The 111th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council honored its hardest working officers during their annual award ceremony Tuesday night at the Best Western of Northern Boulevard in Bayside.
“I think we have one of the highest calibers of officers in the City of New York, with one of the lowest crime precincts,” said Jack Fried, president of the 111th Precinct Council, who added that cops in the area go far beyond the basic requirements of their job. “Every officer here puts himself out there.”
Sgt. Kenneth Ho was named as the 2015 Supervisor of the Year, Det. Erika Madden was recognized as Detective of the Year, and P.O. Mario Cappuccia was honored as Police Officer of the Year.
After receiving recognition for the high caliber of his work as a police supervisor, Sgt. Ho reflected on his personal growth during his decade-long career, saying that the emotional weight of being a police officer has taught him to be more careful with his own decisions.
“Being a police officer, I think, is a great responsibility,” said Ho. “For the people that we serve every day and also but for the people that we work with.”
Cappuccia said he still loves his work after three years on the job.
“We try to make a difference in the community, making sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed, people aren’t hurting themselves as well,” said Cappuccia, a first-generation police officer who works the midnight shift.
Awards were given to civilian participants in the 111th Precinct as well. Diana Merchan was honored as Civilian of the Year, along with Explorer of the Year Peter Kim and Auxiliary Officer of the Year Leon Pallas.
As the only honoree still attending classes in high school, Explorer of the Year Peter Kim looked ahead to a future in public safety as a state trooper. The Bayside High School sophomore said that helping people makes him feel great and is why he knew law enforcement was the perfect career for him.
“One of the main reasons is to protect the entire community,” Kim said. “Even though that does sound corny, that is what I’m going forward to do.”
Pallas said that he was motivated to be a part of the 111th Precinct after seeing Hurricane Sandy have a devastating effect on some in the community in 2012. The NYPD Explorer program gives youths an opportunity to volunteer and learn more about pursuing a law enforcement career.
“I was lucky,” Pallas said. “I didn’t have any damage, I didn’t have anything [wrong], so I thought that since I have capabilities, I want to be able to help people.”