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DPS Award Ceremony Credit: Amiya Chopra , Amiya Chopra

Police officers, security officers and civilians were awarded for outstanding service at the biannual Division of Public Safety Commendation Ceremony last night.

Members from Penn Police, PennComm, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and AlliedBarton Security were awarded commendations of merit. Letters of recognition were also given to the Philadelphia Police Department, Medical Emergency Response Team and citizens from the surrounding community.

Among the commended were Patty Bulack, Bruce Dorplan and Charles Hamilton — Neighborhood Town Watch members who helped Penn and Philadelphia Police catch the suspect who committed a knifepoint robbery on a Penn student at 42nd and Locust streets on April 8.

Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, who attended the ceremony, praised the recipients for their dedication, as Hamilton’s wife had gone into labor the night he reported the culprit.

Other officers were commended for their work on March 2, when an unconscious male was found on the Palestra roof. After stabilizing the victim, he was transported to the hospital and is now recovering in his home. One of the people responsible for this recovery was Penn Police Sergeant Joseph Risoli.

Risoli was awarded a commendation letter for his service. He’s been at Penn for 11 years, and has received awards for bravery and heroism in previous years.

“This is a nice recognition, but I’m not that excited. This is my job. Being a cop is thankless, and we’d do it anyway even if we didn’t get these awards,” he said. “I love my job. I chase people, help people and suppress crime.”

Penn students were also awarded at the ceremony.

College of Liberal and Professional Studies student Nicole Sapiro and other officers were applauded for their service on Nov. 5 last year, when five Penn students were injured in a car crash. Sapiro responded quickly to the situation, helped identify the victims and helped those who were less-severely injured.

Yesterday’s celebration was presented by DPS, the Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Students Assembly.

After the initial bagpipe and flag procession, Rush thanked the honorees, College Dean Dennis DeTurck, the Drexel Police Department and others for their contribution to upholding a safe environment. DeTurck spoke briefly, saying he was grateful that “people here are so kind and know what to do at the right time while remaining calm.”

University President Amy Gutmann was a guest speaker and emphasized the danger of taking things for granted.

“If we suddenly fear for our own safety, it’s disabling. This ceremony reminds us not to take safety for granted. The people who are being honored today … make our lives — and everything we love — possible,” she said. “I applaud you for your proven capacity to respond to new challenges.”

PPD Deputy Chief of Police Michael Fink also outlined the history of DPS’ employment of automated external defibrillators and their direct responsibility in saving the lives of six people. There are currently 109 AEDs on campus.

“Penn students are busy; sometimes we take things for granted … We make DPS work hard, so it’s nice to recognize that hard work,” said former UA president Tyler Ernst, a Wharton and Engineering senior. “You give us something to brag about.”

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