103rd Precinct cops get national award for bravery

By Sadef Ali Kully

Four 103rd Precinct officers who survived a 2014 hatchet attack are being recognized at the 22nd Annual Top Cops Awards dinner by the National Association of Police Organizations for actions above and beyond the call of duty in May in Washington, D.C.

“It is a very competitive bid, They won statewide and were in the top five finalists, and now they will get to meet President Obama next month,” said Capt. James Fey, who was filling in for Deputy Inspector John Cappelmann at the community precinct meeting because he will join his officers in Washington for the award ceremony.

Since 1994 the National Association of Police Organizations has presented the Top Cops awards.

NYPD Officers Kenneth Healey, Taylor Kraft, Joseph Meeker and Peter Rivera fought off and fatally shot a crazed “self-radicalized” man. The officer were attacked by Zale Thompson, 32, from Queens Village, who caught the officers offguard and assaulted them with a sharp, 18-inch, hand ax in downtown Jamaica in October last year. Healey was struck with the hatchet on the side of his head and Meeker had his right arm sliced by the weapon before officers on the scene shot Thompson 19 times, killing him.

Healey, from Long Beach, has gone through two skull reconstructive surgeries since the incident and is looking forward to getting back to work, according to Deputy Inspector Cappelmann.

“Officer Healy is doing very well and will finish the last of his surgeries soon,” Fey said.

An independent awards selection committee comprised of national law enforcement representatives choose from hundreds of nominations one Top Cop case from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories.

“The Top Cops Awards provide an opportunity for all of us to recognize the brave men and women in America’s law enforcement community who selflessly put their lives on the line day in and day out,” said Mick McHale, president of NAPO. “Law enforcement officers care deeply about the citizens and communities they serve, and this honor is one way of letting them know their contributions are not taken for granted.”

In past years, civic leaders including the president and vice president as well as the U.S. attorney general have helped honor these brave men and women by attending and speaking at the ceremony.

Many celebrities from NBC’s hit programs like “Law and Order,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” CBS’s “Cold Case,” “NCIS” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” will serve as award presenters.

NAPO is a coalition of more than 1,000 police units and associations representing 241,000 rank-and-file law enforcement officers from across the United States.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.