Division of Criminal Justice Services

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For Immediate Release: 11/12/2019

Janine Kava | janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
Jill Spadaro | jill.spadaro@dcjs.ny.gov
Press Office | Division of Criminal Justice Services | (518) 457-8828  

Irvington Police Officer Recognized as Recipient of 2018 Lifesaving Award

Presented by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Award Recognizes Police Officers Who Perform Courageous and Unselfish Lifesaving Acts While Off-Duty

Officer Arcangelo Liberatore Was Off-Duty When He Saved Child from Rabid Coyote in a Town Park

Irvington Police Officer Arcangelo F. Liberatore today received the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ 2018 Lifesaving Award for his efforts in saving a child attacked by a rabid coyote in 2018. DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green presented Liberatore with the award during a ceremony this afternoon at the Irvington Justice Court in Westchester County.

“This award is a reminder of the danger police officers face in the line of duty,” Commissioner Green said. “The split-second decisions they make can not only place them directly in harm’s way but can also mean the difference between life and death. It goes without saying that Officer Liberatore’s actions on April 29th epitomize the very meaning of a courageous and selfless act.”

On April 29, 2018, Officer Liberatore was off-duty with his family at a park in Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, when he heard the screams of a 5-year-old girl. He ran to the scene and saw the young girl being viciously attacked by a coyote. He shepherded his own family to safety and, without hesitation, wrestled and pulled the animal off the girl, restraining it until local police officers arrived and put the animal down. During the struggle, Officer Liberatore and the girl both suffered injuries that required immediate medical treatment at a local hospital and follow-up care, when it was later determined that the coyote was rabid. 

Irvington Police Chief Michael P. Cerone said, “Officer Liberatore invoked the selfless spirit of humanity by coming to the aid of another in a time of a crisis. His heroism in taking on a rabid coyote barehanded was an amazing deed and exemplifies the true meaning of being a police officer, protecting society from all kinds of predators.”

The Division of Criminal Justice Services coordinates the work of the Governor’s Police Officer of the Year Award Selection Committee, which recognizes a single police officer or team of officers for an exceptional act of valor. The Police Officer of the Year award has been presented since 1984. The Committee established the Lifesaving Award in 2016 because it had consistently received nominations involving officers who performed heroic acts during life-threatening emergencies and wanted a way to recognize them for their efforts. 

This year, the Selection Committee received nominations from nine agencies for the 2018 Police Officer of the Year award, which was presented in September to Lieutenant James Milana and Officers Victoria Losurdo and Travis Rheinheimer of the Syracuse Police Department for their apprehension of a gunman on Feb. 4, 2018. Other officers nominated for the Police Officer of the Year Award, including Officer Liberatore, also receive a Certificate of Exceptional Valor from Governor Cuomo.

Earlier this year, Officer Liberatore also received the Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund, established in 1904 by Pittsburgh steel magnate Andrew Carnegie to recognize individuals in the United States and Canada who risk their lives “to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”

The Division of Criminal Justice Services has a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state's Sex Offender Registry.