Story by Jennifer O’Connor
A special presentation was held at the Warwick Town Board meeting on Thurs., May 25. Several Town of Warwick Police Officers received commendations. Chief Tom McGovern said that every year the Town recognizes the good work performed by Police Officers from the previous year, typically during National Police Week, which is the week of May 15.
“We have some awards tonight, and by an odd chance, both events happened on the same day,” said Chief McGovern, who then called up Lt. Thomas Maslanka and Lt. John Rader to present the awards.
Lt. Maslanka presented the “Life Saving Award” to Police Officer Kevin Terry and to Officer Felix Oresto, who was not able to attend. Lt. Maslanka said that both officers responded on Tues., Nov. 22 to a serious injury medical call at Pennings Ln.
The report was that a local man was repairing a snowmobile when one of the tracks came off of the machine and struck him in the leg. The track severed an artery in his leg, causing serious trauma and blood loss. Officer Terry was able to successfully apply his personal tourniquet to the victim’s leg to stop the blood loss. According to EMS, the quick application of the device prevented significant loss of blood and essentially saved the victims life.
After Officer Terry received the award, Lt. Rader presented the “Exceptional Police Duty Award” to Police Officer’s Amie McGrady, Brett Lukach, and Brian Luthin as well as to Kevin Halsey, Det. Shawn Tetzlaff, and Richard Koziola – who were not present.
Lt. Rader said that on the morning of Nov. 22 at 5:18 a.m. the command received a report of an armed robbery of a taxi driver on Fancher Rd. in Warwick. Prior to the report the suspect already had fled the scene on foot. The first responding officers interviewed the victim and were able to get a good physical description as well as the direction of travel. The officers immediately notified the patrol lieutenant and requested a K9 search.
Officer Kevin Halsey and his K9 dog, Nikki, responded and followed a track to a residence on Fancher Rd. The officers immediately set up a perimeter of the area and Det. Shawn Tetzlaff was requested to the scene. After completing the interviews a warrant of arrest was issued by the court and the officers arrested a Warwick man without incident.
“The defendant has been sentenced to eight years in prison for committing the armed robbery. The action of the first responding officers, the K9 unit and the Detective unit led to a quick and successful arrest and conviction of a violent criminal,” said Lt. Rader.
Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton thanked the Police Officers on behalf of the Board saying, “We thank you for the job that you do every day – these are just two incidents, but we know you are active all the time. We appreciate the job you all do and we rest easy knowing you are all there.”
After the presentation, Chief McGovern addressed those in attendance saying, “I would like to take the time to also recognize that it’s not always the police, but the people who help us, to accomplish what we do. We would like to recognize Assemblyman Karl Brabenec who, unsolicited obtained for us a grant of $5,000.”
He also thanked the McTigue family who held a fundraiser for the Warwick Police Dept. that was also completely unsolicited. Last October, for their 13th birthday, identical twins, Rory and Declan McTigue, asked for donations instead of presents from friends and family who attended their birthday party to give to the Warwick PD.
The money raised by the McTigue’s was used with the grant from Assemblyman Brabenec to upgrade firearms for every police officer. Most of the guns that the Warwick Police had been using were purchased well over 20 years ago in the early 90s.
“We were able to upgrade every officer’s weapon with more modern weapons on a State bid, and it cost the Town of Warwick taxpayers not one penny,” said Chief McGovern. “We thank them for everything they did for us.”