Local troopers receive State Police Awards

May 17—Local troopers received awards during the State Police Awards Day Ceremony May 16.

State Police Superintendent Steven G. James commended and recognized 31 individuals and one division unit for bravery, investigative persistence, police education, traffic safety, community service and overall exceptional contributions at the ceremony, a media release said.

Trooper Richard W. Albert, who works out of the Cobleskill barracks received the Brummer Award — Highest Award for Heroism, the release said. While assigned to the Cobleskill Interstate Patrol, Albert conducted a vehicle and traffic stop of a gray Honda Pilot travelling at 112 miles per hour June 16, 2023. As Albert approached the vehicle, he came under fire and was struck in his left shoulder. He retreated to cover at the rear of his patrol car, notified the State Police Communications Section for assistance and calmly made numerous radio transmissions updating responding troopers. Although wounded and still receiving fire, Albert remained engaged with the suspect and continued to return fire. The suspect and the operator attempted to flee the scene in the Honda but were blocked by a heroic tractor-trailer driver who witnessed the shooting. The suspect and driver again attempted to flee by carjacking a disabled pick-up truck at gunpoint. Utilizing the terrain of the grassy median as cover, Albert continued his pursuit of the suspects, all the while exchanging gunfire and conducting magazine exchanges. He remained engaged until the shooter fled into the wood line. After 12 minutes, the first back up began to arrive. Once law enforcement officers were on scene and Albert was secured, the driver was taken into custody. A search for the shooter was initiated by responding troopers, who located him deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot. This incident showcases bravery under extreme circumstances. Despite being under almost continuous gunfire, Albert remained engaged and committed to ensuring the public's safety.

Troopers who responded to Albert's call — Trooper Christopher D. White, retired, of Troop G, Trooper Matthew S. Gelbman of Troop K, and Trooper Edward T. Hernandez of Troop T — all received Superintendent Commendation Awards, the release said.

Once numerous law enforcement officers were on scene and Albert was secured and being transported to the hospital, White, Gelbman and Hernandez quickly formed a team to track the shooter, who managed to escape into the wood line along Interstate 88. With unwavering determination, the team managed to flush out the suspect and pursue him with sound tactical movements. Upon locating the suspect, who had sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, their immediate focus was on providing medical assistance to preserving human life. The team's quick thinking and ingenuity in fashioning bandages from the suspect's shirt showcased their ability to adapt and make the most of challenging circumstances. With the suspect having access to additional rounds, escalating the threat faced, the gravity of the situation cannot be understated, the release said.

Trooper Angela M. Yodis of Troop G also received a Superintendent's Commendation Award, the release said. Yodis was dispatched to 180 Gray Road in the town of Summit, to the report of a female who had fallen through the ice of a pond April 1, 2023. Upon arrival, Yodis observed a dog stranded in the middle of the pond and was advised by a volunteer fireman that the female was still under the ice. Despite the frigid water temperature, Yodis immediately entered the pond in an attempt to locate and rescue the victim. She swam to the location of the dog, breaking the ice as she progressed forward. She was able to safely remove the dog from the water and immediately reentered the pond to locate the submerged victim. She discovered the victim trapped in the water under the ice and with the assistance of Trooper John G. Schroeder, who was on the shore, Yodis rescued the individual and immediately began lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived. The victim was removed via ambulance to a local hospital where she was unable to be revived.