It wasn’t just the time he and another officer rescued a man from a burning mobile home that earned Officer Anthony Montalbano the Riverhead Police Benevolent Association’s “Cop of the Year” award.
The time he arrested an armed robbery suspect wasn’t necessarily the reason either.
And his assistance in detaining a barricaded subject also wasn’t the only action that earned him the honors.
It was all these incidents and the way Mr. Montalbano handles himself on a daily basis that led to him receiving the award, PBA officials said at the organization’s annual installation dinner at the Suffolk Theater Friday evening.
“Police officer Anthony Montalbano comes to work every day and never complains, he does what he’s asked to do,” PBA vice president John Morris said during the ceremony. “He does a great job and he deserves this award.”
Mr. Morris said Mr. Montalbano’s name kept coming up when officials discussed the award. The officer was humbled by the recognition.
“I’m very proud to accept the award,” Mr. Montalbano said. “There’s a lot of good things that happened this year throughout the department, so it’s definitely an honor.”
On Jan. 19 2016, Mr. Montalbano responded to the call of an armed robbery on Wilson Ave. He discovered the suspect walking the streets as he was conducting his perimeter search. As he attempted to interview the subject, the man reached into his pocket and Mr. Montalbano sprung into action. He felt a gun in the suspect’s pocket, grabbed it and threw it out of the way as he subdued him.
Mr. Montalbano, who is in his fourth year with the department after serving six years with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy, said his favorite part of his job is the interaction with the community he lives in and his fellow officers.
“Everything we do is a coordinated effort with the other officers,” he said. “It can’t be a one-man or a one-woman show. It has to be a coordination of efforts. Without that help, it’s very difficult to do the job.”
In addition to honoring Mr. Montalbano, the PBA also awarded “Member of the Year” honors to Officer Richard Anderson. Mr. Anderson grew-up in Riverhead and has been a police officer for 20 years.
He received the award for his hard work and dedication to the town, including organizing the department’s annual drive to donate toys and food to needy families in the area.
“It’s a great feeling to be honored for all the hard work we do,” Mr. Anderson said. “The guys are doing a really great job. It’s good to see people get acknowledged for the work we do everyday.”
This year the police department also used the dinner as a time to acknowledge other officers who received honors for their work this year. That list of officers includes the following:
Detective Dino Isgro
Sgt. Jon Devereaux
Det. Michael Schmidt
Sgt. Jill Kubetz