Nationally, 181 officers were killed in the line of duty last year -- that's a 20 percent increase from 2006. With the exception of 2001, it's the deadliest number in two decades. DeWitt Police Chief Eugene Conway read these statistics at the department's annual awards ceremony May 13, where more than 25 people were honored for their roles in providing safety and protection to the DeWitt community.
"It's a 24/7 job," Conway said, recognizing the time and commitment officers give on a daily basis, and expressed gratitude to the spouses for their support towards the department.
Among those people honored this year was Cynthia LaLonde, a longtime 911 dispatcher.
"Her role is vital in how emergency services are carried out each day," Conway said.
Susan Case DeMari, security liaison for the Syracuse Jewish Federation, was honored for building an "outstanding relationship with all law enforcement," and was described as a model to follow by Captain Mark Petterelli who presented her award. DeMari obtained a $5,000 grant for a state-of-the-art camera the department can use to photograph insides of schools, community buildings, etc. for emergency situations.
Manlius Police Chief Fran Marlowe and members of the Manlius Police Department were recognized for their support, assistance and guidance in the implementation of DeWitt's Emergency Services Team.
"We are fortunate to have outstanding [neighbors] who help out," Petterelli said.
Other honorees included Petterelli, Lieutenant David Newman, Investigators Scott Kapral, Shawn Socker and John Anton, Officers Joseph Langevin, Sean Hathaway, Thomas Regan and Deputy Jonathan Bierl for their contribution in the successful investigation that stemmed from the Feb. 11 homicide outside Barbagallo's Restaurant on East Molloy Road in East Syracuse.
The officer of the year award went to Road Patrol Officer Edward Mason, Jr., for his willingness to work extra shifts, his dedication to the community, having a strong, moral character and continually performing with professionalism and diligence.
"May you continue to go from strength to strength," said Richard Friedman, executive vice president of the Syracuse Jewish Federation, directing his speech to all the law enforcers in the room. "All of you are 'brothers' of the line," he said, which, for Friedman, is the highest name he can call someone.
"[It's] somebody, when it's time to show up, shows up," he said. "[You're] there when it counts."