Utica's finest were honored today at the 87th Annual Utica Police Department Awards Ceremony at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Utica. Several officers from other police agencies were recognized as well. It was a great morning filled with stories of bravery, heroism, and selflessness.

Many city and police department officials, as well as heads of other public safety agencies were present to show their support. The list included Chief Russell Brooks of the Utica Fire Department, Sheriff Rob Maciol of the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, and Major Francis Coots of the New York State Police, to name a few. Awards were given in a number of categories including Honorable Service, Exceptional Service, Meritorious Service, Life Saving, and Civilian Awards.

Andrew Derminio

For only the third time in the history of the Utica Police Department the Medal of Honor was awarded. The recipient was Officer John Scaramuzzino for his efforts to subdue a shooting suspect outside of Level Bar in October 2014. Because of his bravery, Officer Scaramuzzino also received the Annual Thomas M. Lindsey Memorial Award. Officer Lindsey was also a recipient of the UPD Medal of Honor.

Another award given out at this year's awards ceremony is one that dates back several


years, The Ed Ruffing/Ken Schaaf Memorial Superior Officer of the Year Award. This award is given to the UPD officer who goes above and beyond in every aspect of his job. The award is in memory of two long-time Observer Dispatch police and fire reporters. This year's recipient was Sgt. James Holt.

WIBX caught up with both Chief Mark Williams and Mayor Rob Palmieri after the ceremony to get their thoughts on the morning.

Both Mayor Palmieri and Chief Mark Williams spoke about how much the city has overcome, especially when it comes to finances. Chief Williams also mentioned how important this day was given the negative attention law enforcement has received the past few months. Congratulations are in order to all the brave men and women who received awards and as Lt. Steve Hauck said several times throughout the presentation, "These officers bring honor to themselves and the Utica Police Department."

Full List of Award Winners

Medal of Honor: Officer John Scaramuzzino

Meritorious Service: Trooper Christopher Swienton (NYSP)

Exceptional Duty: Officer John Lomonico
Trooper Charles Humphreville (NYSP)

Unit Citation- METRO SWAT
Lieutenant Donald Cinque
Lieutenant Brian Bansner
Sergeant James Holt
Sergeant Christopher Faniglula
Sergeant Edward Hagen
Sergeant Keith Phillips
Sergeant Steven Fitzgerald (Ret.)
Sergeant Ronald Fontaine (NHPD)
Sergeant Peter Colburn (NHPD)
Investigator Joseph Amerosa
Investigator Paul Paladino
Officer Bryon Combellack
Officer Shannon Acquaviva
Officer Patrick West
Officer Howard Brodt
Officer Andrew Allen (NHPD)
Officer Patrick Sacco (NHPD)
Officer Matthew Sica (NHPD
Ed Ruffing & Ken Schaaf Memorial Award for Outstanding Supervision: Sgt. James Holt

Lifesaving: Officer Charles Parkosewich
Officer Titus Ciccone
Officer Anthony Aurience

Honorable Service

Sgt. Michael D’Ambro
Sgt. Dominick Nitti
Sgt. Joseph Cucharale
Sgt. Mark Fields
Sgt. Brian French
Sgt. Michael Curley
Inv. Peter Paladino
Inv Paul Paladino
Inv Joseph Amerosa
Inv. Timothy Moore
Inv William Williams
Officer Rocco Zasa
Officer Sean Bubnis
Officer Joseph Dare
Officer John Lomonico
Officer Michael Washington
Officer Peter Potasiewicz
Officer Serif Seferagic
Officer David Singe
Officer Michael Mahay
Officer Shannon Acquaviva
Officer Joshua Sweet
Officer Daniel Mahaffy
Officer Adam Howe
Officer Dzevad Bajrektarevic
Officer John Detraglia
Officer Daniel Gymburch
Officer Vincent Parotta
Officer David Desens
Officer Pernell Wadley
Officer Kevin Strife
Officer Patrick Murphy
Officer Marc Palmer
Officer Jacob Penree
Officer Robert Hartnett
Officer Angela Funicello
Officer Eric Weir
Officer Joshua Harrington
Officer Titus Ciccone
Officer Anthony Aurience
Officer Eric White
Officer Dzenan Sabanovic
Officer Keith Phillips
Deputy Michael Ladd (OCSD)
Trooper Christopher Swienton (NYSP)
Trooper Chad Salls (NYSP)

[EDITOR's NOTE: In the photo above Sgt. James Holt is pictured with WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning producer, Andrew Derminio, who is the grandson of Ed Ruffing, for whom the award is named.]