Everyone’s A Hero

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It was time, Congressman Thomas Suozzi declared, to give police officers their due.
On Aug. 25, standing in front of the Glen Cove police headquarters where he once presided as mayor, the congressman and other elected officials joined law enforcement leaders to laud five officers from across his district for heroic actions.
Suozzi’s 3rd district covers the northern parts of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“The cops have been beaten up a lot lately,” Suozzi asserted. “There’s no question about that and we need to show our support for the great things that they do. That doesn’t mean we’re not against trying to reform things and make things better.”

Congressman Thomas Suozzi, at the podium, presided over the ceremony honoring police officers from across his district. (Contributed Photo)

He added, “We need to hold up police officers that are examples of the best of us. They put their lives on the line every day. Men and women in blue are protecting us, they’re serving us. And we could not have the quality of life that we have were it not for fantastic public servants.”
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, “I want to thank the congressman for bringing us here. Our society has a lot of anger and hatred towards law enforcement.”
Ryder called out PO Darren Pittman of Glen Cove, one of the honorees, for saving “one of our officer’s life. And that’s the brotherhood, the family among officers. We always look out for each other. We are willing to lay our lives down for each other.”

He added, “It’s an important message that we must remember in these times.”
Pittman was able to wrestle a gun away from a suicidal cop, preventing a tragedy. The Nassau County officer, known to Pittman, lives in Glen Cove and is reportedly recovering and back on patrol.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran thanked Suozzi for making the presentation possible and said, addressing Nassau County honoree Keith Owens, “Thank you for what you do each and every day to keep us safe. I think it’s so important not to take for granted what our brothers and sisters in blue do for us every day.”

Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran
(Photo credit: Office of Laura Curran)

She called basic civil safety, “the bedrock of society,” enabling people to live their everyday lives without fear.
“What we’re hearing today is the tip of the iceberg,” she observed. “We have wonderful police officers who do wonderful work in Nassau County.”
Owens responded to reports of an active shooter at the Americana in Manhasset and apprehended the suspect.
Geraldine Hart, commissioner the Suffolk County Police Department, said the handful of officers present were a stand-in for the thousands represented by various police departments being honored, “and they all deserve recognition. They don’t expect it, but they certainly have earned it.”

Suffolk County officer Christopher Jablonski put his own life at risk this past March when he dove into the waters of Cold Spring Harbor in order to save a drowning victim, who suffered hypothermia.
Suozzi pointed out, “Remember, it was March. The temperature was 43 degrees when he dove into the water to save the guy.”

He went on to say that Jablonski’s grandfather served on the Glen Cove police force years ago and the family was still represented in the city.
“Between COVID-19 and the unrest going on in this country and the criticism of a lot of fine men and women that wear this uniform, it’s unbelievably refreshing to me today to see what’s going on here, to have this recognition bestowed upon our members,” said Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton. “I know how good it makes them feel. I know how good it makes me feel. And as the word spreads I know how good it’s going to make everybody else who puts a uniform on feel. There needs to be more of this.”

Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke stated, “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to Congressman Suozzi for taking the time out of his busy day to come in and recognize these officers for what they do. I also thank the county executive and the commissioners for coming here. This is important. It signifies what other officers do on a daily basis without recognition. It’s refreshing to hear positive things being said about our police.”
“We need people of good will to sit down, talk to each other and actually find common ground going forward,” Suozzi of the policing problem.

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Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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