Ninth Precinct Heroes Honored For Taking Down Killers, Money Boys

UntitledAnnie Fairman Officers applaud colleagues.

It was a welcome break in a week of bad press for the Ninth Precinct: guests filed into Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Tuesday night to honor officers who excelled in the face of danger.

“Each day our officers continue to renew my faith in the New York City Police Department,” said Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann at the Ninth Precinct Community Council’s annual awards ceremony. “I am honored and humbled to serve with them.”

Among those commended were officers Michael Radosta and Andrew Beirne, who were completing a midnight shift on Christmas Eve when they spotted a suspicious man emerging from a basement hatch door on East 12th Street. The officers, backed up by their colleagues Jose Ramos and William McNeece, pursued the suspect on foot and arrested him; he later confessed to a series of burglaries.

“The keen observations and quick actions of all of these officers led to a felony arrest that closed a serious pattern of burglaries in the area,” said the evening’s emcee, Christine Widgren.

UntitledAnnie Fairman Christine Widgren (right) presents awards.

One of the most disturbing incidents meriting special recognition took place in September of last year, when officers Tyra Narvaez, Raymond Layden, Michael Ranieri, and Frank Kurys responded to a 911 call regarding a sexual assault in broad daylight on Eight Street. They found a man standing over an unconscious elderly woman, and tackled and arrested him. As it turned out, the man had been recently released from prison after serving a twenty year sentence for killing his mother with a hammer.

“The officers stepped into this life-threatening situation without hesitation, and because of their bravery this man will never walk the streets again,” said Ms. Widgren.

It was the second year Tyra Narvaez, an 18-year veteran who responded to the call, was honored. Her twin sister Myra, an insurance auditor from Yonkers, said, “I think it’s great that the community recognizes, because you hear so much negativity in the press.”

UntitledAnnie Fairman Deputy Inspector John Cappelman
and Community Council member
Scott Benford.

Special recognition was awarded to the ten members of the Ninth Precinct who, as Deputy Inspector Capplemann put it, were “all at least two-time volunteers, once for the New York City police department, and once for their country.”

Among the awardees was Officer John Sivori, who with his partner Edward Thompson pursued and arrested a wanted member of the Money Boys on foot. After seeing a second suspected member of the gang reach into his waistband, Officer Sivori pursued the man and wrested a loaded nine-millimeter handgun from him during a violent struggle.

The two men are Marines who have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan; Officer Sivori, whose wife recently gave birth to a son, is currently deployed. Though he did not volunteer the information himself, it was acknowledged that Deputy Inspector Cappelmann, the commanding officer of the Ninth, has also been deployed as a member of the United States Army.

UntitledAnnie Fairman Officers who have served in the U.S. military.

After the ceremony, Ms. Widgren, who lived in the East Village from 1987 until she moved to Pennsylvania five years ago, said, “I was here during the time when things were really crazy.” She was involved with a group that sought to reclaim the neighborhood from the “anarchists and the drug attacks,” she said, adding, “One of the things was, the police were misunderstood.”

Scott Benford, a member of the Ninth Precinct Community Council who has lived in the neighborhood since 1979, agreed that the work of the police in the Ninth Precinct can too easily be overlooked, particularly as the profile of the East Village continues to change. “There’s this impression of the East Village as a safe, open, welcoming place – and that’s all true,” he said. “But I think the underpinnings of that are from the work these guys do, and they don’t often get a lot of recognition.”