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Southold officers honored for saving man from CO poisoning


Two Southold Town police officers were named their department’s Officers of the Year for saving the life of a Cutchogue man who was overcome by carbon monoxide in June. 

Officers William Brewer and Ryan Springer received their awards Friday at the Southampton Kiwanis Club’s annual East End Police Awards dinner at the Sea Star Ballroom in the Hyatt Place East End in Riverhead.

On June 6, 2015, police received a 911 call from a woman who feared her husband had suffered a heart attack. The man, 78-year-old Ernest Schneider, had been working on his boat at his home and was not responding to her call, she said.

Officers arrived to find a frantic woman, who pointed to a shrink-wrapped boat in the backyard and said her husband was inside.

“The officers immediately entered the wrapped boat and found its owner unconscious and not breathing on the fly bridge,” said Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley, who presented the award. “They quickly determined that his symptoms were from carbon monoxide poisoning, a result of the engines running and emitting exhaust fumes.”

Officer Brian McNamara cut away the shrink wrap while Mr. Brewer and Mr. Springer began rescue breathing and applied an automated external defibrillator to Mr. Schneider, who began breathing on his own after about three minutes, the chief said.

Mr. Schneider was removed from the boat and placed in a Cutchogue Fire Ambulance, which took him to Peconic Bay Medical Center.

“Through the quick response and the professional actions of the above officers, Mr. Schneider’s life was undoubtedly saved,” Chief Flatley said. “These officers, along with police officer Brian McNamara and Sgt. Scott Latham — who all assisted in this rescue — are to be commended. They make every officer of the Southold Town Police Department proud.”

Mr. Brewer and Mr. Springer have each been with the department for 18 years, having both been hired in September 1997, Chief Flatley said.

Mr. Springer works the Mattituck sector; Mr. Brewer is in the Community Response Unit and is also a Juvenile Aid Bureau officer, the chief said.

Other area Officer of the Year recipients included Det. Sgt. Jack Thilberg from Shelter Island Town, Det. Frank Hernandez from Riverhead Town, officers Keith Phillips and Eric Breitwieser from Southampton Town, Suffolk County Court Officer Joseph Ottaviano, Suffolk deputy sheriff Brenda Orejuela, Suffolk correction officer warden Michael Franchi; and New York State trooper Robert Lynch.

The Kiwanis Club has been holding the police award ceremony for 46 years, and now honors officers in every East End police department. Officer of the Year recipients are chosen by the individual departments.

Photo Caption: Southold officers Ryan Springer, left, and William Brewer, right, were presented the award by Police Chief Martin Flatley Friday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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