In honor of National Police week, the Allentown Police Department honored more than 60 officers and members of the community at the Scottish Rite Cathedral during a two-hour commendation and award presentation ceremony. The event also served as a memorial service. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin was the principal speaker. Residents and businesses were also honored for their contributions and donations, which included elementary school student safety officers, as well as a crossing guard.
Commendations for bravery, heroism, merit, and achievement were distributed during the ceremony.
Several officers received commendations for bravery, with Allentown police officer Ryan Koons receiving three, Officer David Howells III and Officer Robert Flores receiving two, and Lieutenant William Reinik, Sergeant William Lake and officers Craig Berger, Alfred Boccadoro, Alex de la Iglesia, George Heiserman, Stephen James, Mark Jarrouj, John Leonard, Damien Lobach, Ryan Murray, Scott Snyder and Richard Wehr receiving one.
Other officers received commendations for heroism. These officers included: Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Leonard Fritzinger, Cherie Lebert, John Leonard, Nicholas Lerch, Chad Mertz, Stephen Rosenberger, Dale Stokes, Scott Snyder and Johann Wilcox.
The Police Department also issued commendations for merit as well, with officers Matthew Diehl, Robert Flores and Kyle Pammer receiving two commendations each. Sergeant Eric Heicklen, Detective Sergeant Salvatore Aprile, Detective Eric Brenner and officers Ryan Alles, Michael Beidelman, Craig Berger, Lonny Bryfogle, Vicor Diaz-Gonzalez, Andrew Fegely, Dean Flyte, Leonard Fritzinger, Christopher Hendricks, David Howells III, Ryan Koons, Kirk Pierson, Stephen Rosenberger and Matthew Vernon also received commendations for merit.
Two commendations for achievement were awarded to Officer Matthew Vernon, with Lieutenant Andrew Hausman and officers Yamil Castillo, Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Christopher Hendricks, Benjamin Iobst, Ryan Koons, Johann Wilcox and Para Police Officer Joey Rivera receiving commendations for achievement as well. Commendations of merit also went to Jeffrey Bruchak, a Whitehall Township police detective, and Chad Wasserman, a City of Bethlehem police detective.
Civilians honored included: Edwin Aponte, Wilkyns Melendez, Sammy Sanchez, Joseph and Matthew Kochan, Angel Otero, Milagros Cintron, John Badillo, George Marshall and Thomas Krasley. Also honored were the Allentown Special Fire Police, Kutztown University Professor Dr. Gary Cordner; John Sikora of Lehigh County Adult Probation; Elizabeth Fritz of Lehigh County Juvenile Probation; Colleen Gilbert and Ralph Romano of the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Unit; Diane Zanetti, Executive Director of Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley; Suzanne Beck, Executive Director of the Crime Victims Council and Thomas Kuder of Mack Trucks.
The department also recognized contributions made by Lehigh Valley Kennel Club, Allentown Dog Training Club, Packaging Corporation of America, Indian American Association of Lehigh Valley, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, Jordan-Martin Masonic Lodge #673, Fairview Crime Watch Group, Fegely Enterprises II, Inc., Hounds on Working Leashes, Carmody Shoe Repair, Bib Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Susan Pickens and Beauregard, Reverend Michael V. Comick and Stacy Bruce.
The Allentown Police Department also honored twelve students from the Allentown School District, who were awarded School Safety Patrol of the Year. They are: Amanda Aponte of Central Elementary, Mikayla Jones of Cleveland Elementary, Tyler Durgin of Hiram Dodd Elementary, Kyla Gonzalez of Jefferson Elementary, Haylie Pineiro of Lehigh Parkway Elementary, Amir Ysa of Mosser Elementary, Jaden Barr of Muhlenberg Elementary, Scarlet Abreu of Luis A. Ramos Elementary, Jalitza Hiller of Ritter Elementary, LizJenaida Lopez of Roosevelt Elementary, Bernadette Vincent of Sheridan Elementary and Omar Pagan of Union Terrace Elementary.
The award for Crossing Guard of the year went to Mary Buesgen.
The event concluded with police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and Allentown Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Stephen Fiorillo honoring former Allentown officers that have passed away. The two men laid a wreath in front of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in honor of Allentown officers Inspector Frank Peters, Captain Ernst Lilly, Captain Robert Ring, Lieutenant Detective John L. Deily, Lieutenant Anthony Guerino, Lieutenant Richard Rau, Sergeant George Horvath and Sergeant John Barnhart, who have all died over the past year.