The National Police Defense Foundation celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary with it’s Annual Awards Dinner on May 6, 2015, at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, New York. This dinner helps fund the NPDF and its many charitable endeavors. One such program is “Operation Kids”, a multi-faceted child safety program that also provides lifesaving medical treatment for critically ill children. The New York Shields Piper Band and the United States Marine Corps Color Guard opened the ceremony.
This year’s event was overshadowed by the grief members felt for the murder of Police Officer Brian Moore, who, at just age 25, died 2 days earlier after having been shot in the head by a career criminal. Moore’s sacrifice was acknowledged during the Invocation by Monsignor Robert Romano, a Board member who is in charge of the Clergy Staff. However, this tragedy was tempered by the presence of Detective Joseph Walker, whose freedom had been won a year earlier with the help of the Police Foundation.
For 2015, the NPDF honored five distinguished honorees, each of whom are well deserving of recognition:
Vincent Prieto, the Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly, was named the NPDF’s “Person of the Year.” At a time in America’s history in which unchecked illegal immigration is encouraged by some, Prieto’s example should be considered the standard by which others are to be held. Born into Communist Cuba in 1960, Prieto and his mother legally immigrated to America, where, as the owner of a small business, Prieto secured a comfortable lifestyle for his wife and two children. As a Legislator, Prieto has focused on sponsoring Bills that protect working people and their families. Vincent Prieto has also championed the rights of the Veterans who have served his adopted homeland.
The NPDF’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” was bestowed upon Guy Molinari, the former Congressman and Borough President of Staten Island. Long an opponent of organized crime, in 2001 Molinari finally succeeded in bringing about the closure of America’s largest, illegal Mob-controlled landfill at Fresh Kills, which today is one of the largest public parks in New York City. Fighting the drug trade on Staten Island has been one of Molinari’s top priorities, as well as championing those is law enforcement falsely accused of crimes.
Receiving the NPDF’s “President’s Award” was Sgt. Richard Angeletti, President of the NYPD Columbia Association. In his 23 years with the NYPD, Angeletti has devoted his talents to policing “quality of life” issues for residents, ranging from various measures regarding pedestrian and traffic safety to the monitoring of the impact of bars and restaurants on the residents of the communities in which they operate. Sgt. Angeletti has also worked in various capacities with the Highway Patrol regarding public safety.
The NPDF’s “Excellence in Media Award” was bestowed on Philip Messing, who in his 35 years as an investigative journalist, is best known for his award-winning coverage for the New York Post. Among Messing’s Exclusives were his eyewitness account of the 1982 New Year’s Eve bombing outside Police Headquarters carried out by the terrorist group FALN, his post-conviction interview of Gambino Godfather John Gotti, the arrest of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and security issues involving the Transportation Security Administration and the “Freedom Tower” during it’s rise from the ashes of the World Trade Center. Messing has been a champion of those in law enforcement, which includes the still unresolved case of Officer Phillip Cardillo, murdered inside the Nation of Islam Mosque in Harlem on April 14, 1972.
Receiving the “Distinguished Member Award” was Chairman Liu Wei, the NPDF’s Delegate to China. The head of a Chinese Security company whose wife is a Police Officer in Beijing, Chairman Wei has, since 1999, worked closely with the NPDF in pursuing common interests which include the fight against international crime syndicates, international terrorism, and the plight of victims of human trafficking gangs.