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Mercer County Honors Sheriff’s Officer of the Year, Presents Several Other Awards

Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler (l) and Sheriff’s Officer of the Year Michael Orlando.
Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler (l) and Sheriff’s Officer of the Year Michael Orlando.

Michael Orlando, an officer in the court division of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, has been named officer of the year.

A 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, he oversees the processing, movement, and securing of inmates and those awaiting trial. He previously served in the patrol unit and as a bike patrol officer. A 23-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Orlando served in the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia before becoming a sheriff’s officer.

During the awards ceremony, Mercer County Sunshine Foundation President Cathy DiCostanzo thanked the officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and PBA 187 for their support of Operation Dream Lift. She also recognized Sheriff Jack Kemler and his wife Annette for their contributions to the Mercer County Sunshine Foundation.

Kemler presented the following line of duty awards to officers, investigators, and detectives who displayed notable performance, heroism, or lifesaving actions.

Sheriff’s Medal of Honor to Detective William Miller – While assisting Trenton Police Detectives Edgar Rios and James Letts on a domestic violence assignment, a suspect unexpectedly emerged from the house and began shooting at the officers. Rios and Letts were seriously wounded by the gunfire, and the suspect was killed with return fire. Detective Miller is honored with the highest commendation offered by the Sheriff’s Office for outstanding action in the line of duty while in personal imminent danger. Miller, in addition to Rios and Letts were honored at the White House earlier in the year for bravery under fire.

Sheriff’s Gallantry Medal to Officer Anthony Conway – For his brave actions as an off-duty witness to a road rage incident that turned quickly into violence against an elderly man. Officer Conway took immediate action to end the assault in progress and apprehended the suspect, who was later charged with aggravated assault.

Sheriff’s Lifesaving Medal to Officers Ralph MacKelvey and Anibal Santos – For saving the life of a 68 year-old man’s aboard a Frontier Airline jet at takeoff when he suffered a cardiac incident. The passenger is alive and well today because of their actions.

Sheriff’s Achievement Medals to Officer Vito Vacirca and Lieutenant Harry Harbourt – For their professionalism, dedication and commitment in working with the national and state Special Olympics to ensure the safety and success of participating athletes.

Sheriff’s Letters of Commendation to Officers David Smithson, Pat Papero, and Thomas Sweeney – At the request of the Ewing Police, the Mercer County Sheriff’s K-9 unit was called for assistance to help locate a distraught man who ran away from home during the night. Sheriff’s Officer Smithson and his dog Maverick, along with the assistance of Officers Papero and Sweeney, tracked the missing person for over three miles and located him in a roadside ditch. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment and later reunited with his grateful family.

Sheriff’s Military Award to Officers Jennifer Lynn, Joel Adams, Peter Novobilsky, Marc Manfredi and Dennis Powlish – In appreciation of their military service. Officers Manfredi and Powlish are currently serving on active military duty.

Sheriff’s Recognition Award to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office Airport Unit – For exemplary work and the call to duty. With the expansion of the Frontier Airlines flight schedules, over one million people moved through the Trenton Mercer Airport last year.

Years of Service Awards were also presented to officers with 10, 15, and 25 years of departmental service. The awards presentation
took place on Friday, May 15, at the Mercer County Criminal Courthouse.

Written by
Krystal Knapp

Krystal has been a journalist in the Trenton area since 1999. A graduate of Smith College and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is from Detroit. She likes baseball, cats, jazz, ukulele, typewriters, chai, and good coffee. Follow her @planettrenton.

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Written by Krystal Knapp