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Top cops honored at Niagara Falls Police annual awards ceremony

NIAGARA FALLS – Chief of Detectives Capt. William Thomson was honored with the 2014 Chief’s Award at the Niagara Falls Police Department annual awards.

The top award recognizes a member of the department for outstanding contribution to the overall performance of the department.

Thomson, whose career with the department spans 30 years, started as a patrolman on one of the busiest beats in the city. He quickly established his reputation as an outstanding officer and was promoted to detective in the Criminal Investigation Division in April 1991.

He was promoted to lieutenant of the midnight shift in 2004 and in 2006 returned to the CID as detective lieutenant, second in command of the unit. He was promoted to detective captain in 2010.

His daughter, Amy Guilani, has followed in her dad’s footsteps and works as a detective in the CID under Thomson’s command.

Superintendent of Police E. Bryan DalPorto, who chooses the recipient of the top honor, noted that under Thomson’s leadership, his department has one of the best rates for solving crimes in the area. He also has a reputation as an expert in investigations and a high level of integrity with police agencies, as well as attorneys and prosecutors, DalPorto said.

Thomson has served as president of the police club and the police brass union representing officers.

The department also recognized Detective Shawn Larrabee as the outstanding detective.

Larrabee is currently assigned to the FBI office in Buffalo as a member of a crime-fighting task force. The past year he was recognized for his work on a case involving a high-level international terrorist threat.

The Lifesaving Medal, given to an officer or supervisor for acts that resulted in saving a life, was presented to Lt. Michael Corcoran and Officers Jeffrey Grzeskowiak, Gregory Spagnolo and Christina Tyran. The team saved a man in the LaSalle area of the city who had threatened to take his life. Officers made their way into the house and found the man had a deep laceration on his wrist. The department praised the four men noted, “their actions taken inside saved the life of a mentally ill person who was treated and lived.”

Grzeskowiak also was honored with the William Gee Memorial Award, sponsored by the Niagara Falls Police Club, for his professional attitude, concise reports and good rapport with other officers and departments.

Gallantry stars, given to an officer for the arrest of a person who is a major threat to the community, were awarded to the team of Det. Kenneth Redmond and Officers Brian Buchalski, Adam Licastro and Corey Wildt for their actions responding to a call of a man who was shooting a handgun at his house in the south end of the city. .

Also honored with a gallantry star was Lt. Jay Fisher for his response to a call of shots fired. He was able to place one individual under arrest and broadcast the direction of the other two, which led to their arrests. Police recovered a gun and narcotics near the scene.

The Sgt. Bass Memorial Award, given to an officer with less than five years of experience, was presented to Officer James Woomer for his professional attitude. Woomer has been with the department for four years.

A unit citation medal for team effort under combat was given to Det. Troy Earp and Officers Daniel Heaney, Grzeskowiak, Joseph Scibilia, Christopher McKimmie, Erik Rotella, Woomer and Brian Bachalski.

Honorable service medals for initiative and accomplishment in the line of duty were given to Detectives Lorrie Alvarez, Kathy Stack, Thomas Rodriguez, Patrick Hennegan and Vincent Granto; Lt. Thomas Ewing; Capt. David LeGault; and Officers Karl Brusino, William Kutis, William Phillips and Donald Booth.