October 23, 2021

Homer police officers honored

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer police officers Christopher Parrow, left, and Thomas Huttleson talk Thursday following an awards ceremony at the village courthouse. Parrow was honored for life saving and Huttleson for exceptional duty.

HOMER — Homer Police Officer Chris Parrow arrived at the scene of the Sept. 16 crash and saw a car, a motorcycle and at least two people with injuries.

“When he arrived on scene he determined that a vehicle had pulled into the path of a motorcycle,” said Homer Chief Robert Pitman.

The motorcycle and the other vehicle had collided and the bike’s two riders were thrown. Bystanders and medical personnel told Pitman that Parrow had attended to both occupants of the motorcycle, providing basic first aid and preventing their conditions from worsening.

“That’s just what we do,” Parrow said following the department’s recognition ceremony Thursday, where he received the Homer Police Department Lifesaving Award.

Parrow said he didn’t do anything special. “Anyone else would’ve done the same thing,” he said.

A few weeks following the accident Parrow had received word that both occupants of the motorcycle had survived.

“It is an honor and privilege to be here today and recognize … our officers,” Pitman said. “And show them our appreciation and support for the work they do every day.”

During 2017, the Homer police made 16 felony arrests, 55 misdemeanor arrests, 15 violation arrests, 13 driving while intoxicated arrests and issued 358 traffic tickets, Pitman said.

During the ceremony the department presented these awards:

The Honorable Service Award — to Officer Matthew Compton for conducting a traffic stop Nov. 5 that recovered a car stolen in Syracuse.

The award is presented to a member of the police department for handling a criminal act in the line of duty, which meets some if not all of the requirements for higher medals.

Compton said he was honored to receive the award but was just doing his job. “I give the same effort every night,” he said. “It’s all about the safety of the community and its members I serve.”

The Life Saving Award — to Parrow. The award is for performance in the line of duty without regard to personal safety, resulting in saving a person’s life.

The Exceptional Duty Award — to Officer Thomas Huttleston for his service to law enforcement since 1970. “When he started there were no body cameras, no dash cameras, or other technologies that officers take for granted today,” Pitman said.

When placing an order for a service pin for Huttleston, Pitman said the vendor thought he was joking with the number of years in law enforcement: Huttleston has served 48 years, 22 with the Homer department.

The award is for a highly credible accomplishment, bringing public acclaim to themselves, the department or the police profession.

The Long and Faithful Service Accommodation — to Sgt. R.J. Eckard for his service to the department for 10 years.

The award goes to all employees of the department for every five years of service.

Cortland County Sheriff Mark Helms, in a surprise presentation, awarded Pitman with a service pin for his 25 years of service to law enforcement.

The department also presented plaques to Matt Whitman, director of Cortland Area Communities that Care, for his part in helping revive the village’s bike patrol program; and Chief Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth McGrath for her part in prosecuting the case of Brian Bermudez, who pleaded guilty to and was sentenced for making methamphetamine that caused a September 2016 fire in Homer that killed his neighbor, Dewayne Block.