Here They Are: The Heroes of the Ninth Precinct

Officer LuongoDominique Zonyee Scott Officer James Luongo

On Nov. 11 of last year, Sergeant Michael Fabitti and officers Katherine Keating, Joanna Lopez, and Natasha Deleon came upon a burning building at East Fourth Street and Avenue A. Recognizing that many of the residents would still be asleep in their apartments, the police officers ran into the blaze and helped evacuate the building. No one died — though all the officers and seven residents were treated for smoke inhalation.

The heroic tale of police work was just one of the many stories shared on Wednesday evening in Cooper Union’s Great Hall as part of the Ninth Precinct Community Council’s 16th annual awards ceremony.

Around 50 residents, friends, family members and fellow police officers cheered as community council president Jerry Shea and Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr honored the 35 men and women who work at the station house on East Fifth Street.

“The officers are outstanding and deserve recognition,” said Mr. Shea. “What they do for the community is amazing.”

Officers Shinji Suzuki and Michael Jurena talked a suicidal woman off of a Second Street roof last October, earning them awards.

Rookie police officers Israel Sanchez Escobar, James Luongo, James Woods, Michael Fratangelo and Robert Cerci received plaques recognizing their high arrest records. The five newbies have a combined total of 191 arrests this year; an average of 38 arrests each.

“As some of our older officers retire, the newer officers are successfully filling their shoes,” said Mr. Lehr.

The Supervisor of the Year award was given to 18-year veteran Lieutenant Patrick Ferguson, who is a familiar face at community council meetings. Mr. Ferguson — who specializes in enforcement at the neighborhood’s many bars — was praised for his ability to quickly assess any given situation, even in the wee hours of the morning when people’s behavior is at its worst.