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2020 Bethlehem Police Department Virtual Awards Ceremony
Due to COVID-19 the Bethlehem Police Department was unable to host its annual awards ceremony. This awards ceremony honors the excellent efforts of our members, and is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and compassion that our members have for the community that they serve. Selecting award recipients is a difficult task, as there are so many truly inspiring incidents and events that our members are involved in. We take this time to honor the recipients of the 2020 Bethlehem Police Department Virtual Awards Ceremony, and give thanks for the great community that we work in.
Multiple Officers – Gallantry Award
On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Master Sergeant Rexford, Officer Ferraro, Officer Gorman, Officer Spinnato, Officer Swann, and Officer Mueller responded to a home on Maple Avenue in Selkirk for a report of a violent domestic involving a subject armed with a load shotgun. Family members managed to escape the residence after being held inside for several hours by the subject and were able to call for help from a local business. Responding officers quickly offered medical care and aid to the family members as well as establishing a covert perimeter around the home without the armed subject noticing. Working as a team, M/Sgt. Rexford was able to make phone contact with the armed subject. The armed subject immediately saw that officers had surrounded his home and he quickly surrendered, exiting the home unarmed. The actions of all members of this team made for a quick and safe ending to a dangerous and potentially more violent encounter with an armed assailant.
Caputo and Travis Life Saving Award
On Thursday, March 28, 2019, Officer Caputo and Officer Travis responded to a home on Catlyn Court in Delmar for a 37 year old female who was unresponsive and in respiratory arrest. Upon arrival, Off. Caputo and Off. Travis immediately begin CPR. With EMS arrival, both officers continued to assist with providing care to the patient. The prompt success of the appropriate medical care allowed the patient to start breathing again and regain consciousness.
Berben, Dring and Harnett Life Saving Award
On Saturday, April 27, 2019, Officer Berben and Officer Dring responded to a home on South Albany Road for a 61 year old female in cardiac arrest. While officers were en route, Telecommunicator Harnett was able to provide the 911 caller with clear emergency medical instructions to aid the patient until help arrived. Once officers got on the scene, they took over emergency medical care and assisted EMS with advanced life support. The actions of Telecomm. Harnett, Off. Berben, and Off. Dring along with the EMS team showed the importance of the cycle of survival. These actions made a difference for this patient and her family.
Dring Life Saving Award
On Thursday, June 13, 2019, Officer Dring was first to arrive at the Meadowbrook Apartments for a report of a fully involved multi-unit structure fire. Off. Dring entered the apartment building that was on fire and alerted multiple residents that were sleeping of the fire.
Fiore Gallantry Award
On Friday, May 31, 2019, Officer Fiore was actively working as a Field Training Officer with a recently hired member of this agency. During his shift, Off. Fiore observed a U-Haul truck parked in the rear of an abandoned business. While investigating the incident, Off. Fiore was able to locate and apprehend an individual in the act of committing a burglary. The result of this in progress crime arrest and the ensuing investigation resulted in the closure of a half-dozen related cases.
Sleurs Gallantry Award
On Monday, January 7, 2019, Traffic Safety Investigator Sleurs received notification of an active felony parole warrant on an individual with whom he was familiar. TSI Sleurs began making contact with the parole absconder’s family, and checked businesses and venues that the parolee was known to frequent. Due to his diligent work and prior knowledge of this offender’s habits and behaviors, TSI Sleurs observed the parolee after only a few hours of working on the case. TSI Sleurs was able to safely initiate a traffic stop on the offender. Due to previous encounters and a rapport with the parolee, TSI Sleurs was able to take him into custody without incident despite previous incidents of flight and vehicle pursuits.
Berben and Spinnato Meritorious Service Award
On Thursday, June 13, 2019, Officer Berben and Officer Spinnato arrived at the Meadowbrook Apartments for a report of a full involved multi-unit structure fire. Taking proactive actions, Off. Berben and Off. Spinnato alerted occupants in neighboring buildings to ensure safe evacuation and accountability of residents. These adverse conditions posed a risk to the responding members who worked diligently to alert and wake many residents in the buildings. The fire subsequently engulfed an 8 unit apartment building, which was a total loss, and threatened multiple other larger apartment buildings. Unfortunately, one individual perished in the fire.
Sleurs Chief’s Achievement Award
Traffic Safety Investigator Sleurs has the sole responsibility of streamlining all maintenance on the department’s RADAR units and datamaster as well as ensuring DCJS compliance for discovery and accreditation. TSI Sleurs is also responsible for setting up many community events like the mock DWI crash for Bethlehem Central High School and DOT road safety programs, which work on both enforcement and education of overall traffic safety management. TSI Sleurs also assists in coordinating efforts with school bus drivers on complaints of vehicles passing stopped buses. TSI Sleurs is a member of the department’s Fire Investigation Cause and Origin Team as well as a member of the Capital District Forensic Hazardous Materials Team.
Young Chief’s Achievement Award
During the months of October through December, Detective Young worked on a large scale, multi-agency check theft and bleaching investigation. This case involved the theft of U.S. Mail and the bleaching and altering of checks to obtain tens of thousands of dollars. Working closely with members of the detective office, other local police agencies and federal authorities from the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office, Det. Young was able to coordinate a case that would culminate in the arrest of an Albany man who was solely responsible for over a dozen cases in the Capital Region and multiple cases in the Town of Bethlehem. Further, it is noted that Det. Young’s work on this case also earned him high praises from some of the victims of these crimes as he assisted them with identity theft and credit related issues, in addition to conducting the criminal investigation.
Hornick Chief’s Achievement Award
The Chief’s Achievement Award is given to Commander Hornick for his extraordinary efforts to bring the Bethlehem Police Department into compliance with the 2020 criminal justice reforms. Due to his hard work, professionalism and preparedness, Commander Hornick was chosen by the County of Albany Office of the District Attorney to run a 2020 pilot project to help develop this process. Commander Hornick embraced the challenge from the start and continues to tweak and refine this system. Having attended countless meetings, he was relied upon to motivate other departments throughout the county as well as media events to assist in explaining the system to the public.