Division of Criminal Justice Services

About/Contact DCJS  Current Press Releases  Archived Press Releases  Open Meetings/Webcasts

Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell

For release: July 26, 2007

Police Officers Honored Posthumously with
2006 Governor’s Police Officer of the Year Award

ALBANY – Two police officers killed in the line of duty last year – New Hartford Police Officer Joseph D. Corr and New York State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr – have been posthumously honored with the 2006 Governor’s Police Officer of the Year Award.

Given annually since 1984, the award recognizes the police officer or officers who have demonstrated exceptional valor in service to the residents of New York State. Ten individuals were nominated for the award, which is coordinated by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Office of Public Safety.

“Officer Corr and Trooper Sperr made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities,” Governor Eliot Spitzer said. “By bestowing this award, we recognize their bravery in the face of grave danger, honor their memories and at the same time, call attention to the important work done, day in and day out, by their colleagues in law enforcement. I salute their commitment to this state and their dedicated service to its residents.” 

Added DCJS Commissioner Denise E. O’Donnell: “Through their actions, Officer Corr and Trooper Sperr epitomize what it means to serve and protect. By recognizing them in this way, we also send an important message to their colleagues, friends and loved ones that their valor and sacrifice in the line of duty has not been, and will not be, forgotten. The State of New York and its residents are truly indebted to these brave men.”

Officer Corr was killed on Feb. 27, 2006, in the Oneida County town of New Hartford after responding to a report of a jewelry store robbery in progress. A high-speed vehicle pursuit ensued, ending with a suspect’s vehicle crashing into a gas pump.

One of the suspects fled running into the woods with Officer Corr in pursuit. A shot was fired from the wood line, hitting Officer Corr in the neck, killing him. In January, an Oneida County jury convicted one man in connection with Officer Corr’s death.

Trooper Sperr was shot to death after approaching a suspicious vehicle in the Chemung County town of Big Flats on March 1, 2006. Unbeknownst to Trooper Sperr, the men in the vehicle had just robbed the Chemung Canal Trust Co. branch.

When he approached the vehicle, the passenger immediately fired a gun, hitting Trooper Sperr in the torso. Despite his injury, Trooper Sperr was able to return fire, wounding the suspects before they could flee. The suspects shot again, killing Trooper Sperr. All told, three suspects were arrested and convicted in connection with his death.

Earlier this year, the names of Office Corr and Trooper Sperr, along with five others, were added to the State of New York Police Officers Memorial in Albany.

Police Officer of the Year honorees are selected annually by a seven-member committee composed of the DCJS commissioner; State Police superintendent; counsel and executive director of the state Sheriffs’ Association; executive director of the state Association of Chiefs of Police; president of the Police Conference of New York; president of the Metropolitan Police Conference of New York State; and the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the city of New York.

Since the award’s inception in 1984, 92 police officers have been honored, including 37 Port Authority and 23 New York City police officers killed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.