Officers recognized during awards ceremony in Utica

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UTICA — Members of the Utica Police Department and their families gathered on Thursday to hold their annual awards ceremony, honoring the men and women in uniform for their law enforcement achievements over the past year.

The ceremony was held at Daniele’s at Valley View on the Memorial Parkway. More than a dozen officers were recognized.

“We’re honoring officers that exhibit bravery, courageousness and otherwise good deeds in the community,” said department spokesperson Sgt. Michael Curley.

“In today’s culture, with society and things the way they are, anytime you can recognize and boost the morale of your department is certainly a huge thing. We’re honored to offer these officers the awards they’re receiving today. They’ve certainly earned them in every respect.”

Many of the awards were handed out for the work of the Crime Prevention Unit, which was formed in early 2021 to make a dent on crime in the city. Officers were also honored for their work cracking down on gun violence and weapons possession in Utica.

“I think it’s very difficult for the public to understand exactly what the job of police officer is. We’re out there every day trying to serve and protect, and do our best so that the public doesn’t know we’re out there,” said Curley.

“It’s a good thing when the public doesn’t know exactly what a police officer does on a daily basis; that means they’re keeping the streets safe, they’re keeping the neighborhoods safe.”

Three officers were honored with the Chief Benny Rotundo Courageous Officer of the Year Award for their efforts to help rescue two young children trapped in a house fire on Thorn Street in December. These officers are Joseph Aiello, Brian Babe and Alan Merrick.

Sgt. Charles Goldstein received the Supervisor of the Year award for his tireless work as head of the Crime Prevention Unit.

David Davis received the Civilian Service award for helping back-up an officer during a violent encounter with a suspect in the city in August 2021.

The ceremony also honored Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol for the continued support and partnership from the Sheriff’s Office.

“I don’t think the average individual, resident, understands the pressure that these men and women are under each and every day,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.

“Our success in our good city is because we have a safe city, we have a clean city. And it’s because of our police and our fire departments. Each and every officer getting an award today, it is well-deserved.”

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