NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD on Tuesday recognized a few of their brothers and sisters in blue who went above and beyond the call of duty in acts of bravery, sacrifice, and service to the City of New York.
“We gather today as part of an extraordinary tradition,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the ceremony
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, the tradition dates back to 1845, recognizing the achievements of men and women in the city.
Among the ceremony’s highlights was the moment where the young sons of fallen Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo accepted a Distinguished Service Medal in his honor.
Austin Tuozzolo, 4, and Joseph 3, were joined by the sergeant’s widow.
Sgt. Tuozzolo was shot in the head during a gunfight in the Bronx back in November. Police said the gunman who killed the 19-year veteran was a career criminal.
Tuozzolo was hailed a hero for warning fellow officers at the scene that the suspect was armed.
It was a proud day Tuesday for all medal recipients. Another Distinguished Service Award went to the late Detective Joseph Cavitolo, and was accepted on his behalf by his daughter Ashlee.
Ashlee Cavitolo said she is proud to wear his award.
“That’s for his work down at the 911 site, you know, looking for everyone, helping other families,” she said. “And unfortunately, the debris and everything concluded in his passing.”
Detective Joseph died four years ago. Ashlee Cavitolo said she wants to honor her father by joining the NYPD herself.
“So it would be great to follow in his footsteps and you know, live up to his name, and be just as good as he was,” she said.
Detective Richard Schell was among others who received the Police Combat Cross, for his work in plainclothes patrol back in 2013.
“We got into a brief foot pursuit with a suspect that removed a firearm and began to shoot at us,” Schell said. “And the two of us, along with our sergeant, returned fire.”
Also at the ceremony, Mayor de Blasio focused the spotlight on Officer Dalsh Veve, who was critically injured after being dragged for blocks by a stolen car driven by a 15-year-old alleged gang member in the Bronx this past weekend.
“Commissioner O’Neill and I visited his family, his wife in the hospital room. We saw Officer Veve there, seeming to be peacefully sleeping, but we knew he was fighting for his life,” de Blasio said.
The mayor also paid tribute to late Detective Steven McDonald, calling him one of the greatest teachers and guides we could have asked for.
In all 33 medals were awarded on Tuesday – some posthumously, and all with appreciation on behalf of the city.