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PR- 186-07
June 12, 2007


One Medal of Honor, Two Purple Shields, Seven Police Combat Crosses, and 14 Medals of Valor Awarded

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today honored 24 members of the New York City Police Department at the 2007 Medal Day ceremony by awarding one Medal of Honor, two Purple Shields, seven Police Combat Crosses, and 14 Medals of Valor.  The Mayor and Police Commissioner were joined by family members of the honorees at the ceremony at One Police Plaza.

“Because of the NYPD, New York City remains the undisputed safest big city in the country,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Only last week, the FBI confirmed that even as crime went up in the rest of the nation during 2006, in our City it continued to fall to levels not seen in decades. Day in and day out, the men and women of the NYPD make the exceptional seem ordinary. We don’t take what they do for granted.”

“Sir Walter Scott said, real valor consists not in being insensible to danger; but in being prompt to confront and disarm it. That’s exactly what we recognize today,” said Police Commissioner Kelly. “The courage and the valor of New York City police officers who recognized danger and promptly confronted and disarmed it. These are the defining moments; the moments that separate public service from extraordinary public service; from ordinary duty to service beyond the call of duty.”

The NYPD first awarded the Medal of Honor, the Police Department’s highest award, in 1871.  Since then, the NYPD has also recognized the extraordinary performance of duty by presenting the Police Combat Cross, the NYPD’s second highest honor, and the Medal of Valor, the NYPD’s third highest honor.  The Purple Shield was first awarded in 1995 to reflect meritorious service where serious injury or death was incurred in the performance of duty. 

The Medal of Honor was awarded to Retired Detective Patrick Caprice who on June 1, 2005, chased a suspect involved in a narcotics transaction and was shot multiple times.  Despite being gravely wounded, Detective Caprice was able to raise himself from the ground and return fire at the suspect, hitting him three times before the gunman could deliver a mortal wound to Detective Caprice or his partner.  Detective Caprice was removed from the scene by back-up units and successfully underwent several hours of life saving surgery.

The Purple Shield was awarded to Police Officer Francis J. Hennessy.  On January 9 2006, Officer Hennessy suffered a brain aneurysm after responding to back-up fellow officers on a call of shots fired. Police Officer Hennessy was born in Ireland and moved to the United States in 1991. After becoming a citizen in 1997, he fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. During his career he made over 75 arrests and earned three commendations for Excellent Police Duty.

Police Officer Kevin M. Lee was also awarded the Purple Shield. On January 27, 2006, Police Officer Lee sustained a fatal heart attack while chasing a suspect on foot. Police Officer Lee made over 200 arrests during his career. Prior to becoming a police officer, Lee was a three-year volunteer member of the NYPD’s Auxiliary Police force, where he completed more than 1,400 hours of civic service. 

This year, seven officers received the Police Combat Cross, which recognizes courage and heroism during personal combat with an armed adversary, and 14 officers received the Medal of Valor, which recognizes personal bravery in the face of imminently dangerous or life-threatening situations. Unit Citations were awarded to 11 various units.

Police Combat Cross
Detective Peter Garrido - Warrant Section
Sergeant John Gallagher - Harbor Unit
Sergeant Kevin Phelan - 113th Precinct
Police Officer David Pralgo - 75th Precinct
Detective James Killen - Brooklyn South Gang Squad
Retired Sergeant Patrick O’Boyle - Police Service Area 5
Detective Erik Hansen - Manhattan Robbery Squad

Medal of Valor
Detective Arturo Willis - Counter Terrorism Division
Police Officer Carlos Arroyo - Brooklyn South Gang Squad
Retired Police Officer Kai Wong - 47th Precinct
Sergeant William Danchak -  Employee Management Division
Sergeant Edward Deighan - 70th Precinct
Sergeant Richard Pignateli - 67th Precinct
Detective James Halleran - Emergency Service Squad 8
Police Officer Margaret Zaffarese - Police Academy
Lieutenant Brian Connolly - 9th Precinct
Police Officer Robert Burns - 113th Precinct
Police Officer Shannon Pearl - 113th Precinct
Sergeant Michael Ruzzi - Police Service Area 7
Police Officer Joseph Foreman, III - School Safety Division
Police Officer Brian Sheehy - 120th Precinct

Unit Citations
46th Precinct
61st Precinct
76th Precinct
102 Precinct
Midtown North Precinct
Housing Bureau PSA 1
Transit Bureau District 3
Detective Borough Bronx
Employee Management Division
Narcotics Borough Bronx
Surface Transportation Enforcement District


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958


Paul Browne (DCPI)   (646) 610-6700

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