of the Westchester County Police for crawling into and rescuing an injured driver from an overturned vehicle that was leaking gasoline and in danger of exploding.

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