October 21, 2021

Plaudits for Homer’s police

Officers honored during annual awards ceremony at Town Hall

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Homer Police Officer Jay Forbes, left, commends Field Training Officer Matthew Compton, right, during an awards ceremony Wednesday at Homer Town Hall.

Homer School Resource Officer Quentin Giles recognized the need for a child-safety program in the school district last year and got to work.

Giles contacted the National Child Safety Council to get an idea of what was needed for the program, said Homer Police Chief Robert Pitman during the department’s annual awards’ ceremony Wednesday evening. He went on to raise funds for the program.

For his work, Giles received the Chief’s Achievement Award. He was one of several officers recognized Wednesday night at an annual police department ceremony in the courtroom in Town Hall.

“His efforts generated over $2,400 in donations from businesses and people within the community,” Pitman said.

“It’s part of being a SRO,” Giles said. “You fill the need the best you can.”

The new program helps children learn about safety in general, and senior citizens about safety on the internet. Giles plans to seek further funding and build on the program.

During 2018, the Homer Police Department made 11 felony arrests, 30 misdemeanor arrests, seven violation arrests, eight driving while intoxicated arrests and issued 457 traffic tickets, Pitman said. The department responded to 4,187 service calls in 2018.

“These statistics reflect the work that these officers did to keep the village of Homer and residents safe,” Pitman said.

The department also presented these awards:

The Distinguished Service Award — to Officer Chris Parrow and Cortland County sheriff’s Officer Tim Jones for de-escalating a potential self-injury incident in March 2018.

Parrow and Jones were dispatched March 21 to check on the welfare of a distraught person in the village, Pitman said.

“Upon locating the individual, at his residence, he was holding a knife to his throat and threatening self harm.”

The two officers were able to de-escalate the situation and transported the person to what is now Guthrie Cortland Medical Center for help.

The award is presented to a member of the police department for an outstanding act of heroism in the line of duty in which a life is saved or an injury is prevented through the officer’s actions.

The Long and Faithful Service Commendations — also went to Parrow for his service to the department for 10 years.

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

The Exceptional Duty Award — to Officer Matthew Compton for showing true professionalism and working hard each day.

Compton was also recognized for his approach to becoming a field training officer for the department in 2018.

“He leads the department with DWI arrests and he’s volunteered each year since he started with the department to organize the Cops on Top charity event for the Special Olympics,” Pitman said.

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

The department also presented a special plaque to Vincenzo Saraceno, a 2018 Homer High School graduate.

“He is someone I believed did an outstanding act by coming to the aid of a fellow student last May at the high school,” Pitman said.

Saraceno, trying to help a friend in trouble, intervened during a fight in May at the Homer High School, Saraceno said.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “But I don’t think I deserve recognition. If you see trouble, help out if you can.”

“We always look for our kids to be upstanders, not bystanders,” said Doug VanEtten, Homer High School principal. “Vinny certainly filled that role.”

Cortland Police Department awards

These officers were honored recently by the Cortland Police Department:

Police officer of the year: Trevor Wenz

Life-saving award: Benjamin Locke, Nathan Moran, Stephen White, Joseph Peters, Anthony Natoli, William Bernheim, Derrick Edick, Kenneth Bush, Trevor Wenz, Jared Aiken, Chad Knapp, Clint Morse, Sgt. Sean Byrnes

Letters of commendation: Anthony Natoli, Ryan Gross, Kyle Green, Jeffery Fitts, Derrick Edick, Benjamin Locke, Patrick O’Donnell, Stephen White, Jared Aiken, Brendan Byrnes, Trevor Wenz, Chadd Hines, Sgt. Seth Rowland, Sgt. Daniel Johnson.

Certificates of Achievement

Felony Arrests: Trevor Wenz, 33; Derrick Edick, 20; Patrick O’Donnell, 18

Misdemeanor Arrests: Derrick Edick, 102; Trevor Wenz, 59; Kyle Green, 44

Violation Arrests: Derrick Edick, 108; Jeffrey Fitts, 76; Ryan Riley, 59

Vehicle and Traffic Arrests: Derrick Edick; 643; Trevor Wenz, 210; Ryan Riley, 156

DWI Arrests: Derrick Edick, 12; Jeffery Fitts, 9; Trevor Wenz, 4; Brendan Byrnes, 4

Warrant Arrests: Derrick Edick, 63; Trevor Wenz, 37; Tyler Williams, 26

Parking Tickets: Derrick Edick, 1,137; Trevor Wenz, 270; Brendan Byrnes, 213.