The term hero is often bandied about casually, but 68th Precinct Police Officer Joseph Power embodies the true measure of the word. He has often risked his life and worked tirelessly to safeguard the neighborhood from drugs and illegal weapons.
On Tuesday, April 23, Power was among the eight recipients of the Bay Ridge Community Council’s Police and Fire Awards at the Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th Street.
The annual event recognizes individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference within the community. Power, along with five members of FDNY Engine Company 253, Auxiliary Lt. Rodney Aviles and Explorer Esmeilyn Tejada were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and services. Tejada was surprised to learn that due to her dedication and service, she had been promoted to the rank of corporal.
The firefighters who took the spotlight were honored for their response to a motorcyclist who had been injured in a crash on the Belt Parkway.
Katherine Khatari, whose brother William Gormley of FDNY Ladder Company 174 died from 9/11 related cancer in 2017, recognized the members of FDNY Engine 253 – Lt. Chris Tuturici and Firefighters Timothy Ambery, Matthew Gershner, Nick Alessandro and Dylan English – who saved the biker’s life.
They arrived at the scene and saw that the cyclist had lost a great deal of blood and was not breathing. The members of Engine 253 provided aid to the individual as he miraculously survived thanks to their team effort. Alessandro and Ambery were on hand to accept the award on behalf of Engine 253.
Power is a five-year veteran of the New York City Police Department. Prior to joining the NYPD, he received a Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Francis College.
As a patrol officer, Power was one of the first members of the 68th Precinct to administer Naloxone to a victim of a heroin overdose, saving the young man’s life.
He is currently assigned to the 68th Precinct’s elite anti-crime unit, where has over 215 arrests, over 100 of them being felony arrests for possession of dangerous drugs and weapons.
Recently, Power was involved in removing six illegal firearms from the streets within a four-month period. His commanding officer at the 68th Precinct Capt. Robert Conwell told this paper that “Joe is a young, energetic officer, and I’m so glad to have him on my team.”
Following the presentation of the awards, Power, who has spent his career working in Brooklyn, and whose family resides in Bensonhurst, took the time to answer some questions for this paper.
“Removing the guns from the street was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced in my life,” he said. “Just knowing that those firearms could potentially have done harm to other human beings, removing them from the streets and knowing they can never be in the hands of a criminal ever again is a very good feeling and lets me sleep at night.”
Keeping drugs and guns off the street, he added, is, “The most important part of the job. Drugs is what destroys a community and with drugs come illegal firearms and keeping those off the streets in my opinion makes the community safe as a whole.”
Asked about the time he administered Naloxone, Power recalled, “We arrived at the apartment and were waiting for EMS. Our communications let us know that EMS was going to be taking longer than we expected. Prior to being a police officer I was a licensed state EMT. I checked his pulse and it was getting very weak; his respirations were getting very shallow. We had no choice at that point but to administer Naloxone. So as we administered it, half sprayed in one nostril, half sprayed in the other nostril, right away he regained a pulse and respiration started to get deeper and the EMS arrived right in time.”
The 68th Precinct was, “The second command I’ve been assigned to,” Power told this paper. “The first command was the 71st Precinct. This precinct, in my opinion is very good and the community is very supportive of the police officers and the precinct. We have a lot of resources from the community so we are able to give back more to the community. There are a lot of dedicated officers who serve in this area.”
Power said he always knew he wanted to join the NYPD. Receiving the Cop of the Year award was, he added, “The most rewarding aspect [of my career, so far], to be honest with you, because I’ve never gotten ‘Cop of the Year’ before. This is the first time.”
That said, Power told this paper that his favorite part of the job was “probably arresting the bad guys.”
And that’s something he intends to keep doing. Asked what was next for him, he replied, “Just to go out there every day and try to prevent crime by taking drugs and guns off the street to the best of my ability.”
Power and the other honorees also received citations and proclamations from elected officials. Attending the ceremony were Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Peter Abbate, who was accompanied by his 101-year-old mother Fannie, who resides at the home.
“I’m so proud that our community always remembers our first responders,” Abbate told this paper. “We’ve done this for a number of years in a row now and it’s just a great event and I’m honored to be here to do it.”
Malliotakis commended the honorees for their sacrifices and heroism. “They do what they do for us and to keep our community safe,” said Malliotakis. “They do it to save lives and for that we are always indebted.”