Nassau police officers Frank DiConza and Richard Muller, partners for a decade in the Fifth Precinct’s plainclothes detail, have been busy this year, removing from the streets large quantities of deadly heroin, pills and crack cocaine.
The pair, police officials say, have made an arrest nearly every other day this year on average — 176 arrests and counting in 2015 — rounding up dozens of robbers, burglars and drug dealers using what they described as a mix of community outreach and active manhunts for the bad guys.
Muller and DiConza were named the department’s overall “Top Cops” for 2015, netting 26 felony arrests, 113 misdemeanor arrests and 37 violations — the most of any officers in the department, officials said. The duo also issued 589 summonses and conducted 77 field interviews during the time, officials said.
The Police Benevolent Association awarded DiConza and Muller with citations during a meeting of the Nassau County Legislature on Monday, along with several other officers honored for exemplary work, officials said.
“It just feels good to get drugs off the street,” said Muller, 46, an 18-year department veteran, who acknowledged it’s also “very nice” to be recognized for their efforts.
PBA president James Carver said of Muller and DiConza, who also received the award in 2007: “They are high activity police officers. They have a knack for sniffing out crime.”
Carver said the work of the pair, as well as all the officers honored, speaks to the professionalism of police officers.
“In spite of the national media trying to demonize police, our police officers still go out there and do a great job,” Carver said.
DiConza credited their boss, Sgt. Edward Grim, for supporting the detail’s seven members by cultivating close relationships with community members, who often provide important leads.
“It’s a rewarding job to start an investigation and see it through,” said DiConza, 41, who has been with the department for 17 years and called the award an “honor.”
Other officers also received awards including Second Precinct Sgt. Stephen Schoen for arresting a pair responsible for car larcenies; Sixth Precinct officers Glenn De Meo and George Iwasiuk and ambulance medical technicians Pearse Donnelly and Nina Cirella for saving a drowning victim; officer Christopher Peters of the Highway Patrol K9 Unit for preventing a potential suicide; Fifth Precinct officers John Liston, Steve Ben-Jacob and Michael Rasmussen for interrupting an Elmont home invasion and arresting four suspects; and an unnamed detective in the Narcotics Squad for developing confidential sources that led to 163 drug arrests.