ALBANY — Trooper Nicholas F. Clark was nominated by New York State Police as the agency's Officer of the Year, the governor's office said Monday in announcing Police Officer of the Year recipients. 

On July 2, 2018, Trooper Clark, other Troopers and personnel from the Steuben County Sheriff's Office and Corning Police Department responded to a report of a possibly suicidal individual in the town of Erwin. Working together, the officers established a perimeter and attempted to contact the individual, who began shooting at Trooper Clark and a Sheriff's Deputy. Trooper Clark was struck by several rounds of buckshot and died from his injuries.

Clark, a graduate of Canisteo-Greenwood and Alfred University, has been honored in numerous ways since his passing, with scholarships and community memorials in tribute to his service. Most recently, troopers at the State Police Bath Barracks gathered in August to dedicate the Trooper Nicholas Clark Memorial Bridge on a designated section of Interstate Highway 86.

Three members of the Syracuse Police Department are the recipients of the New York State Police Officer of the Year Award. Lieutenant James Milana, Officer Victoria Losurdo and Officer Travis Rheinheimer were honored for their apprehension of a gunman who shot at Lieutenant Milana - the bullet struck his vehicle's windshield near his head - and continued firing at him and the other officers after they responded to a call of an individual with a gun on Feb. 4, 2018.

Eight other agencies nominated officers for the award, including State Police. The nominees or their families will receive a Certificate of Exceptional Valor from Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

In nominating the three officers for the 2018 award, Syracuse Police provided the following account of the events that unfolded on Feb. 4, 2018:

"Officer Losurdo was the first to respond to a call for a man with a gun on South Salina Street near West Calthrop Avenue. She saw an individual who looked as if he was holding something in his waistband and ordered him to stop and show his hands. He refused. While Officer Losurdo engaged with the individual, Lieutenant Milana, who was the Third Platoon sergeant at the time, arrived. He stopped his patrol vehicle a few yards north of where the individual was standing, idling it between the man and Officer Losurdo.

"Before Lieutenant Milana got out of the vehicle, the gunman pulled a semi-automatic pistol from his waistband and fired several shots at him. The bullets struck the vehicle's hood and windshield, close to Lieutenant Milana's head. The individual then ran across South Salina Street toward a nearby ramp to I-81, firing over his shoulder at Lieutenant Milana and Officer Losurdo, who returned fire. Officer Travis Rheinheimer arrived on scene to assist his fellow officers. The individual, who was shot at least once, continued to flee, discarding his firearm, leaping over a fence and attempting to hide before other officers took him into custody. The assailant, later identified as Leon Thomas, pleaded guilty to attempted murder earlier this year and is serving a 23-year prison sentence."

The Police Officer of the Year Award was first presented in 1984 and recognizes a single police officer or team of officers for an exceptional act of valor symbolizing the service of police in New York State. Since the award's inception, the Selection Committee has chosen 120 officers from 19 agencies for the honor. Of those police, 69 have been honored posthumously, including 23 officers from the New York City Police Department and 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department killed during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.