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“Hometown Heroes!” Suozzi Honors Local Police Who Have Displayed Exemplary Heroism

August 24, 2020
Press Release
Recognizes, honors, and thanks police officers from Glen Cove, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and New York City Police Departments

On Monday, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D - Long Island, Queens) honored and thanked five law enforcement officers from across the  3rd Congressional District that he represents, who displayed exemplary heroism in the line of duty in service to our communities.  Suozzi shared each of the officer’s exceptional stories (see below) at the ceremony.


“Every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, members of our local police departments are protecting us, and serving us. Some days are uneventful. Other days are full of danger. And then there are the days when their dedication to their jobs leads them to perform extraordinary acts of heroism.” said Suozzi. "Today we are highlighting just a few police officers that represent the good work done members of our local police departments every day, and we say, “thank you.”


“Our brave police men and women put their lives at risk every day in order to protect our communities.  Nassau County Police have shown time and time again that they take their oath of duty seriously and work hard to understand and respect the communities they serve,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.  “We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for often putting our safety before their own.  Thank you Congressman Suozzi for recognizing these courageous individuals for their selfless work.”


The officers, one each from Nassau County Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, Glen Cove Police Department, and two members of the New York City Police Department were honored at a ceremony outside the Glen Cove Police Department. Congressman Suozzi recognized, thanked, and described each officer’s exemplification of bravery and presented each of them with a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol, as well as a Congressional citation. Joining Congressman Suozzi was Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, NYPD Captain John Portalatin from Bayside’s 111th Precinct, NCPD Commissioner Pat Ryder, SCPD Commissioner Geraldine Hart, Glen Cove PD Chief William Whitton, and Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke.


The following officers were honored by Congressman Suozzi at Monday’s ceremony:


Michael Ippolito and Lauren Creighton

NYPD, Queens Precinct 111

On December 27, 2019, Officers Ippolito and Creighton were on patrol duty when the mother of a 13-month old infant called to say that her son had stopped breathing while she was driving on the Cross Island Parkway.  The officers conducted a canvas of a portion of the parkway. When they found the infant, he was unconscious, unresponsive, and not breathing.  Officer Ippolito immediately began to administer air to the infant via an airbag attached to the infant’s trach-tube while Officer Creighton coordinated emergency personnel.  The infant regained consciousness and was transported to the hospital by ambulance.  He made a full recovery.  For their efforts, Officers Ippolito and Creighton were nominated by the 111th Precinct for the NYPD Cop of the Year Award.


Keith Owens

Nassau County Police Department

On July 25, 2020, many calls were received that there was an active shooter at Americana Manhasset.  The callers reported multiple shots and many of the stores went into full lockdown.  Officer Keith Owens rushed to the scene to assess the situation and eliminate any ongoing threats to human life.  One witness was able to identify the shooter who fled on foot.  Officer Owens chased after the subject and ultimately apprehended him.  At the same time, other Nassau County officers discovered six spent .380 shell casings and a car that had been struck by two bullets.  The gun involved in the shooting and traceable to the perpetrator was found near the area where the shooting took place.  Officer Owen is a five-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department who is assigned to the Sixth Precinct and has Plandome Heights as his patrol area.


Christopher Jablonski

Suffolk County Police Department

 On March 25, 2020, Officer Jablonski received a report that someone was drowning in the frigid water in the vicinity of the Cold Spring Harbor boat ramp.  The officer saw that the victim was about 150 -200 feet out.  He found a small boat and rowed out to the victim, using his hands as paddles.  He was not able to pull the victim into the boat, nor was he able to row back to shore with the victim clinging to the boat.  The victim was showing signs of hypothermia, so Officer Jablonski jumped into the water to save the victim.  Rescue personnel on shore were able to throw a rescue line once the officer and victim were within 40-50 feet of the shoreline.  The victim was transported to a local hospital where his core temperature was below the threshold for hypothermia.  Officer Jablonski willingly and selflessly put his own safety at risk in order to save the victim.  For his efforts, he was named Suffolk County Cop of the Month for June 2020.


Darren Pittman

Glen Cove Police Department

On November 9, 2019, at 4:20 am, Officer Pittman received a distressing text from an off-duty Nassau County police officer who lives in Glen Cove. Officer Pittman immediately called the officer. He felt the officer was depressed and had thoughts of suicide; hence, Officer Pittman called the Glen Cove Police Department for backup and proceeded to the Nassau officer’s home in his private vehicle.  He found the Nassau officer sitting in a vehicle with his off-duty handgun in his hand and his duty weapon on the front seat.  When Officer Pittman realized that the Nassau officer was ready to take his life, he lunged for the gun and wrestled it away from the Nassau officer.  The officer became hostile but was subsequently subdued by the responding officers and taken to the hospital for evaluation.  In 2019, a record number of New York officers committed suicide. Thanks to the valiant efforts of Officer Pittman, this instance did not result in an even higher number.  The Nassau officer is currently receiving treatment and intervention from his command.