Department Awards and Employee Recognition
Saratoga Springs Police Department
The Saratoga Springs Police Department held its annual award ceremony today in City Hall. Recipients were recognized for their outstanding contributions to law enforcement efforts in 2009 and included members of the department, the NY State Police, and several private citizens. Additionally, Patrolman Keith Pellegri was awarded posthumously the Legion of Honor resulting from his forced retirement due to severe injuries suffered in the line-of-duty stemming from a 2006 motor vehicle crash.
Below are short narratives outlining the specific acts of each honoree. All are to be commended for their professionalism, commitment to the law enforcement profession and in the case of our citizens, their willingness to become involved. It is with everyone's help that we serve as a community police department.
PO Justin Ahigian Named 2010
Officer of the Year
Pictured (L) to (R) Lt. Gregory Veitch, Lt. Sean Briscoe, PO Justin Ahigian, Lt. Robert Jillson. Missing, Lt. Linda Quattrini
The Lieutenants of the Saratoga Springs Police Department have named Officer Justin Ahigian the 2010 Officer of the Year.
Officer Ahigian was hired in June of 2007 and is assigned to the Patrol Division working the afternoon shift. Nominated by Lt. Sean Briscoe, Officer Ahigian handled over 1,000 calls for service in 2010 and was one of the top performing officers in terms of arrests and citations issued. Officer Ahigian brings a proactive approach to police work on a daily basis and conducts thorough investigations of the incidents he is assigned to. Officer Ahigian maintains a high standard of performance in his daily duties and was credited with making several high profiles arrests during 2010.
On January 19, 2010 a subject entered the Rite Aid on West Ave and demanded that they give him narcotic drugs, threatening violence if they did not comply. Although the would-be robber was unable to obtain any drugs, Officer Ahigian noticed the subject in the area shortly after the robbery attempt and took the suspect into custody, recovering the note the suspect had used to demand the drugs.
On July 20, 2010 Officer Ahigian responded to the Saratoga National Bank on West Ave upon a report of an in progress robbery. Officer Ahigian arrived at the bank within three minutes and observed the suspect flee from the rear of the bank. Officer Ahigian then apprehended the suspect within 50 feet of the bank, recovering all of the money that was stolen.
On November 3, 2010 Officer Ahigian made a routine traffic stop on South Broadway. Officer Ahigian's became suspicious of the occupants after conducting a brief interview. A search of the vehicle was eventually conducted and in the trunk Officer Ahigian located nine pounds of marijuana.
The Officer of the Year Award is given annually by the Saratoga Springs Police Lieutenants to an officer who displays excellence in policing and dedication to duty during the course of the year.
Investigator Richard Arpei
Drug Buster Award
On August 15, 2009 while participating in an undercover drug interdiction operation on Caroline Street, you observed a suspect that appeared to be acting suspicious. You observed this suspect act in a manner that is known by you through experience to indicate illegal narcotic trafficking. Based on this information, you began to further investigate by obtaining information from the suspect's contacts as well as through surveillance. Once probable cause was established the suspect was approached and he immediately attempted to flee the area on foot. After a brief pursuit, the suspect was apprehended and a violent struggle to place him into custody ensued. During this confrontation, you saw that the suspect had in his possession paraphernalia commonly used to package LSD and was attempting to discard it. Believing that the containers potentially contained liquid LSD, knowing the risk of exposure, and fearing the destruction of the drug and other evidence, you wrestled the containers from the suspects grip. In doing so you were exposed to LSD and required follow up medical care.
Your actions, with risk to your own personal safety, resulted in the successful apprehension and prosecution of the suspect for the sale and possession of LSD. The department is proud to present the Drug Buster Award to Investigator Richard Arpei.
Trooper Richard Billings, NYS Police
Distinguished Service Award
On July 23, 2009 at about 10:50pm, police officers responded to a report of suspicious activity on Washington Street. It was later determined that a young woman had been forcibly kidnapped as she walked along Washington Street near Walnut Street. The woman had been forced into a van and made to disrobe at gunpoint as she was driven to Greenfield Center. While still moving, the victim was able to jump, unclothed, from the vehicle as it traveled along Howe Road in Greenfield Center. The victim then ran to a nearby residence where a call for help was made.
Investigators were able to obtain important information regarding the suspect and suspect vehicle through witness and victim interviews and began broadcasting this information to area law enforcement agencies. On July 26, 2009 while on routine patrol near the Village of Corinth, Trooper Richard Billings observed a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description as it traveled on Route 9N. Trooper Billings conducted a traffic stop and identified and detained the operator pending further investigation. It was later determined that the operator was in fact the suspect wanted for the forcible kidnapping. He was charged, prosecuted, and convicted after trial and is currently serving a sentence in state prison.
Because of Trooper Billings' alertness, dedication and attention to detail, investigators were able to recover important evidence in this case and ensure that a dangerous criminal was removed from the streets of Saratoga Springs. The department proudly presents the Distinguished Service Award to Trooper Richard Billings.
Patrolman Daniel Noeker
Honorable Service Award
On June 17, 2009 Patrolman Daniel Noeker, along with other members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and NYS Trooper Michael Galcik responded to a domestic violence complaint on Madeline Drive. The victim reported to police that her son – suffering from a mental illness – was in possession of a handgun and made statements that he would shoot any police officer that responded to the residence. A safe perimeter was established around the residence and efforts were being made to locate and contact the suspect in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. Officer Noeker, along with Trooper Galcik, took a position behind the residence. In doing so, they were eventually able to locate the suspect in a tree. Using tactically sound methods, Officer Noeker and Trooper Galcik were able to take the suspect into custody without further incident. While doing so, a loaded handgun was found in an accessible area to the suspect.
Officer Noeker's actions directly resulted in the successful resolution to a potentially very violent situation. The department proudly presents the Honorable Service Award to Patrolman Daniel Noeker.