Riverhead Town police officer Patrick Lennon has been named Officer of the Year for his quick thinking, which helped save five people, including a 7-year-old boy, from peril in the Long Island Sound.
Mr. Lennon received the award, presented by Riverhead Police Captain Richard Smith, at the Southampton Town Kiwanis Club’s 43rd Annual Police Awards Ceremony, Friday night.
On the night of July 8, the Riverhead Police Department received word of several people yelling for help from Long Island Sound waters. Mr. Lennon and Police officer Jeffrey Hamilton responded to the scene.
“They reported that they were out fishing when a wave hit the boat, flipping it,” Mr. Smith said. “When [Officers Lennon and Hamilton ] arrived on scene, bystanders said they heard several voices screaming for help. It was at this time that [Mr. Lennon] decided to utilize a motor boat to help with rescue efforts.”
“It was just spur of the moment,” Mr. Lennon said. “I figured everyone else was further away.” Mr. Hamilton stayed on shore to relay messages.
Along with three local residents, Mr. Lennon took to the water, locating two men in the dark of night, about a quarter-mile offshore. After pulling them into the boat, “The rescued men then informed them there were three more victims in the water, one being a 7-year-old boy,” Mr. Smith said.
“At that point, we literally dragged them into the boat, we had to move,” said Mr. Lennon, an officer since 2006 and a father himself.
Rescuers continued to search the “pitch black” water, finding the three more victims clinging to an overturned boat about a half-mile out. Only two of the victims were wearing life jackets, Mr. Smith said.
Mr. Lennon and the local residents pulled them onto the boat and brought all five people safely to shore.