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The Amherst Police Club was pleased to celebrate, recognize, and honor the work of outstanding police officers at our 2022 Annual Awards Ceremony. Several officers were awarded on behalf of their significant contributions and life-saving work over the past year. Awards handed out included the following: Lieutenant Joseph F. Adamy Officer of the Year and Runner-Ups, Capt. Donald C, Kieffer Leadership Award, William F. Muck III Lifesaving Award, and the Donald G. Wrightm Sr. Memorial Dedication to Service Award.

2022 Lieutenant Joseph F. Adamy Officer of the Year: Officer John T. Rusch

The Amherst Police Club Officer Of The Year Award is given out annually by the Club Membership to that years outstanding Officer. In naming the Amherst Police Club’s Officer of the Year Award only one name seemed fit to be associated with the honor, Lt. Joseph F Adamy.

Lt. Adamy began his career at The Amherst Police Department as a patrolman on January 31, 1977. On February 5, 1989, Adamy was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. While on patrol on January 27,1990 Lt Adamy at the age of 39 was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Lt Adamy is the only member of The Amherst police Department killed in the line of duty. The prospect of giving your life in the service of your department is the very real possibility that every police officer faces at the beginning of each shift. Lt Adamy made that ultimate sacrifice, losing his life while working to ensure the safety of the people of the Town of Amherst. In giving out an annual Officer Of The Year Award in his name the Amherst Police Club hopes to preserve his name and legacy for all generations of Amherst Police Officers, past, present and future.

A quote from the Peace Officer Memorial: I never dreamed it would be me, My name for all eternity, Recorded here at this hallowed place, Alas my name, no more my face. “In the line of duty,” I hear them say; My family now the price will pay. My folded flag stained with their tears; We only had those few short years. The badge no longer on my chest, I sleep now in eternal rest. My sword I pass to those behind, and pray they keep this thought in mind. I never dreamed it would be me, And with heavy heart and bended knee; I ask for all here from the past, Dear God, let my name be the last.

The Amherst Police Club was honored to present the 2022 Lieutenant Joseph F. Adamy Officer of the Year Award to John T. Rusch.

On Friday, January 29, 2022, Officer John Rusch attempted to stop a vehicle that he observed leaving LIT Hookah Lounge, in the 4000 block of Main Street, at a high rate of speed. The vehicle eventually stopped for Officer Rusch, but as he exited his patrol car and approached the vehicle on foot, the vehicle fled. While fleeing from Officer Rusch, the vehicle attempted a U-turn and embedded itself in a snowbank. Officer Rusch approached the now disabled vehicle and noticed the driver appear to be handing the passenger a handgun. The passenger then jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot.

Officer Rusch relayed all the necessary information to other patrols who responded to the scene. Officer Rusch kept his composure, controlling the scene and ultimately took the driver into custody without incident. As patrols arrived on scene, a perimeter was established and the fleeing suspect was apprehended. Recovered from this stop was a defaced loaded handgun with a high capacity feeding device as well as felony weight opioids.

On Saturday , January 30, 2022, Officer Rusch made another traffic stop which led to another loaded gun arrest. On this date, Officer Rusch was working patrol in the area of Main Street and Eggert Road. Officer Rusch observed a vehicle which matched the description of a vehicle of interest from another agency. Officer Rusch stopped the vehicle but remained in his patrol car until another patrol arrived on scene. The intel Officer Rusch had was that the vehicle would flee as soon as Officers exited their patrol car. As Officer Rusch attempted to guide other patrols into the area, the vehicle took off. After a short chase, the vehicle crashed into a snowbank and an unoccupied parked car in the City of Buffalo. The driver then exited the vehicle and began to flee on foot. Officer Rusch with the assistance of other Officers physically engaged the suspect attempting to take him into custody. While resisting, the suspect continuously attempted to reach into his pocket. Officers were eventually able to take him into custody. At this time, a loaded handgun was located in the pocket the suspect attempted to reach into.

All officers involved in these incidents did a phenomenal job working together to apprehend these dangerous individuals. However, it is Officer Ruschs initiative, instinct and attention to detail that led to the arrests of these individuals and the removal of two illegally possessed handguns.

Lieutenant Joseph F. Adamy Officer of the Year Runner Ups: Officer James Caputi, Officer Katherine Frieh, Officer Ryan Conrad

On October 18th, 2022, Officers Jim Caputi and Katie Frieh conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was leaving the University Manor Inn Motel at 3612 Main St. While speaking to the driver, Officer Caputi learned that his license was suspended. Upon learning this information, the driver was removed from the vehicle, detained and placed in a patrol car. After removing the driver, a blue and white pill was located on the driver’s seat.

Officers Caputi and Frieh then focused their attention on the passenger of the vehicle. The passenger informed Officers that he did not have any id and appeared to be very nervous. Both Officer’s experience and intuition led them to believe the passenger was lying about who he was. As a result of his actions and the finding of the pill, the passenger was removed from the vehicle with the assistance of Officer Ryan Conrad. Upon patting the passenger down, Officer Frieh felt what she identified as the handle of a handgun. The passenger immediately spun away from the officers and fled on foot. All three officers immediately gave chase, while Officer Frieh communicated with them that the subject was armed. The subject was only able to run a short distance before he tripped and fell to the ground. While falling, the subject threw the firearm into the grass. The subject then surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident. Located in the grass, was a loaded and defaced .38 revolver.

The passenger in the vehicle was identified as William Reed. Reed had 6 prior felony convictions, including Robbery 1st with a firearm. Reed also had 3 active felony warrants.The driver was also found to be in possession of over 5 grams of cocaine that he attempted to destroy/conceal while seated in the rear of the patrol car.

The teamwork, bravery and decisiveness demonstrated by Officers Caputi, Frieh, and Conrad during this encounter resulted in the safe and swift apprehension of an armed and dangerous offender. All officers involved continue to be proactive in their efforts to keep their community safe by removing drugs, weapons, and dangerous criminals from the streets.

Chief Edwin Evans Officer of the Year Runner Up: Nicholas Scioli

On November 20, 2021, the Depew Police Department broadcasted a county wide Attempt to Locate for a white Toyota Camry believed to be operated by a subject who was wanted by Depew PD for questioning as a suspect of a homicide. It was unknown if the subject was armed. K-9 Officer Nicholas Scioli was working patrol on Transit Road at the time of the ATL and immediately began to monitor traffic for the suspect vehicle. K-9 Officer Scioli was at the border for Amherst and Cheektowaga when he observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle traveling northbound on Transit Rd. K-9 Officer Scioli proceeded to follow the vehicle as he contacted dispatch to confirm the plate information. Amherst Police Dispatch confirmed the current vehicle plate matched the suspect vehicle. K-9 Officer Scioli initiated a vehicle and traffic stop. Once the vehicle was stopped K-9 Officer Scioli approached the driver side of the vehicle and observed that the driver matched the suspect description. K-9 Officer Scioli drew his service weapon and instructed the driver to stay in the vehicle until more patrols arrived on location for cover. Once Officers Craig Petit and Ryan Conrad arrived on location, K-9 Officer Scioli removed the driver from the vehicle to detain him and observed the driver’s pants were stained with blood. K-9 Officer Scioli confirmed the identity of the driver as the suspect. Depew PD was contacted and at their request, K-9 Officer Scioli transported the suspect to their headquarters.

The suspect was learned to have been involved in multiple domestic situations with his ex-wife both in the Town of Amherst and the Village of Depew. The subject had made previous homicidal threats to his ex-wife and there was a full stay away order of protection on file as a result of those threats. The suspect was charged by Depew PD with the homicide of his ex-wife which had occurred that afternoon.

K-9 Officer Scioli’s actions are to be commended. His diligent and proactive approach to his work directly resulted in a dangerous criminal being taken off the street. The suspect was returned to the jurisdiction from which he fled to answer for his crime. K-9 Officer Scioli handled the situation in a calm and professional manner. He prevented the situation from escalating and provided a first-hand account of valuable evidence that was at the scene of his vehicle stop.

Capt. Donald C, Kieffer
Leadership Award – Lieutenant Gregory Sauers

Lieutenant Greg Sauers was hired by the Amherst Police Department on July 29, 2002. Over the course of Greg’s tenure at the department, he has excelled as a leader. As a patrolman, Greg was self-motivated. He would go above and beyond his calls of service. On the road, Greg became a field training ocer who made every attempt to pass on his knowledge and dedicated work ethic to new recruits.

In 2013, Greg became a Lieutenant. This promotion embodied the respect he garnered across the department. As a result, he was able to step into a formal leadership role for many of the units he was a member of – becoming the supervisor of Tech Services, the FTO Program, the Trac Unit and the Emergency Response Team; just to name a few.

Greg has had an active part in the redesign of the Bailey Training Facility which will enhance the abilities of Ocers for years to come. Greg took the lead in designing and coordinating the construction of the shoot house in the training center. This facility has become a cornerstone to our department as well as the law enforcement community. Greg’s footprint will remain for years to come long after his retirement.

In every role that Greg has held, he has always tried to enhance and improve it. He truly desires to make the department a great place to work. One of the wonderful ways that Greg demonstrates his leadership is that he truly cares about the individuals he works with. Greg often plans events to bring ocers and their families together outside of work in eorts to bolster the family atmosphere. Greg has also been a long-time member of the Amherst Police Club Board of Directors. Greg spent many years serving on various committees and taking the lead of many events, such as the Family Picnic and Kids Christmas Party.

Due to Greg’s demonstrated natural leadership abilities, as well as his long-time ocial supervisory roles, it is with great pleasure that the Amherst Police Club recognizes Lieutenant Greg Sauers as the 2022 Donald Kieer Leadership Award recipient

William F. Muck III
Lifesaving Award – Ryan Blendowski

On March 18, 2022, the Amherst Police Department received a complaint of a vehicle driving recklessly in the area of Maple Road and Hopkins Road. The vehicle was reported to be a gray SUV that was driving at a high rate of speed and driving over curbs. A short time later, the Amherst Police Department received another call of a vehicle that had driven off the road on Hopkins Road near Billy Wilson Park. While patrols were in route, numerous more calls came in reporting the vehicle had rolled several times and was stuck in the woods.

Officer Ryan Blendowski was the first to arrive on scene. Officer Blendowski confirmed the vehicle had rolled-over and was currently unable to locate any occupants. A short time later, Officer Blendowski located the female driver who was injured badly. Officer Blendowski remained calm and began to cut away the victim’s clothing.

Upon doing so, the victim’s injuries were revealed which included a large laceration to her abdomen. Officer Blendowski used gauze and his bare hands to place the victims’ eviscerated organs back into her abdominal cavity. Officer Blendowski then began packing the victims wounds while continuing to access the victim’s needs. Officer Blendowski continued to give aid as paramedics and volunteer fire personnel arrived on scene.

Unfortunately, the victim eventually did succumb to her injuries on scene.
While on scene, the paramedics from Twin City ambulance made it a point to express their admiration for Officer Blendowski’s heroic act, stating what he had done was just “amazing”. Also, several members of the Getzville Fire Department remarked that they were “in awe” at the work Officer Blendowski had done in an effort to save this person’s life. Officer Ryan Blendowski showed incredible heroism, bravery, skill, calmness and courage in both his demeanor and his actions in the tragic event.

Donald G. Wrightm Sr. Memorial
Dedication to Service Award – Tom Thielman

Tom Thielman began his career with the Amherst Police Department as a patrolman in 1997. Tom has gone on to serve the department in many capacities including being a Field Training Officer, DARE Officer, Family Offense Officer, EVOC Instructor, PT Instructor, Firearms Instructor, and Hostage Negotiator. Tom was promoted to the rank of Detective in 2015.

Tom has received numerous awards throughout his career including the 1997 Amherst Bee Outstanding Officer Of The Year Award, but his true value to the Department has been the relationships he has built with both department members and the citizens of the town he has encountered along the way. Tom served as a member of The Amherst Police Club Board Of Directors for twenty years.

He was always available to help the membership. Tom routinely donated hours of his time and expertise to design the modern Club Yearbook which generated thousands of dollars in donations for club events and charities. He served as a mentor for many younger Officers and Detectives. Asan FOS Officer and a Detective, Tom has always been a true professional, always going above and beyond while working a case. Any victim who encountered Tom always came away with a greater appreciation of the Amherst Police Department due to his compassion and work ethic. It is for these reasons that Tom Thielman is the 2022 Donald G. Wright Award recipient.