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TONAWANDA COUNCIL CITES PATROLMAN FOR VALOR

Citing "extreme bravery" in the face of danger, the Tonawanda Common Council awarded a medal of valor Tuesday to a city police officer who ended a tense six-hour standoff between police and a heavily armed man in August by tackling him.

Police Officer Dennis A. Berndt managed to grab the arm of Jason Silvashy, 22, detaining him long enough to allow other officers to rush in and subdue him, Mayor Alice A. Roth said in a City Hall ceremony.

She said Berndt and the other officers involved "demonstrated professionalism and expert training" as well as "self-control and self-discipline" in a situation that could have easily ended in tragedy.

Silvashy, who later was charged with attempted murder and reckless endangerment, had barricaded himself inside his Cranbrook Road home and had started firing shots from an arsenal of hunting weapons. No one was injured during the standoff, although residents were forced out of about a dozen homes, and movement was restricted at several others.

Berndt, accompanied by his wife, Joanne, and two sons, accepted the award on behalf of the entire department.

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