Northampton police honor officers for heroics
NORTHAMPTON — The Police Department recognized many of its own members for heroic efforts and other work last year, actions that Police Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz described as the “best of the best.”
Sienkiewicz honored more than 15 members at last week’s City Council meetings for saving lives, solving cases and improving the department.
“This just shows you what a great group of people you have working for you,” Sienkiewicz told the council.
Officer Greg Korepta was recognized with a life-saving award for his role in preventing a despondent juvenile from jumping off the bridge on South Street into the Mill River a year ago.
The river at this time was raging, due to the heavy rains that had passed through Northampton, Sienkiewicz told the council.
The juvenile was standing on the river side of the railing. With disregard to his own safety, Korepta grabbed one of his arms and pulled him over the railing to safety.
“Officer Korpeta’s decisive action surely saved this young man’s life,” Sienkiewicz said.
Another 13 members of the department received certificates of commendation for their response to a Christmas evening incident in which a female intruder entered the home on Massasoit Street armed with a handgun.
Working together, officers and detectives secured the scene, interviewed victims and witnesses, gathered evidence and eventually located and arrested the suspect.
Those honored included Staff Sgts. Alan Borowski and Robert Powers, Detectives Peter Fappiano and Corey Robinson, and officers Andrew Kohl, John Perry, Anthony Sotolotto, Thomas Briotta, Brett Morgan, Joseph Golec, Andrew Carney, Steve Digiammo and Brent Noyes.
Several other officers received commendations for an February 2011 incident in which they assisted State Police with a traffic stop on King Street.
The driver of the car was armed with a handgun and threatening suicide. Officer Brian D’Amico talked with the man for an hour, remaining calm and providing clear instructions. Other officers secured the area.
In addition to D’Amico, who now works for the Sherborn Police Department, others honored include Borowski and officers Justin Hooten, Chris Edler, Paul Marguet and Stephen Laizer.
Six members received awards for their response to a report of a major brawl at Pleasant and Pearl streets in May 2011.
One of the people involved in the brawl had a handgun. While attempting to secure this suspect, the chief said a violent struggle ensued. This struggle proved extra dangerous because many other people were interfering with the officers trying to arrest the man with the gun.
Two officers were injured, one seriously, before officers took control of the scene and made multiple arrests.
Those honored included Borowski and Briotta as well as officers Kenneth Kirchner, D’Amico, Nick Demetrion and Sean Casella.
Casella also earned a meritorious service award for another incident in April 2011 involving the robbery of TD Bank branch on Main Street.
Casella chased and tackled the suspect, who ran away on foot, dislodging a knife and the money from his jacket.
Sienkiewicz said the awards have extra meaning because officers are nominated and reviewed by each other.