Niagara Gazette — When I worked in radio and television I always complained that I didn’t have enough “time” to tell my stories.
Then, when I joined the Gazette, I thought I would always have enough “space’ to tell every story. I quickly learned that just as “time” is limited in radio and television news, “space” is also limited in the daily newspaper.
So let me explain that it was “limited space” not oversight that left the names and stories of some of the Falls’ finest out of our story about the 2013 Falls Police Department’s annual awards. As the legendary Paul Harvey would say, “Here is the rest of the story.”
In running out of “space”, I omitted the recipient’s of one of the department’s highest honors, the Combat Cross.
The award, which isn’t handed out every year, is given to an officer for individual acts of heroism in face of great personal danger with an armed adversary. In other words, this award honors those who act in life and death situations.
This year’s Combat Cross went to Narcotics Det. John Galie and then Narcotics Lt. (now Police Superintendent) Bryan DalPorto. The two veteran officers were cited for their actions when a pair of probable home invasion suspects showed up at the scene of a Narcotics
Investigation Division raid.
Galie and DalPorto were in an apartment, wrapping up a search and arrest, when two men knocked on the door and appeared to be suspicious. When they went to question the two men, they found both were armed with handguns.
What happened next was a violent struggle in the tight quarters of an apartment building hallway as Galie and DalPorto struggled to disarm the suspects. The encounter could have been deadly, but Galie and DalPorto were able to subdue both men and get control of their guns.
For their bravery, Galie and DalPorto were awarded the Combat Cross.
And more honors
In addition to the Combat Cross awards, the department also honored a half dozen officers with the Honorable Service Medal.
Officers Kevin Henderson and Andrew Pappas were cited for their actions after finding a lost child and then discovering two more unattended children who were in close proximity to a loaded shotgun.
Officers Michael Tarnowski and Theodore Weed Jr. were honored for their quick work and teamwork in apprehending three suspects in an armed robbery.
Officer Troy Earp was recognized for his “commendable actions” in investigating a series of car break-ins in the South End tourist district. The citation noted that “Officer Earp’s tenacity and outstanding investigative abilities led to the arrest and successful prosecution of the responsible party.”
Officer Shawn Watson was commended for his actions in responding to a burglary in progress call and nabbing an armed suspect.
The department also honored the work of CRT Marilyn Clark, who is credited with saving the life of an individual who tried to hang himself. Clark took a 911 call from the individual and was able to get officers to him in time to save his life.
Folks in the Falls are fortunate to have public servants like these looking out for their safety.Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer at 282-2311, ext. 2252.