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Riverhead PBA honors its heroic officers who disarmed man as ‘Officers of the Year’

Three officers who disarmed an emotionally disturbed man in a development off Middle Road last September were awarded Saturday as the Riverhead Police Benevolent Association Officers of the Year for 2019.

The annual honors were handed out to officers William Bianco, Giuseppe Rosini and Cameron Oswald in a ceremony Saturday at the Baiting Hollow Club.

“Our police officers chose to place their own safety aside to help a citizen of Riverhead,” said Riverhead Police Officer John Morris. “They moved into action without thinking of the possible consequences for their own safety.”

On Sept. 25, Officer Bianco was on routine patrol as was officer Rossini, who was training officer Oswald, according to Officer Morris.

At approximately 6:15 p.m., police received a 911 call of an emotionally disturbed and suicidal man holding a gun at a home on Sunken Pond Estates.

When the officers arrived, they were directed to an upstairs bedroom in one of the residences and officers Bianco and Rossini went up the stairs, while Officer Oswald continued to interview the witness to get more information, according to Officer Morris.

Officers Bianco and Rosini announced their presence as they entered in hopes that the man would surrender. The officers were then directed to the back of the property, where they saw a man sitting on a lawn chair with a rifle in his left hand.

The two officers then gave orders to drop the gun, but the man refused.

Officers Bianco and Rosini then ran toward the man and took him to the ground, while Officer Oswald responded and handcuffed him, according to Officer Morris.

The gun, a .22-caliber rifle, was secured, he said. The man was then taken to Stony Brook University Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, according to police.

Detective Charles Mauceri, the PBA president, said the actions of these three officers is emblematic of the department.

“Most of what we do is underappreciated and overlooked,” he said.

The PBA also handed out other awards Saturday, including recognizing the retirement of Officer Kerri Davis and detectives Dixon Palmer and Frank Hernandez, who among the three of them combined to serve the community for more than a century.

“It’s going to be a challenging year with the ridiculous bail reform law and the new changes that have been implemented by New York State.”

Officer John Morris

Officer Daniel Hogan received the Dixon Palmer PBA Member of the Year award for his work with the PBA, where he often presents new ideas for Pprograms and sees them through to completion, Officer Morris said.

Departmental commendations were also given to:

• Sergeant Dino Isgro, who was involved in the arrest of a man who was charged with 11 residential burglaries.

• Officers Raymond Laporte, Michael Carrieri and Brian Clements, who were involved in the arrest of a suspect involved in 10 burglaries over a month.

• Officers Branden Heller, Giusippe Rosini and Sergeant Jon Devereaux, who worked to get an emotionally disturbed man to the hospital before he could injure himself.

• Officer Christopher Burns, who administered the Heimlich maneuver on a man who was choking.

• Officer Robert Sproston, who was recognized for his role in rescuing a child who nearly drowned on a beach in Jamesport before he grabbed the child and ran him to an ambulance.

• Officer Mike Mowdy, who helped an elderly woman recover money she was scammed out of in a phone scam.

“2019 continued a very concerning trend of anti-police sentiment sweeping the nation,” Officer Morris said. “We fully expect 2020 to be no different. It’s going to be a challenging year with the ridiculous bail reform law and the new changes that have been implemented by New York State.”