SENECA FALLS — Two members of the town Police Department were honored by Chief Stu Peenstra at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.
Sgt. Sebastian Gentile and Officer Jacob DeChick were awarded lifesaving pins for their efforts during an Aug. 17 incident in which a reported domestic incident led to attempted murder charges against Christopher Freeman.
Peenstra said the officers found a woman covered in blood inside a car, with the driver holding a knife and threatening to harm himself. Children were in the vehicle at the time, Peenstra added.
Gentile confronted the knife-wielding driver and used a Taser to gain control before physically stopping the man from stabbing himself further. He then used his Emergency Medical Training knowledge to treat the man and then gathered essential evidence.
DeChick used his EMT training to treat the stabbing victim, stabilizing her condition until ambulance personnel arrived to continue lifesaving treatment.
“He showed professionalism beyond his years of service,’’ Peenstra said.
In awarding the pins, Peenstra said the officers’ actions ensured the tragedy didn’t turn into a fatality. It was Gentile’s fifth lifesaving award since 2013 and DeChick’s second since joining the department in 2018.
DeChick also was cited for his actions in the arrest and apprehension of armed robbery suspect Brandon Burgess on Sept. 17.
“Mr. Burgess was a suspect in an armed robbery in Phelps and was the subject of a two-county manhunt, with information he may be heading to Seneca Falls,” Peenstra said.
He said DeChick went to Route 89 and spotted the vehicle Burgess was in. He said he stopped the vehicle, and Burgess ran away. A perimeter was set up and Burgess was trapped and apprehended.
“Officer DeChick did a lot to make that happen and I commend him,” Peenstra said. He said Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson also sent DeChick a letter of commendation.
“’Both of these officers took it on themselves to receive EMT certification and carry lifesaving equipment with them on patrol,” Peenstra said.
Also at Tuesday’s board meeting:
Martin Toombs, president of the Seneca Falls Library Board of Directors, talked about the importance of the 2020 U.S. Census, which begins April 1.
He urged the public to make sure they get counted, citing the importance of a complete count for purposes of state and federal aid and many other reasons. Toombs said the county’s five public libraries will have extra staff and extra computers available to assist with the census.
“Cards will be mailed out to give people their options for the census. Households can do it by filling out a paper form, by telephone or online with a computer. We have a website set up at senecacensus.org for information,” Toombs said.
He said anyone willing to work on the census count can attend a 3 p.m. Oct. 15 job recruiting session at the Seneca Falls Library on Cayuga Street. The part-time jobs pay more than $17 per hour.