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Camillus police recognize top officers, community members

The Camillus Police Department switched gears this year, opting to present the 2008 department awards during a regular Town of Camillus Board meeting Tuesday, March 10, to provide the public a chance to recognize those being honored, Chief Thomas Winn said before presenting the first award.

The Saved by the Belt Award, 2008 Life Saving Awards, first-ever Citizen Appreciation Awards, and 2008 Officer of the Year honors were presented before a full house Tuesday by CPD Chief Thomas Winn and Captain Steve Rotunno.

Two-time Officer of the Year Kristen Afarian, (she received the award in 2005 as well), was honored for a year of excellent work, said Winn as he presented her with the 2008 award.

There was no single act for which Afarian was being recognized, Winn said. Instead, it was her superior work throughout the entire year that was worth recognizing.

Winn said the Officer of the Year was selected by a vote of the officers and supervisors this year, something that held extra significance to Afarian.

"Officer Afarian represents the kind of police officer which you would like to have respond in the case of an emergency," said Rotunno, a trait she exemplified in early 2008 when Afarian encountered an injured resident while on road patrol.

A Camillus man was helping his neighbor snowblow the driveway, and reached into the machine to clear a jam when his hand was injured by the snowblower. Afarian found the man walking down the road in the snowstorm, headed for home to call 911.

Thanks to Afarian's quick response, the man's injury was far less extensive than it could have been, Winn said. The resident made it a point to visit the police department later to thank Afarian and share the story with Winn.

Afarian was also on the scene of the Orchard Park fire in October, where she called for an ambulance for Welch and convinced him to seek medical attention.

The department also for the first time this year gave out , selecting Michael Laux, manager of the Camillus Wal-Mart store, and Thomas Andrews, manager of Fairmount Munro Muffler, for the debut honors.

See this week's The Advocate for more winners.

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