In the evening of May 3, 2017, the National Police Defense Foundation celebrated its 2017 Annual Awards Dinner that benefits their “Operation Kids” program.
It was a complete sell-out with over four hundred and fifty guests attending which included representatives from over twenty different police and fraternal organizations.
The celebration took place at “Russo’s on the Bay” in Howard Beach, New York, the renowned ItalianAmerican caterer who offered an hour and a half cocktail hour with gourmet dishes and all types of specialty cocktails.
The awards presentation started with a procession from the New York Port Authority Police Honor Guard, followed by the New York State Shields Pipe & Drum Band, pledge of allegiance by the children of U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Malecki, a masterful rendition of the National Anthem by renowned award winning singer Cristina Fontanelli and an invocation by NYPD Deputy Chief Chaplain Monsignor Robert Romano.
There were many congratulatory letters sent from elected officials and key law enforcement agencies recognizing honorees that included U.S. Senators from New York and Pennsylvania, the Governors of New York-New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the New York Senate and General Assembly the Police Commissioners from the New York City Police Department, Port Authority Police of New York and the New Jersey and New Jersey State Police, among others.
The NPDF Founder and Executive Director Joseph Occhipinti welcomed the guests and proudly boasted about the important role the NPDF $10,000 Safe Cop Reward Program is playing to address. the serious increase of armed assaults against our police and continued efforts to protect and support law enforcement.
The National Police Defense Foundation granted four college scholarship and presented a fifth scholarship to the FDNY Columbia Association Scholarship program in memory of slain Firefighter William Tolly..
President Jack Holder and the NPDF Executive Board presented the honorees with their respective awards in recognition of their lifelong accomplishment, valor and meritorious and public service. The honorees also received legislative proclamations from Members of Congress, the New York Senate and New Jersey Senate and General Assembly.
It was a special moment of silence when Joseph Occhipinti announced the presentation of the Valor Awards for Arizona Trooper Edward Andersson who was shot on January 12, 2017 by a crazed gunman and Thomas Yoxall, the good Samaritan who saved the life of the trooper by shooting and killing the suspect with a licensed firearm. It has been one of the first times in their lives that their bravery was recognized with a standing ovation.
The evening’s festivities were then followed by a choice of seven gourmet meals and a venetian hour that offered gelato, pastries, popcorn, cotton candy and other sweets. The guests seemed to take advantage of the photo booth, the silent auction and tricky tray that offered over fifty donated gifts.
The NPDF Executive Board thanked the guest and honorees for attending and encouraged all in attendance to become members and attend next year’s awards dinner that would similarly honor true American heroes well deserving of recognition.
|PERSON OF THE YEAR
Michael Essig, President
Michael, Essig, Person Of The Year Award
PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD
New York State Fraternal Order of Police
Mike Essig has been an active member of law enforcement community for more than 27 years. He is currently serving as the President of the New York State Order of Police (NYSFOP) Mike started his involvement with the NYSFOP through his local lodge, Mid-Hudson FOP Lodge 188 where then served on the Executive Board of the NYSFOP before being elected President in 2014.
President Essig also served for many years as President of the NYSFOP Foundation, Inc, and was the driving force in the much needed organization of that charitable foundation. He has since stepped down as President but remains a Director on the Foundation’s Board.
President Essig is a graduate of the Westchester County Police Academy and serves as a Deputy Sheriff in their Anti-Terrorist Analytical Group (ATAG). He also served as a union delegate for many years at the Westchester County Department of Correction and has been appointed to the Advisory Committee for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Mike had formally served as Chairman of Homeland Security for the 19th Congressional District, as well as Parliamentarian and Vice-President of the Orange County Shields, and Vice-President of the Rockland County Steuben Association. Mike is also a proud member of the Rockland County Shields.
President Essig is active outside the law enforcement community as well, serving as a member on the Board of Directors for the Hudson Valley Easter Seals Thanksgiving and Christmas food pantry outreach programs. More recently, Mike was elected as a Councilman in Woodbury Town.
President Essig has been the recipient of numerous law enforcement awards that included the prestigious NYSFOP Court Officers Memorial Lodge #35 “Law Enforcement Award”
President Essig lives in Woodberry, Orange County with his lovely wife, Vicki and two children, Robert and Brianna.
Lt. Karl Milligan (Ret)
Read Karl's Bio
DISTINGUISHED MEMBER AWARD
Karl Milligan is a retired Police Lieutenant with the Prince George’s County (MD) Police Department, adjacent to Washington, DC. He served in the Intelligence Division specializing in counter-terrorism where he successfully infiltrated domestic terror groups while in an undercover capacity.
Karl has over 30 years of law enforcement experience; beginning his career as a patrol officer and later being promoted to detective, sergeant, and lieutenant.
He was assigned to the FBI’s Counter-Terrorism Squad in Washington, DC for several years and later assigned to and supervisor of the ATF Violent Crime Group.
He is currently owner and president of Patriot Security Group, an international investigative and intelligence firm based in the Washington, DC metro area.
Mr. Milligan’s relevant credentials and experience are extensive, including counter-terror lead officer at the Washington Redskins stadium, threat group administrator for the Presidential Inaugural Committee in Washington, DC, surveillance detection specialist for the USG, team member with the Weapons of Mass Destruction Strike Force in Washington, DC, among many others.
Karl is an Investigator for the National Police Defense Foundation and serves as their Delegate in Washington, DC. It should be noted that Karl was the key NPDF investigator who spearheaded the defense investigation in the infamous murder prosecution of Hudson County Prosecutors Office Detective Joseph Walker in Maryland that led to his acquittal in July 2014.
Read Bridget's Bio
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Bridget G. Brennan has been New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor since 1998. Appointed by New York City’s five elected District Attorneys, Ms. Brennan is the first woman to hold that position. Ms. Brennan is in charge of an agency solely dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of narcotics offenses in New York City.
The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor is widely recognized for its legal and technological expertise. It processes an average of 3,000 arrests a year, prosecutes national and international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, and oversees large-scale operations targeting violent drug gangs in New York City neighborhoods. In addition, Special Narcotics runs programs that offer treatment instead of prison to hundreds of addicted defendants every year.
Ms. Brennan joined the office in 1992 and served as the second in command from 1995 to 1997. Prior to that, she was the Chief of the Special Investigations Bureau, overseeing some of the most significant narcotics investigations in the country.
Ms. Brennan has been a prosecutor since 1983 when she joined the New York County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. While there, she handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony prosecutions, including homicides and sex crimes cases.
Before her legal career, she was a print, radio and television reporter in her native Wisconsin. Ms. Brennan graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin.
Trooper Edward Andersson
Trooper Edward C. Andersson, badge #4391, began his career with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) on April 13, 1990. For the majority of his career, he has been assigned to the DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) program. The CVE program is a specialty assignment within the agency's Highway Patrol Division. Experienced troopers are accepted into the program and given extensive training regarding the enforcement of rules and regulations governing the safe operation of motor carriers and shippers, and of vehicles transporting hazardous materials. Through enforcement, investigation, and educational outreach, CVE troopers work to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes and to interdict unsafe or prohibited motor carrier operation, including criminal trafficking in commercial motor vehicles.
Trooper Anderson has a great passion for the DPS CVE program, and has worked to ensure drivers and vehicles from the commercial motor vehicle industry conduct their tips with safety, by working diligently to locate and inspect unsafe commercial motor vehicle traffic on the state's highways. Trooper Andersson is a also a firearms instructor, using his knowledge to help troopers become proficient and demonstrate sound practices in firearms usage and safety. In 2016, Trooper Andersson made 890 traffic stops and complemented 825 commercial motor vehicles inspections. Trooper Andersson located 3,186 commercial motor vehicle violations and placed 126 unsafe drivers and 118 unsafe vehicles out-of-service.
Trooper Andersson is a veteran of the Air Force, and worked for the Arizona Department of Corrections for a short time before joining DPS. He has lived in Tonopah since 1991 with his wife Sandra, and is a father and grandfather. He has volunteered at Tonopah High School since 2006, where he is a coach for girl's volleyball and softball. In 2015, he coached the girls volleyball team to runners up in State. He also coached girls basketball from 2009-2013.
On January 12, 2017, Trooper Andersson was driving his vehicle on a remote section of Interstate 10 west of Phoenix when he observed a vehicle that overturned. In an effort to provide aid, the driver without cause shot Trooper Andersson and continued to physically assault him. Fortunately, citizen Thomas Yoxall who observed the incident intervened and saved the life of Trooper Andersson by shooting and killing the suspect with a licensed firearm. The NPDF is honored to present the Valor Award to Trooper Andersson for his courage and valor in light of imminent danger.
Bruce Sackman served as the Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division, Northeast Field Office until May 2005 when he retired after 32 years’ service. In this capacity, he was responsible for all major criminal investigations involving VA from West Virginia to Maine. During his tenure he was involved in hundreds of investigations involving allegations of fraud, corruption, false claims, thefts, patient assaults, pharmaceutical drug diversions and suspicious hospital deaths. He was also responsible for supervising the successful investigation of the nation’s first homicide conviction in connection with pharmaceutical research. His cases involving medical professionals who have murdered their patients have been featured on the Discovery Health Channel, CNN, MSNBC, America’s Most Wanted and on Home Box Office. He is the recipient of many awards for his investigations and for his efforts in encouraging the profession of forensic nursing. Mr. Sackman has lectured at several forensic related conferences, State police organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, universities and medical related symposia.
Mr. Sackman is currently self-employed as a licensed private investigator in New York City specializing in healthcare related matters. Under contract he directs all major investigations for a major New York metropolitan regional healthcare system.
He also serves as an associate with the Washington DC Academy Group, an internationally renowned forensic behavioral science firm.
Since becoming the President of the Society of Professional Investigators in 2010 he has greatly enhanced the reputation and stature of that organization by vastly increasing its membership, treasury, and dedication to its mission of education and networking for the investigative community.
|CITIZEN’S VALOR AWARD
CITIZENS VALOR AWARD
On January 12, 2017, Thomas Yoxall was driving his vehicle on a remote section of Interstate 10 west of Phoenix when he observed State Trooper Edward Andersson in need of immediate assistance.
Trooper Andersson, a 27-year veteran of the Arizona Department of Public Service, had been wounded by a suspect who was then beating his head on the pavement of the highway. Almost immediately, Mr. Yoxall pulled over and asked the trooper if he needed assistance. The trooper responded “yes” and Mr. Yoxall then returned to his vehicle and with a licensed firearm shot and killed the suspect before the trooper could sustain additional life threatening injuries.
The suspect identified as Leonard-Penuelas-Escobar, a suspected illegal alien from Mexico, was involved in a motor vehicle accident that claimed the life of his passenger. When Trooper Andersson pulled up to the suspect’s vehicle to put up flares and render aid, the suspect reportedly without cause opened fire on the trooper shooting him in the shoulder and proceeded to beat him.
According to Col. Frank L. Milstead, Arizona Director of Public Service, who publicly recognized Mr. Yohall as a real-life hero, stated that Mr. Yoxall was a humble and very spiritual guy who told him that he believes that God put him there that morning. Mr. Yoxall also said he doesn’t consider himself a hero, instead, he is an ordinary person put in an extraordinary circumstance and did the right thing.
Mr. Yoxall resides in El Mirage, Arizona with his two children, Zackery and Elena. He was a licensed plumber for 17 years and now a photographer and photojournalist. Tom enjoys hiking and mountain biking and has participated in the Spartan races. He also volunteers with an outreach program for the homeless.
Mr. Yoxall’s quick action and valor in light of imminent danger that is credited for saving the life of Trooper Andersson and is well deserving of recognition by the National Police Defense Foundation.
2017 ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
Click this link and enter the password NPDF2017 to see pictures from the Photo Booth