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Catching armed robbery suspects leads to Officer of the Year honors

You could say Southold Town police officer Ryan Springer’s distinction as the department’s 2017 Officer of the Year was more than 365 days in the making.

It was on the second day of last January that Officer Springer was dispatched to a call of a suspicious vehicle in Laurel, where he found a U-Haul parked and running with two people asleep inside. Officer Springer noticed a marijuana grinder and large stack of cash in the driver’s lap, so he woke the subjects and began questioning them, Southold Town Police Lieutenant James Ginas said.

During questioning, Officer Springer realized the mens’ stories didn’t add up and a search of the vehicle yielded a black face mack, tin snips, pellet guns, marijuana, a large knife, work gloves and more cash in a locked bag, Lt. Ginas said.

One man was also found to be wearing a nylon holster, black bandana around his neck and a whistle on a lanyard. Officer Springer recognized that the men fit descriptions of two robbery suspects police were notified about earlier and detained them. Detectives from Southold and Riverhead police arrived and identified the men as suspects from a string of armed robberies throughout Suffolk County.

“It is because of Officer Springer’s attention to the particulars of a routine call in his sector, his skill of questioning and his observation skills that led to the arrest of two men that were actively involved in armed robberies throughout Suffolk County,” Lt. Ginas said.

Officer Springer was honored Friday at the Southampton Kiwanis Club’s 48th annual East End Police Awards dinner at the Sea Star Ballroom at the Hyatt Place East End.

A 20-year veteran of the department, this is Officer Springer’s second time being honored at Police Officer of the Year. He and officer William Brewer were honored in 2015 for saving the life of a Cutchogue man who was overcome by carbon monoxide that June.

Lt. Ginas also presented Officer Springer with a proclamation on behalf of Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell “recognizing [his] outstanding work in this matter.”

“It’s excellent,” Officer Springer said Friday. “It’s a great honor … I was just kind of in the right place at the right time.”

Caption: Officer Ryan Springer with Lt. James Ginas at the Kiwanis Club dinner Friday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

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