Each year the Utica Police Department takes time to hold a ceremony to honor the brave men and women who put on the uniform each day and put their lives at risk. In most cases each of the awards given out involved the removal of a dangerous illegal firearm from the streets.

It's a personal honor to cover the stories throughout the year of these officers doing incredibly dangerous, but important things. They are truly an inspiration and these award winners demonstrate exactly why the Utica Police Department is one of the best in the nation.

The following men and women were recognized for their bravery and outstanding service in the line of duty.

Meritorious Service

Dewey, Inv. Paul
Jukic, Inv. Dino

Exceptional Service

Baye, Officer Brian
Bruzzese, Sgt. Frederick
Cerminaro, Inv. Michael
Cross, Officer Matthew
Felton, Officer Myles
Femia, Officer James
Giruzzi, Officer James
Goldstein, Sgt. Charles
Gomez, Inv. Steven
Husnay, Officer Patrick
Jukic, Inv. Dino (2 Awards)
Kellogg, Officer Raymond
Lentricchia, Officer David
Lynn, Officer Ryan
Marroccolo, Officer Angelo
Piersall, Sgt. Kyle
Rodriguez, Officer Jariel
Rodriguez Ramirez, Officer Cristhofer
Skibinski, Sgt. Joshua
Viscomi, Officer Adrian
West, Officer Patrick
Williams, Officer Stephen (2 Awards)

Unit Citation - Crime Prevention Unit

Ambrose, Inv. Zachary
Baye, Officer Brian
Berger, Lt. Ashley
Citriniti, Officer Andrew
Evans, Sgt. Christopher
Fee, Officer Kyle
Goldstein, Sgt. Charles
Gomez, Inv. Steven
Gray, Officer Steven
Husnay, Officer Patrick
Lange, Officer Richard
Patterson, Officer Bryce
Piersall, Sgt. Kyle
Rodriguez, Officer Jariel

Honorable Service

Ambrose, Inv. Zachary (4 Awards)
Amuso, Officer James
Aiello, Officer Joseph
Austin, Sgt. Joshua (2 Awards)
Baye, Officer Brian (6 Awards)
Citriniti, Officer Andrew (2 Awards)
Dewey, Inv. Paul (2 Awards)
Evans, Sgt. Christopher (4 Awards)
Fee, Officer Kyle
Femia, Officer James
Gil, Officer Bryan
Goldstein, Sgt. Charles (2 Awards)
Gomez, Inv. Steven (6 Awards)
Husnay, Officer Patrick (4 Awards)
Jukic, Inv. Dino (2 Awards)
Kellogg, Officer Raymond
Lange, Officer Richard (2 Awards)
Lanza, Officer Joseph
Lynn, Officer Ryan
Paladino, Inv. Paul
Patterson, Officer Bryce
Putrello, Officer Drew (2 Awards)
Rodriguez, Officer Jariel (6 Awards)
Sabanovic, Sgt. Dzenan
Williams, Officer Stephen
Williams, Inv. William
Zayas, Officer Daniel
Conover, Jaime (NYS Parole)
Karcic, Inv. Sahid (OCSO)
Keblish, Michael (U.S. Marshal)
Traglia, David (NYS Parole)

Distinguished Service

Laurey, Sgt. James (Retired)

Benny Rotundo Courageous Officer of the Year

This particular award is giving in honor of longtime Utica Police member and former Utica Police Chief Benny Rotundo. His wife spoke about the legacy of her husband and the love he had of being a police officer. Her words spoke to the young police officers and experienced veterans in the audience.

The following two UPD members were honored with this award for their bravery in an instance of trying to apprehend a suspect who was literally trying to kill them. Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Curley of the UPD spoke about the multiple attempts the suspect made to pull the trigger and kill the officers by shooting them in the head.

Inv. Paul Dewey
Inv. Dino Jukic

Schaaf/Ruffing Superior Officer of the Year

Andrew Derminio/WIBX
Andrew Derminio/WIBX

Wooden, Lt. Starr Rae

This award is close to the heart of this reporter as it is co-named in honor of my Grandfather, a former Utica Observer Dispatch Police and Fire Reporter, Ed Ruffing. Ruffing was my mother's father and he prided himself and his reporting on the positive and close relationships he had with police and fire. He reported on stories with true respect for their jobs and it is an honor for me to live somewhat in his journalistic shadow.

Members of the Ruffing family in attendance were Mark Ruffing and members of Ken Schaaf's family pictured above were Gail Geer and Lauri Schaaf. Ken was also a police and fire reporter who worked closely with Ruffing. They were also both very good friends. This award is one of the highest honor given at the annual event. This year's distinguished recipient was Lt. Starr Rae Wooden. Deputy Chief Ed Noonan was the presenter of this prestigious award. He said of Wooden, "If there was anyone I would want to answer the call to save my family, it would no doubt be Wooden." The award goes to the Superior Officer of the Year Award honoring a supervisor within the department.

To all those men and women who so proudly serve our community and keep us safe. You all deserve awards everyday, but thank you and congratulations to all those honored today. No words can adequately show the appreciation this community has for your service.

Blue Wave Hits Central New York to Show Support for Our Police Officers

A massive blue wave hit Central New York. Hundreds wore blue to show support for our law enforcement officers.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Syracuse Officer Jensen's Heartbreaking Procession Back Home to Rome

Hundreds of First Responders lined the streets and overpasses for slain Syracuse Police Officer Jensen's heartbreaking procession back home to Rome.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

12 Of New York State's Most Wanted Criminals- May 2024

Below are individuals wanted by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's (DOCCS) Office of Special Investigations who have been designated as its Most Wanted Fugitives. They should be considered armed and dangerous. This list is current as of 5/01/2024:

NEVER attempt to apprehend a fugitive yourself. If you have information on the location of any of these fugitives, you can contact OSI 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to report it. All leads and tips are treated as confidential information.

If an immediate response is necessary, such as you see the wanted person at a location, please call “911” and report it to the police.

Gallery Credit: Dave Wheeler

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