Niagara Gazette — What a difference a year can make in the life of a Falls police officer.
Last April, Officer Shaun Bielec was honored with the department’s Distinguished Junior Officer Award. It was his last year of eligibility for the award.
Then, on Wednesday, he received the Leo Maj Memorial Award. The Maj Award is the top honor given to “senior officers.”
“I was in disbelief,” Bielec said afterward. “Last year I sat next to (now Lieutenant) Dave Cudahy when he got (the Maj Award) and I just thought about all the things he had accomplished in the department. And now, a year later, it’s me. I’m just really humbled.”
Bielec was one of three dozen Falls officers and detectives honored on Wednesday at the department’s annual award ceremony at city hall. Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto called the ceremony one of the best parts of his job.
“I have the best job in the world, because I get to lead these officers,” he said. “As courageous and brave as the officers we honored were, those acts are taking place every day in this department. Our officers do this work every day.”
Bielec, who joined the department in 2008 and is a Patrol Division officer, was described in his award citation as “motivated, eager and conscientious” and a “team player” who every day demonstrates a desire to learn and advance as a police officer. As a field training officer, Bielec was praised for the time he spends working with rookie officers to develop them “to be the best that they can be.”
Officer Shawn Watson received the Distinguished Junior Officer Award. Watson was cited for his “enthusiasm” for the job and was praised for the extra work he puts in to prepare for his Patrol Division shifts.
Police brass also pointed out that, even as a junior officer, Watson makes a point of being familiar with the residents and businesses in his patrol area.