FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY HONOR 43 MEMBERS OF POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 2009 MEDAL DAY CEREMONY
One Medal of Honor, 29 Police Combat Crosses, and 13 Medals of Valor Awarded
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today honored 43 members of the New York City Police Department at the 2009 Medal Day ceremony by awarding one Medal of Honor, 29 Police Combat Crosses, and 13 Medals of Valor. The Mayor and Police Commissioner were joined by family members of the honorees at the ceremony at One Police Plaza.
"This is always the proudest day of the year for the NYPD - the day we honor the finest of our Finest," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It takes nothing away from any of the officers we salute to also say: this entire department deserves our thanks for keeping us the nation's safest large city. The Police Department has reduced crime nearly 37 percent from where it stood at this time in 2001 - something few thought possible, and the brave acts of today's honorees have contributed to this impressive effort. On behalf of 8.4 million New Yorkers, I want to thank the medal winners for their exceptional service to our City."
"Today's recipients have battled assailants, defended their partner's from near certain death, protected the public, and helped the police department drive down crime rates," said Police Commissioner Kelly. "We are proud to honor these heroes who have served the City of New York with the greatest skill and the utmost courage."
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 Detective Angel Cruz. On March 13, 2007, then Police Officer Angel Cruz was assigned to Transit District 33, working in uniform at the Broadway Junction train station in Brooklyn. Shortly before midnight, he observed two males on the platform smoking cigarettes. While attempting to issue them summonses, one of the males punched Officer Cruz in the head. The same male then pulled out a large hunting knife and stabbed P.O. Cruz in the left side of the head. Despite being critically wounded and bleeding profusely, P.O. Cruz managed to fire at this male, who then fled the scene. Officer Cruz, who had been stabbed just above the left ear resulting in a puncture wound to his skull and brain, was still able to chase the perpetrator down a flight of stairs and hold him until back-up officers arrived. Responding officers found Officer Cruz in a semi-conscious state and transported him to the hospital in a police vehicle. Even though he suffered an epidural hemorrhage to a portion of his brain, Officer Cruz made a complete recovery and returned to full duty on October 1, 2007. He was promoted to Detective last year.
This year, 28 officers received the Police Combat Cross, which recognizes courage and heroism during personal combat with an armed adversary, and 12 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 12 units.
The Department also awarded 10 Distinguished Service Medals, which are conferred upon the family of a member of the service who succumbed to illness associated with exceptional duty, performed with great responsibility, under unusual hazard or demand, to the City of New York.
Police Combat Cross
Medal of Valor
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Paul Browne (Police)