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Every day, unknown dangers and accidents threaten the lives of the citizens of Suffolk County. The Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) is recognized for their ongoing efforts to protect and serve the com- munity. Within the SCPD there are officers who take on specialized training as members of the highly regarded Emergency Service Section.

Emergency Service (E.S.) was formed in 1973 in response to the need for “heavy rescue” to assist with motor vehicle accidents. Today, it is comprised of 40 officers, four Sergeants and one Lieutenant. Originally, E.S. was part of Highway Patrol, operating with only one piece of equipment known as the “Jaws of Life” in the back of their patrol vehicle. This piece of equipment is crucial in life-threatening predicaments, often used to extricate people from automobiles.

Today, E.S. officers patrol Suffolk County in trucks equipped to handle a variety of emergency situations. Specifically, E.S. has responsibility in four critical areas: Rescue, Tactical, Hazmat (Hazardous Materials)and Bombs.

The work is very physical and highly stressful. Officers who aspire to work in Emergency Services have to pass specialized physical and psychological tests before being accepted into the unit. Once accepted into E.S. these officers perform adrenaline producing, high stress tasks on a daily basis. E.S. officers must be experienced, highly motivated, in excellent physical condition, have good problem solving skills and train on a regular basis to stay up to date and ready to handle all aspects of the job at a moment’s notice.

In total, E.S. officers responded to 8,500 calls in 2016. The calls span the imagination with diverse needs, varied levels of danger, locations and threats. Officer Robert Golini, a bomb-tech and a senior member of E.S. who has trained many of the officers in the unit and explains,

“on any given day E.S. officers are called to perform tasks as routine as removing a tree that is block- ing a roadway to a major task such as defusing a bomb.”

E.S. officers commitment to saving lives – from a person to a man’s best friend – and this was demonstrated by two incidences just recently in the fall of 2016. With no concern for their own safety, E.S. Officers William Judge and Glen Baillargeon climbed over 20 stories to the top of the Fire Island Inlet Bridge to rescue a suicidal man in extreme emotional distress. And in October, Officers Gerry Sheridan, Tom Russo, and Lance Prager lowered themselves into a cesspool using a mechanical pulley system to successfully rescue a 100-pound golden doodle, Poofa. The owner of the dog and the distressed man were reunited with their loved ones.

Today, E.S. consists of 6 patrol trucks and 16 special- ized trucks and trailers. While the Unit was originally much smaller, after 9/11, the department saw a need for expansion, and began recruiting more officers to join the ranks. PBA Recording Secretary, Police Officer Carl Glaser was one of the officers selected after 9/11 and has been assigned to E.S. since September 2001.

“It is truly a privilege to serve the members of one of the greatest departments in the country as Recording Secretary of the SCPBA, and to serve the citizens of Suffolk County as a member of Emergency Service. I am truly humbled to serve in these positions and anything I can do to contribute is an honor.”

Prior to becoming a member of the Emergency Service, Glaser was a member of the 3rd precinct where he worked a sector car in Bay Shore before becoming a member of the COPE Unit as a Bike Patrol Officer. While Glaser takes great pride in his time in the 3rd precinct he always aspired to be a member of Emergency Service.

“ To me, being a member of Emergency service is to be a member of the ultimate team. The job has so many aspects and tasks, and none that can be done successfully on your own. You have to come together and provide a solution to the the task at hand and most times these decisions need to be made in a split second. Someone’s life can depend on it.”

And indeed, as a specialized unit, E.S. handles far more incidents and accidents than those that take place on the LIE. From bomb threats to Hazmat scenarios, to tactical and diverse rescue situations, the unit serves as an integral part of the department’s ability to save peo- ple in the most dangerous and life-threatening situations.

Hazmat and Bomb response are specialized aspects of the E.S. and while all officers are trained to become Hazmat technicians, only a select few are chosen to be- come bomb technicians and “we have the best,” says Glaser referring to his esteemed fellow Officer Bob Go- lini and the rest of the bomb techs. Hazmat calls can be anything from a fuel leak at a motor vehicle accident to a chemical spill. However, since 9 /11 bio hazards have become a major hazmat concern. E.S. trains their officers regularly with equipment on how to handle these situations. Bomb technicians are also highly trained and dedicated individuals that only become certified after they have successfully completed a 6-week training course. This course requires them to be away from their family the entire time. To remain certified they have to complete a one-week course every 3 years.

The Tactical and SWAT Team (Special Weapons and Tactics) is another specialized aspect that ES officers handle and are assigned by the department to execute search warrants for felons, weapons and narcotics. In 2016, E.S. executed over 200 search warrants for the Detective Division. In addition to search warrants, E.S. also handles violent emotionally disturbed persons, hostage situations and barricaded/ suicidal subjects.

Every day, the officers in the Emergency Service commit countless acts of bravery and skill, putting their lives at risk to help the residents of Suffolk County. This is exemplified by an incident this past August when five E.S. officers were called to a scene with a violent man. The man turned on the officers, severely injuring one officer, who was stabbed in the face several times. The outcomes surely would have been worse if the officers did not work together, pushing their training to the limit to protect each other and subdue the violent man.

“These are the men we ask to do some of the most dangerous work in the Suffolk County,” said SCPBA President, Noel DiGeralomo.

When we think about their commitment to protecting us and being on the scene of a critical situation at a moment’s notice, we have tremendous gratitude and debt for their service. Join us in thanking the Emergency Service Officers.