Saugerties police officers were decorated for activities ranging from facing down armed men threatening to shoot to writing the largest number of DWI tickets.
The awards were conferred at the Police Chiefs Association banquet on Sunday, May 5 at Diamond Mills Hotel and Conference Center. The officers were introduced and honored at the Saugerties Town Board meeting on Wednesday, May 22.
Officer Jonathan Tiernan received an award for heroism following his disarming of a young man threatening his mother and police officers who responded on Oct. 21 with a loaded .22 caliber rifle. The man’s mother said he was upset because she would not take him to his uncle’s house to pick up a fishing rod. Tiernan struggled with the young man and was able to get the action of the rifle open. At the same time, officer Paul Gambino used a Taser to stop the man and Tiernan was able to take the rifle. Officer Brett Rell assisted in taking him into custody. The young man was taken to a hospital following the incident.
Officer Jeremy Rushkoski received an award for meritorious service in lifesaving. He responded to a call from the Family of Woodstock suicide hotline about a man who was threatening to hang himself. Supervisor Kelly Myers read from the citation: “The suicide hotline had been on the phone with the man for 45 minutes, and was not having much success talking him down. When Rushkoski arrived at the scene he found the man in the front yard of his residence. When the man saw him he jumped onto a plastic lawn chair under a tree, placed a garden hose noose around his neck, and kicked the chair out from under him.” Rushkoski grabbed the man by the waist and lifted him. The man fought back. “When most officers have a fight for life, it is usually their own life they have to fight for. This time was a little backwards,” Myers said. The man continued to fight until Sergeant Michael Craft arrived and subdued him with a Taser.
Officer Ryan Hampel wrote the largest number of tickets for driving while intoxicated in 2012, and Jonathan Tiernan wrote the second largest number. “You keep the roads safe for all of us, and that’s really, really important,” Myers said. “Having serious enforcement in the town of Saugerties means that people will think twice before they get behind the wheel and endanger themselves or others.”
Councilman Fred Costello said Hampel had received the first place award for DWI enforcement in 2011 as well. “It’s an extraordinary achievement to do this in one year, but to do it back to back … congratulations again, Ryan, for your outstanding public service,” said Councilman Fred Costello.
Officer Corey Tome received a meritorious service lifesaving award for his response to a suicide attempt. The young man had locked himself in the bathroom and said he would kill himself, the award states. “As he approached the partially open bathroom door, officer Tome noticed blood in the sink as well as on the floor,” the citation states. The man noticed Tome and slammed the door. Knowing that the young man could bleed to death quickly, he forced the door. The young man had severe lacerations on his wrist, and worse lacerations on his neck. Tome pulled the man out of the bathroom and away from the knife, but the man kept fighting him. Officer Brett Rell assisted in getting the man handcuffed and loaded into an ambulance.
The entire department received an award for its performance as a team in the apprehension of a trio of bank robbers who were responsible for seven robberies in the several days leading up to April 10, 2012, when the robbers hit the Sawyer Savings Bank on Market Street. According to the citation, which also named the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, the Saugerties police responded to an alarm at the bank just after 1 p.m. Shortly after receiving the alarm, the police dispatcher received a call from Dr. Robert Martin. Martin, who also received a good citizen award, noticed a van circling the block around the bank several times. When a man raced from the bank to the van, Martin was suspicious enough to get to his car and follow the van, and to call in to the dispatcher to report the suspicious activity. “With Dr. Martin’s eagle eye and sharp description, police were quickly able to locate the suspects’ vehicle at a rest area on the New York State Thruway,” read the citation. “After a brief foot pursuit of one of them, they were able to take all three into custody.” Further investigation revealed that the trio was allegedly responsible for as many as seven bank robberies over the previous week or so.