Port police recognize officers, detectives at awards ceremony

Luke Torrance
Officers Christopher Mele, Nicholas Cangemi and Jimmy Ambroise hold their Lifesaving Awards during Thursday's Port Washington Police District award ceremony. (Courtesy of PWPD)

Working to bust doctors pushing pills on patients, peacefully arresting a man armed with a rifle, saving a resident who had harmed himself — for these actions and more, members of the Port Washington Police Department received awards at a ceremony on Thursday.

“We take an opportunity this evening to single out the actions of our honorees, who have performed their duties in a manner in which a committee of their peers have determined went above and beyond the normal call of duty,” Assistant Chief Jeffrey Morris said during the ceremony, which was held at the Port Washington Public Library.

First to be honored was Detective Dean Steinmann, who received the Medal of Commendation for his work with state and New York City law enforcement to break up a narcotics ring run by several Brooklyn medical clinics. In addition to flooding the black market with painkillers, the clinics also defrauded Medicaid and Medicare and laundered money.

Thirteen people were charged, according to a press release from April 2017, including former state Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny.

Morris said the award went to Steinmann for performing a highly creditable and unusual police-related task.

“It feels good to be recognized for the work that you do, by your own peers,” Steinmann said after the ceremony.

He also received a Meritorious Police Service Award for his work helping to break up a different narcotics ring in Rocky Point, N.Y. His work on gathering information took place over several years.

Also receiving the Meritorious Police Service Award — which is given to a member who distinguishes him or herself with an act that “is performed in a manner beyond normal expectations” — were Detectives Michael Alberti and Donald Wilson and Officers Michele Cetta and Cortright.

Alberti and Wilson received their awards for an investigation into Tony’s Grab’ n Go in Port, where a Glen Cove man was arrested for selling drugs out of the store.

Cetta and Cortwright were rewarded for their response to a domestic dispute, where a man threatened a resident with a rifle. The officers were able to locate the man and convinced him to toss the gun from his car before arresting him.

Cetta, along with Detectives Domenico Morrocu and Raymond Ryan and Officers Kyle Lewis and John Steadman, received the Command Recognition award for their response to a home invasion.

The award goes to members who perform “a task in an exemplary manner” in the line of duty.

Detective Sergeant Thomas McCarthy received the award for his work as property room supervisor. Detective Charles Kouvel was rewarded for his response to a parking complaint that led him to arrest a man with several open warrants. Detective Ryan received another award for work recovering a stolen gold chain.

Officer John Bellini received the Command Recognition award for helping to recover a stolen vehicle, which he shared with Sergeant Robert Cavalli. Officer Raymond Neuman also received the award for recovering a stolen vehicle.

Officers Daniel Guido and Brandon Vail were rewarded for helping to save a man who had tried to commit suicide by stabbing.

Saban Aykanat received the Civilian Award for assisting Neuman in the rescuing of two teenage boaters on Manhasset Bay.

There was also the Lifesaving Award, which was given to Officers Jimmy Ambroise, Nicholas Cangemi and Christopher Mele for saving the lives of several men found unconscious.

Rabbi Shalom M. Paltiel of Chabad of Port Washington opened the ceremony with a prayer. Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio closed the ceremony with some brief remarks.

“It’s a dangerous job and sometimes people take you for granted,” she said. “And we shouldn’t.”

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