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3 Nassau police officers honored for rescuing toddler from hot car

Nassau Police officers Carlo Capogna and Nathan O'Connell

Nassau Police officers Carlo Capogna and Nathan O'Connell receive citations from Nassau County Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves as they are honored by the Nassau County Legislature for rescuing a 2-year-old child from inside a car in a Carle Place parking lot in 90 degree heat. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

It was a sweltering hot summer day and inside the back seat of a car in a Carle Place shopping center was a 2-year-old boy, sweating and unresponsive.

A woman who noticed the boy called 911 and three Nassau County Police officers responded to the scene at 860 Old Country Rd. on Aug. 12 last year, police said.

Third Precinct Officers Carlo Capogna, Nathan O’Connell and Anatoliy Volynets called for an ambulance and knocked on the car window, but the boy didn’t respond, police said. So they broke the glass.

The child was treated for dehydration, but was otherwise OK, police said.

The Nassau County Legislature and the Police Benevolent Association on Monday recognized the officers’ efforts in saving the child, naming the three officers “Top Cops” and presenting them with citations.

PBA President James McDermott said the “great work” likely prevented another hot car death. According to the National Safety Council, a nonprofit that works to halt preventable deaths, 39 children died in hot cars last year.

Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said the officers’ actions were at the very essence of the department’s community policing model.

“This is a classic example of the police officers not just arresting people . . . it’s at the very core of community policing here in Nassau county. If not for the intervention of these . . . officers, we could have had a fatality that no one would want to be talking about.”

The child’s father, Russell J. Furey, 55, of 4th Street in Hicksville, was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a department spokesman.

Efforts to reach Furey Monday were unsuccessful.

Volynets was on vacation on Monday, so he wasn’t there to accept his praise.

Capogna, a 12-year-veteran of the force, said, “I think the person that actually contacted 911 should have been honored too.”

O’Connell, who’s been on the job 3 years, added: “I’m glad the child’s OK.”

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