Niagara County Judges and Police Conference Honors Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

by Tony Farina

The Judges and Police Executive Conference of Niagara County honored the group’s law enforcement officers of the year last Saturday night at Antonio’s Banquet and Conference Center in Niagara Falls.

 Selected for their performances in the line of duty were Officer Michael Stover and Lt. Toby Trowbridge of the Lockport Police Department., and Deputy Joey L. Tortorella of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy Joey Toetorella and son Sam ...honored for bravery in confrontation with armed man

Deputy Joey Toetorella and son Sam …honored for bravery in confrontation with armed man

 Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour and Undersheriff Mike Filicetti , the outgoing president of the organization, presided at the awards ceremony attended by more than 230 people.

 Stover and Trowbridge were honored for their cold-water rescue of a man who had jumped into the Erie Barge Canal near Main St. in Lockport, apparently intent on committing suicide.  The officers swam across the cold canal water in the dark to reach the man and get a life vest on him while waiting for a police boat to reach them.  The rescued man suffered leg injuries and hypothermia but survived.  The two officers suffered cuts and bruises and hypothermia but after treatment at a local medical facility, they returned to work the next day.

 Deputy Tortorella was honored for his bravery in confronting an armed man on Errick Road in the Town of Wheatfield after he responded to a 911 hang-up call to the Communications Center from the residence located next to an elementary school.  Deputy Tortorella confronted a man identified as Duane Bores when he arrived, and Bores was evasive in answering the officer’s questions. 

Officer Michael Stover (l) and Lt. Toby Trowbridge ...Lockport officers honored

Officer Michael Stover (l) and Lt. Toby Trowbridge
…Lockport officers honored

 As Tortorella waited for the man to leave the house, he became suspicious and after Bores came out he ordered him to keep his hands up.  But Bores did not obey Tortorella’s order, and reached for a handgun in his rear waistband.  The deputy fired three shots at Bores as the suspect was reaching for the gun and Bores returned fire, hitting the deputy in the lower front of his armored vest.  After additional officers arrived, they located the suspect’s parents inside the house with gunshot wounds to the face and neck area and the suspect dead in the kitchen, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

 Sheriff Voutour noted in his remarks that the entire episode was captured on surveillance video from the residence, and it clearly showed the courage displayed by Deputy Tortorella in dealing with the very dangerous confrontation with an armed and erratically behaving man within shouting distance of an elementary school.

Undersheriff Filicetti and Judge James Faso ...Faso takes over as Conference president

Undersheriff Filicetti and Judge James Faso …Faso takes over as Conference president

Also on the program Saturday night was a thank you to Undersheriff Filicetti for his service over the last year as president of the Judges and Police Executive Conference, and a welcome to the new president, Town of Niagara Justice James Faso.

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