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Excellent Police Duty Awards Presented to Carmel Officers

Members of the Carmel Police Department were honored for their excellent service to the community last week.

By Holly Crocco

During National Police Week, and National Peace Officer Memorial Day, Carmel Police Chief Anthony Hoffmann presented awards to members of the department for extraordinary service in 2023-24.

“We are here to celebrate the Carmel Police Department, and the great men and women of the Carmel Police Department who have done great work over the past year,” he said at the May 15 Carmel Town Board meeting.

According to Hoffmann, the department was established in 1942.

“We are responsible for protecting the 40 square miles of this town and the 34,000 residents of the Town of Carmel, including the hamlets of Mahopac, Mahopac Falls and Carmel,” he said. “We do that with an authorized strength of 36 officers, five civilian dispatchers and two civilian administrative staff.”

In 2023, the department responded to 33,506 calls for service, made 381 arrests stemming from 812 investigations, issued 1,525 traffic summons and investigated 766 traffic accidents. Of the total number of calls, 2,237 were for medical emergencies, including 186 regarding emotionally disturbed persons and 305 domestic incidents.

“With more than 33,000 calls for service, it’s obvious this is quite a busy little town we have here, and there’s no such thing as Mayberry anymore,” said Hoffmann. “But the men and women of this police department do their job so well that last year, we were acknowledged as the eighth safest town in the United States, and second in New York State.”

Sgt. Laura Whitten and Officer Thomas Egan were recognized with a Lifesaving Award, and Officers Michelle Yeager and Brian Detz received letters of commendation for helping to save the life of a child last spring.

On May 20, 2023, police responded to a call for an unresponsive 8-year-old female at a gymnastics studio on Route 6 in Mahopac. Eagan was first to arrive at the scene and took over care from bystanders. When the child lost her pulse, Eagan and Whitten initiated lifesaving procedures, then coordinated with EMS and Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department personnel, as well as Yeager and Detz, and regained a pulse prior to transporting the child with a multi-jurisdictional escort to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Lt. Michael Bodo; Detectives Brian Forde, Daniel Shea and Brian Smith; K9 Unit Officer Vincent DeSantola and K9 Pietro; and Officer Vincent Rocco of the drone unit received Excellent Police Duty and Lifesaving Awards for their work to find a man who had wandered off into a wooded area last summer.

The evening of July 27, police were notified of a missing vulnerable adult who was last known to be walking in the area of Myrtle Avenue in Mahopac Falls. The man had medical conditions requiring medication, and weather conditions varied greatly. Over the span of four days, Bodo, acting as incident commander, and Forde, who was the investigation supervisor, coordinated a complex search involving a large number of professional and volunteer personnel, and multiple assets across a number of agencies in the first responder community.

Relentlessly pursuing all leads, including deploying patrol officers and detectives, as well as the K9 and drone units, officers were able to lead assisting K9 units to a wooded area where the missing man was located alive. He was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center where he was treated and released.

Officer Brian Sillery received the Lifesaving Award for treating a woman with a severe laceration to the wrist and who was losing consciousness.

Police were dispatched at about Aug. 4 to a residence on Route 6 in Carmel to assist a pregnant female with a severe laceration to her wrist from a cooking accident. Sillery was the first to arrive at the scene and found the female bleeding profusely and beginning to lose consciousness. He immediately applied a tourniquet, stopping the bleeding, and rendered aid while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance. The female regained consciousness and was transported to Westchester Medical Center by EMS.

Detectives Smith, Shea and Forde, along with Officers Matthew Valente, Arthur Kloskowksi and Anthony Bambach all earned Lifesaving Awards for their role in saving a teenager who suffered a seizure last summer.

On Aug. 22, police were notified of a 13-year-old male actively seizing on Baldwin Lane in Mahopac. Upon arrival, Smith found the male unresponsive and in cardiac arrest, and immediately began emergency care. He further coordinated the efforts of CPD officers on the scene and assisted arriving EMS personnel. Officers worked with multiple agencies to coordinate a multi-jurisdictional escort of the ambulance to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, where the child recovered and was released.

Sgts. Erin Macom, Kevin Anderson and Smith, as well as Officer DeSantola and K9 Pietro, were recognized with letters of commendation for helping to guide a herd of goats that got loose in Mahopac Falls last fall, to safety.

On Sept. 25, police responded to a residence on Long Pond Road for a report of 50 escaped goats from a penned-in area adjacent the residence. DeSantola, utilizing K9 Pietro and coordinating with Macom, Anderson and Smith, were able to corral the entire herd of goats on Craescot Way, back to the property – avoiding a hazardous condition for the animals and vehicle traffic on Long Pond Road.

The homeowners commended the officers involved for their professionalism, politeness, sense of humor, and their ability to lessen the anxiety of the homeowners and the goats.

Sgts. Anderson and Macom, and Officer Vincent Serio received the Lifesaving Award, and Detective Smith, Officers James Zaccone and DeSantola and K9 Pietro received letters of commendation for helping to find a missing elderly man last fall.

Police responded Oct. 1 to Wainwright Road in the hamlet of Carmel for a report of a missing 84-year-old male with dementia. Anderson led a multi-agency investigation across the towns of Carmel and Kent in search of the man, with the aid of Zaccone, Smith, DeSantola and K9 Pietro. Coordinating police, fire and EMS assets over the span of two days culminated in Macom and Serio locating the man, who had fallen in a densely wooded area near a retaining wall, obscuring his whereabouts from the search teams. The male was transported by EMS to the hospital and released to his family.

Detective Shea was presented with the Meritorious Police Duty Award, and Detectives Devon Sanborn and Smith were presented with letters of commendation, for their roles in bringing a burglar to justice last year.

On Oct. 18, police were notified of a past commercial burglary at Dykeman Road and Route 52 in the Carmel hamlet. Shea led an investigation, assisted by Sanborn and Smith, identifying a suspect who was a previously convicted murderer wanted for numerous other burglaries throughout the downstate region.

Conducting an extensive two-week investigation across two states, Carmel detectives, alongside multiple other law enforcement agencies, took this suspect into custody during a rolling surveillance across the Throggs Neck Bridge in the Bronx.

Officers DeSantola and Rocco earned Lifesaving Awards for locating an elderly woman who had fallen in her house and was immobile for three days earlier this year.

On Feb. 4, police were dispatched to a residence on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel for a welfare check of an elderly female resident. DeSantola and Rocco canvassed the residence, finding the doors locked, lights off, and the resident’s vehicle not at the location. Undeterred, they were able to gain entry by climbing onto the roof of the home and locating an unlocked window.

The officers then found that the woman had fallen on the floor of a bedroom and was wedged between the bed and the wall. They immediately began administering first aid and requested EMS. The woman was transported to the hospital, and it was subsequently determined that she had been stuck in that position for three days, and would have likely not survived except for the call from her friend requesting the welfare check and the efforts of DeSantola and Rocco.

Officer Travis Lash earned the Lifesaving Award for saving a man who attempted to take his own life last month.

Police were dispatched April 25 to a residence off Route 6N in Mahopac Falls to help a suicidal male who had slit his wrist. Lash arrived to find the man bleeding severely from the self-inflicted injury, and immediately applied a tourniquet to the man’s arm, stopping the bleeding. He bandaged the wound and located and secured a knife at the scene. Lash then escorted the male to the hospital with EMS, where he received medical and psychiatric care.

Lt. Neil Brown and Sgts. Forde and Anderson received letters of commendation for taking the lead with a new multi-agency police emergency response team, beginning in May.

Late last year, the tactical unit for nearly 20 years providing SWAT operators and hostage negotiators throughout Putnam County lost a member agency and was forced to adjust to providing services solely to the towns of Carmel and Kent. Taking this challenge head-on, Brown, Forde (ERT commander) and Anderson (ERT team leader) led the transition to a dual agency team, and have set the course for significant improvements in team leadership, personnel, training, equipment, operations, and coordination with other regional tactical teams.

Officers DeSantola and Michelle Yeager earned Excellent Police Duty Awards for leading the department in traffic summonses and overall arrests for 2023.


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