By Jano Tantongco
Suffolk Detective Nicholas Guerrero, who was critically injured by a driver who fled a traffic stop in 2014, was one of several police officials to be honored during the Jan. 20 Huntington Matters meeting. Guerrero received the Distinguished Service and Personal Sacrifice Award.
“I feel very grateful and blessed for that, being with my colleagues and having my family to support me and be there for me during my tough times,” Guerrero, who works in the Second Precinct, said in an interview. “It just feels fantastic to just look at everything in the past as opposed to the present.”
Guerrero, who has now been on the force for five years, spent a month in the hospital and several months in physical therapy before returning to duty in October. He has since been promoted to the rank of detective.
The Distinguished Service and Personal Sacrifice Award was also given to Second Precinct Police Officer Mark Collins, who was shot and wounded in Huntington Station last year. He was not able to attend because his wife just had a baby, according to Robert Rocklein, Huntington Matters secretary.
Three Police Explorers of Post No. 201, Harris Wilner, Angel VillItoro and Michael Sullivan were also given certificates of appreciation for their assistance in the arrest of an intoxicated man on April 19, 2015. Second Precinct Inspector Christopher Hatton recounted the story, noting that the young men were getting pizza for lunch after helping out in the spring cleanup of Huntington Station. They saw a man getting out of his car, appearing intoxicated and slurring his words. They informed their advisors, who intervened and arrested the man for marijuana possession.
“The three young men prevented this man from getting in his vehicle and operating his vehicle, and we all know what kind of accident, property damage, injuries [may occur],” Hatton said. “They followed their training, they did their civic duty.”
Suffolk Legislator William Spencer (D-Centerport), who attended the meeting and gave certificates of recognition to the explorers, said he was warmed to see the police department and civic group working hand in hand.
“We are invested together in this great community,” Spencer said.