Two Nassau court officers who stepped outside their regular duties to save a lost 10-year-old with developmental disabilities last month received a visit Monday from an upstate judge who honored them for their good deed.
"Your performance of duty that day serves as an example of the professionalism New York State court officers exercise daily," Michael Coccoma, the state's deputy chief administrative judge for the courts outside New York City, told the two officers, Joan Pearsall and Mark Pullo in a ceremony in Nassau Supreme Court.
Coccoma presented them each with a certificate of appreciation and a letter for their permanent file.
Pearsall and Pullo, whose job is to patrol the area near the First District Court in Hempstead, happened to hear on their police scanner that a developmentally disabled boy had not gotten on his school bus to go home that day, and was now missing.
On a hunch, the two drove by the nearby Harold Mason Junior Memorial Playground.
There they saw a boy meeting the description they had heard on the scanner playing on the jungle gym.
"When I heard there was a missing child, I knew that was pretty important," Pullo said.
The boy seemed nervous when he heard how late it had gotten, but the two officers took care not to scare him, and delivered him to Hempstead police, who in turn took him home.
"That felt good," Pearsall said.
Nassau's chief administrative judge, Anthony Marano, said he's not surprised to hear that court officers stepped in to help even when it was not their direct responsibility.
"They're not trying to help with blinders on; they're part of the community," he said. "They made what could have been a tragic situation turn out well."