4 Nassau police officers receive department's top honor
GalleriesNassau and Suffolk top police salaries LI cops with highest severance pay Nassau memorial honors fallen police officers
Four Nassau police officers Monday night were awarded the department's highest honor for their actions responding to armed home invasions in Valley Stream and Point Lookout.
"These are heroic tales of extraordinary efforts," Nassau police Commissioner Thomas Dale said at the 140th Departmental Awards Ceremony. The officers "witnessed evil and did what had to be done to keep our county safe. They're heroes."
The four officers, who each are six-year veterans of the force, were awarded the medal of valor -- the department's highest honor -- at a ceremony in the auditorium of the John P. McKenna School in Massapequa Park.
More than 200 awards were presented during the ceremony, which was attended by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and scores of proud family members who snapped pictures and cheered from their seats.
Officer Shevach Berkovits received the medal of valor for his role in the Aug. 29, 2011, shooting death of Kurt Doerbecker, 23, of Point Lookout.
According to a police account read during the ceremony, Doerbecker "charged with his arm raised and a large knife over his head" at Berkovits, who "shouted verbal commands" before firing.
Doerbecker's family has filed a lawsuit.
Berkovits, officials said, "acted with restraint and only fired his weapon when there was no other option available."
Also receiving the medal of valor were Det. Juan C. Giron and officers George C. Pribyl and Timothy Siar for their roles in a Jan. 16, 2012, home invasion in Valley Stream.
Giron was first on the scene and kicked in the back door and freed the four children and two adults whose hands were tied inside the house.
Pribyl and Siar soon arrived and entered the house, exchanging gunfire with one of the three suspects. One of the suspects, Timothy Capers, fatally shot himself, police said.