A Suffolk County police officer who was seriously injured by a driver fleeing in a stolen vehicle was among dozens of officers honored in a promotion ceremony in Brentwood Thursday.

Nicholas Guerrero, who suffered a severe head injury after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Sept. 22, got a standing ovation as he received his detective shield at the Suffolk County Police Academy.

"My heart was pounding, my eyes were getting watery," Guerrero, 36, a four-year veteran, said after the ceremony. "It was a great honor."

A total of 51 officers were promoted to ranks including inspector, deputy inspector lieutenant and detective sergeant.

"This is about putting the best in the right positions," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who was among several officials who embraced Guerrero on the stage.

Guerrero was injured when he and his partner -- both in plainclothes but wearing police vests and shields -- tried to pull over a stolen sport-utility vehicle in Huntington.

The driver drove off, striking both officers.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Guerrero underwent two surgeries to treat brain swelling and spent weeks regaining the ability to walk and speak as his fellow officers and family held vigil.

On the day of the crash, police arrested two Northport men, Chad Morizsan and Nicholas Franzone, whom they identified as the driver and his passenger.

Guerrero said Thursday he is still in therapy but hopes to be back on the job soon.

"It's all up to God's grace," he said.

Guerrero was joined onstage by retired and current New York City and Suffolk officers who pinned shields on their relatives.

Deputy Insp. Armando Valencia, who was promoted to inspector, and Capt. Gerard Hardy, who was promoted to deputy inspector, were the two highest-ranking officers.

Both men are assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Suffolk Det. Sgt. John Busweiler, 62, fastened a captain's shield on his younger brother, Joseph Busweiler, who was promoted from lieutenant.

"It's something I've always aspired to since I came on the job," said Joseph Busweiler, 51, a 22-year veteran of the Suffolk police department.

John Busweiler said the ceremony evoked memories of their late father, a construction worker and "police buff" who was delighted that his sons entered law enforcement.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"It was satisfying on a lot of different levels," he said, adding: "If he was still alive, he would be very proud."

 

Officers promoted

 

Armando Valencia: Deputy inspector to inspector

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Gerard Hardy: Captain to deputy inspector

Joseph Busweiler: Lieutenant to captain

Alexander Crawford: Lieutenant to captain

Frank Catalina: Lieutenant to detective lieutenant

Michael Pirone: Detective sergeant to lieutenant

Michael Crowley: Sergeant to lieutenant

Joseph Hauswirth: Sergeant to lieutenant

David Lawler: Sergeant to lieutenant

Matthew O'Malley: Sergeant to lieutenant

Frank Papillo: Sergeant to lieutenant

Steven Webber: Sergeant to lieutenant

Thomas Zagajeski: Sergeant to lieutenant

Kevin Byrne: Sergeant to detective sergeant

Charles Leser: Sergeant to detective sergeant

Michael Lutz" Sergeant to detective sergeant

Gina Reilly: Sergeant to detective sergeant

Scott Welshimer" Sergeant to detective sergeant

Michael Alfieri: Police officer to sergeant

Jennifer Blaskiewicz: Police officer to sergeant

Ronald Breuer: Police officer to sergeant

John Brunkard" Police officer to sergeant

James Burke: Police officer to sergeant

Kevin Clark: Police officer to sergeant

Richard Connell: Police officer to sergeant

Richard Grice: Police officer to sergeant

Robert Kall: Police officer to sergeant

Kevin Krause: Police officer to sergeant

Brian Loughlin: Police officer to sergeant

James McBride: Police officer to sergeant

Bonnie Raber: Police officer to sergeant

Richard Sereno: Police officer to sergeant

Vincent Sorrentino: Police officer to sergeant

William Walsh: Police officer to sergeant

William Berhalter: Police officer to detective

Steven Capparelli: Police officer to detective

John Chiquitucto: Police officer to detective

Ronald Cianfrogna: Police officer to detective

Joseph Collins: Police officer to detective

Brian Draiss: Police officer to detective

Joseph Faby: Police officer to detective

David Friedrich: Police officer to detective

James Gonzales: Police officer to detective

Nicholas Guerrero: Police officer to detective

Sean Hanley: Police officer to detective

Richard Howell: Police officer to detective

Jason Lucia: Police officer to detective

Michael Mulloy: Police officer to detective

Michael Repperger: Police officer to detective

Gregg Schleier: Police officer to detective

Everett Wehr: Police officer to detective