Valhalla, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham, along with Westchester Legislator Margaret Cunzio and Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, honored seven Town of Mount Pleasant Police officers this week for life-saving actions in reversing overdoses during a special ceremony held in the Court Room at Mount Pleasant Town Hall.
Each of the seven Town of Mount Pleasant Police officers, who administered naloxone to reverse overdoses during the past year-and-a-half, received a Senate Certificate of Appreciation and Medal of Excellence for their service to the community, as well as county and town commendations.
“Thanks to their fast action and proper training, these seven officers saved seven different lives,” said Harckham. “This level of remarkable heroism in the line of duty deserves both recognition and gratitude.”
The Town of Mount Pleasant Police officers receiving recognition were William Brunke, Conor Elliott, Brian Givney, Jonathan Kramel, Andrew Mancusi, Kiana Oliva and Andrew Texeira. Both Brunke and Texeira were on duty and could not attend the ceremony.
“Mount Pleasant extends a big thank you to these officers,” said Fulgenzi. “The Town Board was fully behind the initiative to have the town’s officers trained to help people in overdose situations, and the reward for that training is saving lives. I am proud of the officers for following through and safeguarding our residents.”
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Paul Oliva added, “I’m pleased that our patrol officers are being recognized for their actions, which are just part of the great work they do every day. We have seen an increase in overdose incidents, and their training with naloxone benefits the entire community.”
Harckham hosted a naloxone training last month at the Cortlandt Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps / EMS headquarters in Montrose, giving both first responders and interested residents an opportunity to learn how to reverse the effects of an overdose with an opioid antagonist. Future naloxone training in Senate District 40 is being scheduled.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 500,000 people died between 1999 and 2019 from an overdose involving an opioid, including both illicit and prescription drugs. In 2019, over 70% of the 70,630 overdose deaths involved an opioid. Last year, because of the isolation and despair caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, provisional CDC data showed that overdose death reached an all-time high of 93,331. The surge in deaths is partly attributable to the rise in use and prevalence of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
[Attached photo: Mount Pleasant Police officers with their awards. (L-R) Kiana Oliva, Andrew Mancusi, Jonathan Kramel, Supervisor Fulgenzi, Legislator Cunzio, Senator Harckham, Chief Oliva, Conor Elliot and Brian Givney. Credit: Office of State Sen. Pete Harckham / Tom Staudter