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Hempstead Town Honors NCPD Officers

PBA President James Carver Among Honorees

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and the Hempstead board honored Nassau County Police Officer Michael Bjornstad of the 8th Precinct, Officers Daniel Russo and Ricky Buckshaw of the 7th Precinct, and Officers Robert Blum and Arthur Lopez of the Highway Patrol Bureau among the 10 officers from Nassau County Police Department and six officers from surrounding villages at a ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion at the Town Hall in Hempstead. Also honored at the ceremony was Nassau County PBA President James Carver.

“From solving murders and extensive undercover work to patrolling our streets, our police honorees have distinguished themselves as local heroes,” said Murray. “The town is proud to have the opportunity to recognize those who served and protect our residents.”

Officer Michael Bjornstad of the county’s 8th Precinct was selected as a local hero for a routine patrol turned high-speed car chase back in February of this year. While patrolling North Massapequa, Bjornstad heard the broadcast of shots fired in Levittown, followed by vehicle descriptions. Shortly after, Bjornstad observed the vehicles traveling westbound on the Southern State Parkway and was able to make a traffic stop on one, apprehending the driver and passengers. Other responding units stopped the second vehicle.

Officers Daniel Russo and Ricky Buckshaw of the 7th Precinct were selected as Hempstead Heroes for their initiatives, which helped solve a rash of burglaries and home invasions in and around Wantagh neighborhoods. Through increased interviews and piecing various facts together, Russo and Buckshaw were able to conclude a description of the individuals and the vehicle used to escape from the scenes.

The officers located the offenders at their apartment, executed arrests, obtained confessions for five of the burglaries, and recovered the stolen items from the suspects’ vehicle.

Officers Robert Blum and Arthur Lopez of Nassau County Highway Patrol Bureau-Emergency Services Unit earned their honor for their response to a potentially life-threatening incident at the Seaford train station on Monday, July 19 this year.

Upon responding to a call, Blum and Lopez were immediately confronted with a 400-pound man who had jumped onto the train tracks as a train was arriving at the station. The train operator was able to stop the train before hitting the man, who then crossed the tracks, over to the elevated platform and threatened to jump 35 feet to the parking lot below. After convincing the man to step away from the ledge, he then attempted to reach the third rail while gesturing for the officers to take his hands. The man finally surrendered to Blum and Lopez, who secured the scene and brought safety to the dangerous situation.  

“Tonight’s award ceremony gives recognition to the police officers that patrol our community everyday,” said Councilman Gary Hudes. “The stories we heard tonight, remind us of how brave these officers are, as they are faced with guns, knives and unknown danger during the course of their daily service.”

President of the Police Benevolent Association of Nassau County Jim Carver was also among those honored. Carver earned the Town’s honor of local hero for his compassionate protection of the participants at Camp ANCHOR as a result of the tragic car accident that killed three of its counselors this past summer. On the day of the accident, Carver along with members of the PBA came to the defense of the staff and campers while media attempted to obtain reaction to the news of the devastating accident. Campers and staff were allowed to console and mourn their loss without external interference. As a result of the tragedy, the PBA Summer Carnival was postponed for the ANCHOR campers. Carver ensured that the carnival was rescheduled, both to console the campers and pay tribute to the counselors.

“I would like to thank the men and women in police service in Hempstead Town,” said Murray. “These enforcement professionals make significant sacrifices every day to maintain our superlative quality of life and ensure the safety of all residents.”