Two Erie County sheriff’s deputies who were greeted by a hail of gunfire when they arrived on the scene of a violent domestic call on March 16, 2014 in the Town of Concord are being honored with the William R. Dils Sr. Deputy of the Year Award.
They will be among employees of the sheriff’s office, as well as civilians, honored at Saturday’s annual dinner of the Badge and Shield Club at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens in Depew. The event also recognizes more than two dozen employees who retired in 2014.
Patrol cars driven by Deputies Bradford Ballantyne and Jonathan Hanna were hit multiple times by automatic gunfire as they pulled up a driveway off Brown Hill Road; Hanna got glass fragments in his eyes after a bullet hit his windshield. After backing out of the line of fire, the deputies began disseminating tactical information to responding officers and SWAT personnel for what became a 12-hour standoff after which the suspect peacefully surrendered.
Deputies Bradley Girdler and Brandon Stott, who rescued a person trapped inside a burning vehicle following an accident on Grand Island, will receive the William G. Payne Patrol Services Award. Arriving at the scene on Whitehaven Road last Sept. 22, Stott used a fire extinguisher to attack the flames while Girdler worked to free the victim, first trying to pry open a door on the heavily damaged vehicle. Stott had emptied two extinguishers and was continuing to fight the fire with a third when Girdler was able to break out a window; both deputies removed the victim through the window and began first aid.
The Investigative Services Award will go to Detective Daniel Brinkerhoff, whose investigation into last June’s sexual abuse of an 8-year-old girl at a Grand Island amusement park determined that the suspect also had raped a 14-year-old girl in Hamburg a year earlier. The suspect pleaded guilty in both cases and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The New York State Courts Officer Award will be presented to Sgt. James Schrier and Court Officers Michael Norton and Craig Waliczek, who utilized the Heimlich maneuver, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an automated external defibrillator in their unsuccessful attempt to save the life of a man discovered choking in the lobby of 25 Delaware Ave. last June 12.
Denise Perry, a longtime nurse at Mercy Hospital, will receive the Joseph Wachowiak Outstanding Citizen Award. After being forced to abandon her car during the Nov. 18 lake-effect snowstorm and walk to work, she was approached by a Buffalo firefighter who asked her to accompany him to check on a woman in labor at a nearby house. Firefighters were able to get the mother-to-be to a fire house, where Perry and another stranded nurse helped deliver a healthy baby girl.
The Robert Insalaco Youth Award will go to Samantha Bella, who was 7 when her father, Alan, suffered a stroke Jan. 20, 2014, in the family’s Lake View home. Despite her father’s inability to communicate and her own difficulty relaying information about the emergency, Samantha was able to alert her sleeping mother, Robyn, who ran downstairs and immediately called 911.
The William Dillemuth Outstanding Service Award will go to Deputy Joseph Raczynski, who has used his own successful battle with alcohol to educate fellow officers and trainees about the disease of addiction. As a new recruit, Raczynski’s field training officer was the deputy after whom the award is named.
New York State Court Officer Kenneth Napora will receive the Alfred D. Genusso Special Service Award, in recognition of his 10 years as treasurer of the Badge and Shield Club.
Sgt. Joseph Usinski will receive the Jail Management Division Award. He helped implement new technology and advance operations in the Jail Management Division – including an integration with the Victim Information Notification Everyday (VINE) computer system, which transmits information nationwide to crime victims when an inmate is transferred or released.
Deputy Gerard Sentz will receive the Reserve Division Award for his work as lead advisor with the Erie County Law Enforcement Explorer Post of the Greater Niagara Frontier Council 380, Boy Scouts of America, which has experienced a resurgence in post membership and outstanding performances by Explorers.
Joleen Chauby, a receptionist who always takes the time to answer a question or explain a procedure under adverse situations, will be presented with the Civil Process Award.
The dinner also will recognize 29 employees of the Sheriff’s Office who retired in 2014. Their combined years of service totals 764.
The retirees and years of service are:
Deputy Robert Arkeilpane, 21; Capt. Kevin Caffery, 45; Deputy Dennis Dee, 20; Deputy John Eagan, 37; and Administrative Assistant Kathleen Fasanella, 30.
Deputy Elizabeth Fildes, 32; Deputy Debra Gacek, 26; Deputy Anita Garner, 32; Correction Officer Carmen Gimbrone, 17; and Record Clerk MaryAnn Gruber, 28.
Court Officer Gregory Hartman, 20; Deputy Tammy Hartman, 16; Deputy Linda Henderson, 28; Deputy Terrance Higgins, 29; and Deputy Diana Johnstone, 31.
Correction Officer Chester Kasprzyk, 30; Superintendent Robert Koch, 33; Correction Officer Amy Kosinski, 30; Deputy Gregory Kowalczyk, 30; and Correction Officer Charles Laudico, 23.
Deputy Vincent McAllister, 17; Capt. Joseph Metzger, 20; Deputy Dennis Mill, 30; Correction Officer Thomas Murphy, 25; and Deputy Julian Robinson, 20.
Deputy Eugene Schuta, 17; Deputy Michael Sluce, 12; Deputy Anastacio Vazquez, 35; and Court Officer Francis Zicari, 30.