Town Supervisor Paula Mahan, Officer of the Year Patrick Fennelly and Chief Jonathan Teale. Photo courtsey of the Colonie Police Department
Earlier this month, the Town of Colonie and the Police Department recognized some of their own for outstanding work and dedication to the profession and the people they serve. They are as follows.
Martin Howarth and Kristen Loya
On March 21, at approximately Kristen Loya was at her home when she heard a window break at the business next door. When she looked she saw a man with pantyhose over his face climbing through a window. She yelled at him and he ran.
At this time Martin Howarth, who was working in the area, saw the man still wearing the pantyhose over his head and carrying a crowbar, so he followed him and got the vehicle’s license plate.
Police units responding used the information they received from Howarth and Loya and apprehend the burglar.
It was subsequently discovered that the suspect was currently on parole for burglary and had committed three other burglaries in that neighborhood before being seen.
Officer Connor Anson
On Nov. 9, 2018 Officer Connor Anson was conducting surveillance at a local motel known for drug activity when he observed a suspicious vehicle arrive at the motel and only stay for a brief time.
Knowing this was indicative of a drug transaction, Anson attempted to stop the vehicle. While the vehicle was being pulled over, occupants threw something out a window.
Anson discovered that the discarded items were ecstasy pills. A subsequent search of the driver revealed more ecstasy pills and cocaine.
When the search warrant was executed at the hotel room, 200 grams of cocaine was recovered and an informant was developed.
The informant then assisted Anson and members of the Special Investigations Unit with the arrest of main supplier and a seizure of an additional 200 grams of cocaine.
The investigation resulted in the prosecution of two high level drug traffickers and the seizure of over 400 grams of cocaine.
Officers Chris Smith, Javier Martinez and Austin Blais
In March 2018, information regarding a known parolee with a substantial criminal history was in possession of an illegal handgun and residing at a residence in Colonie. Officer Javier Martinez began conducting surveillance on the location, and eventually observed suspicious activity occurring in and around a vehicle parked in the driveway. Martinez passed the information gathered onto other officers including Officer Chris Smith, who discovered the vehicle was registered to an address in the Valley View Apartments.
Smith spotted the vehicle on March 8 and upon approach, the vehicle was found to be unoccupied and Smith, along with Officer Austin Blais, decided to conduct further surveillance in the area. A short time later two males exited an apartment, entered the vehicle, and committed a vehicle and traffic violation while leaving the complex.
The vehicle briefly tried to evade the officers but stopped in a nearby driveway where Smith and Blais quickly took up safe positions, requested additional backup, and verbally engaged the occupants. While interviewing the occupants they learned a handgun was reportedly inside the vehicle and a loaded .45 caliber handgun was recovered.
Officer John Bushey
On Feb. 11, Officer John Bushey was dispatched to Victory Church located at 1 Van Buren Ave. in the Town of Colonie. While conducting his preliminary investigation he reviewed the video surveillance which contained images of the burglar. While checking the area for anyone matching the description, he came across an individual walking with a similar gait to the suspect that was caught on surveillance.
The suspect, when shown the video, confessed to the burglary and Bushey was able to recover the Church’s $1,642.
Investigators Nicholas Layne and Nicholas Sidoti
In early 2018, Investigators Nicholas Layne and Nicholas Sidoti began investigating a series of rim/tire larcenies that had occurred in various car lots in Colonie, with possible connections to thefts outside our jurisdiction. One particular incident resulted in a loss of $13,590.
Layne developed information of a particular style vehicle involved in the theft, and was able to find a possible match using license plate reader data. This vehicle was traced back to Lowell, Massachusetts, and after traveling there and interviewing multiple people, Layne and Sidoti developed a suspect.
They executed multiple search warrants and subpoenas, to obtain cell phone records which connected the suspects to the Colonie thefts, as well as other regional thefts.
The suspect as taken into custody in New Hampshire, and extradited to New York to face charges. This suspect is believed to have been involved in local rim thefts valued at over $100,000, and is part of a large organized ring operating out of Providence, Rhode Island.
Officer Ardit Potka
On Jan. 31, 2019 Officer Ardit Potka conducted a traffic stop in the area of Central Ahl avenues for a motorist using his cell phone while operating a vehicle.
While interviewing the driver, Potka learned that the subject had a suspended driver’s license and also appeared very nervous.
When the driver exited the vehicle Potka noticed the subject had lowered his pants considerably compared to their initial contact. A roadside search of the driver revealed a loaded .38 caliber handgun which had been tucked inside his pants.
The subsequent investigation revealed the subject had recently been shot in a nearby jurisdiction and had an extensive, violent criminal history. The driver was charged with weapons and drug charges.
Det. Sgt. Guy Jubert, Investigator Robert Willey and Investigator Matthew Garrigan
In September 2018, police received a complaint from a local business owner that there were suspicious vehicles meeting in his parking lot and appeared to be on going drug transactions. Investigators Matthew Garrigan and Robert Willey started an investigation and worked countless hours of surveillance from September 2018 through January 2019.
A confidential informant was eventually identified and worked with the investigators to purchase cocaine from the suspect. After control sales were conducted into the target a search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence and the case resulted in over $100,000, two vehicles and over ten ounces of cocaine seized.
Trevor English and Melinda Frazer-Landon and Sergeant Louis DiNuzzo
On Aug. 24, 2018 Sgt. Louis DiNuzzo was dispatched to a personal injury auto accident. The patient in this case was 89 years old and went into cardiac arrest while driving his car on Troy-Schenectady Road. He lost control of his vehicle and it came to rest in an open field.
A concerned citizen, Trevor English, pulled over to assist and dialed 911. He then began CPR along with another concerned citizen, Melinda Frazer-Landon until they were relieved by Sgt. Louis DiNuzzo. With the help of Colonie EMS they were able to regain a pulse. The patient was transported alive to Samaritan Hospital.
Sgt. Thomas Breslin and Officer Frank Peris
On Sept. 3, 2018 Officer Frank Peris responded to an EMS call at a residence for an unresponsive female patient. Upon arrival, he realized the woman had no pulse and was not breathing and he began CPR.
Sgt. Thomas Breslin arrived on scene and brought a AED with him. While assisting with CPR, Breslin also administered a shock from the AED.
Upon EMS arrival the woman had regained a faint pulse and was now breathing. She was transported to the hospital by Colonie EMS where she recovered.
Officer Jacques Tremblay
On March 16, Officer Jacques Tremblay was dispatched to Central Avenue where a vehicle had crash into two telephone poles.
The driver was in cardiac arrest and Tremblay started CPR. EMS arrived and in between Tremblay giving CPR and administering two separate shocks from their AED the victim regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital alive.
Officer Aaron Hanley
On Jan. 17, Officer Aaron Hanley responded to a private residence for an infant reportedly unconscious and not breathing. Upon arrival, Hanley found the 3-day-old baby unresponsive and confirmed she wasn’t breathing so he began life saving measures specific to infants, including CPR. The baby was admitted to Albany Medical Center and a follow-up with her parents in the following days revealed she was now in stable condition.
Investigator Michael Warner, Officer Ryan Berkery and Dispatcher Corey Friedman
On Dec. 19, 2018 Dispatcher Corey Friedman took a 911 medical call about a 58-year-old victim who initially was experiencing chest pain but had stopped breathing.
Friedman was able to give CPR instructions to the caller who simultaneously began CPR on the victim. Investigator Michael Warner and Officer Ryan Berkery who were dispatched to this call arrived and took over CPR on the victim, using a two-person CPR technique. Colonie EMS arrived shortly thereafter and began advanced life-saving measures. The victim regained a pulse and consciousness on scene.
Traffic Investigator Michael Warner
Investigator Michael Warner, of the Traffic Safety Division, is a certified Drug Recognition Expert and He utilized those skills on 27 drivers suspected of being impaired in 2018.
Eighteen of those cases ended with full drug evaluations and arrests for driving while impaired by drugs. The other cases resulted in arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
He also aided several other local departments with impaired driving enforcement when he was called in as a DRE for them, extending inter-departmental cooperation and fostering positive interaction with these agencies.
Distinguished Service Award
Explorer Lt. Noah Battuello
Lt. Noah Battuello has been with the Colonie Police Explorer Post since 2015.
He has won numerous awards at various station days including traffic stops, active shooter and domestic violence response. In 2018 he served the most community service hours in the post.
He was awarded the posts community service award for this dedication
Battuello can always be relied upon to volunteer when needed and is always willing to offer advice and direction to new explorers.
Distinguished Service Award
Senior Dispatcher Frank Lawyer
Dispatcher Frank Lawyer started his career in communications in January 2005. Since that time, Frank has always shown true dedication, professionalism and commitment to the residents of the Town of Colonie and his coworkers at the police department.
He was a training officer for many years and advanced his career in 2011 achieving the rank of senior dispatcher. Over his career Frank has taken part in many committees, he has taken the Instructor Development course and has helped train well over 100 new dispatchers in the Dispatcher Basic School program where he taught the technology portion of the course.
Distinguished Service Award
Officer Patrick Fennelly
Officer Pat Fennelly has been a Police Officer for the Colonie Police Department for 16 years. Currently Officer Fennelly works the midnight shift where he is a Field Training Officer. His coworkers look to him for guidance and leadership when handling complex calls particularly those which require a high level of tactics. Fennelly has been a member of the Special Services Team for nine years. As a tactical member he quickly ascended up the ranks and currently is the teams primary “point guy.” Pat has the full confidence and trust of the team leaders when making critical decisions during call outs.
In 2018 Fennelly made numerous arrests including:
• While on a detail for larcenies from vehicles, HE noticed a suspicious subject at a nearby gas station. Upon interviewing the subject and completing a street-level investigation, he developed enough information to request consent to search. During his search of the subject’s vehicle he discovered a loaded illegal handgun.
• While on patrol, he noticed and approached a subject acting suspicious in the parking lot of a local bar. After interviewing the subject Pat developed enough information to search him and it was discovered that he was in possession of a half-ounce of powder cocaine.
Throughout Fennelly’s career he has earned and received numerous awards he is the past recipient of four command recognition awards and a life-saving award.
Most importantly Pat doesn’t just work his shift; he has expanded his role in our department by being an FTO and serving on the SST.