TRA 2017 Police Awards Recipient
Police Officer Edward Gomez of the prestigious Canine Section since 2005 has been a Suffolk County Police Officer for 29 years. His first 18 years were spent as an active Fifth Precinct patrol officer in the Mastic area. In September 2014 Officer Gomez sought medical treatment for an ongoing sore throat initially thought to be a drug resistant infection. Specialists diagnosed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a physical and psychological challenge far beyond a throat infection. Aggressive chemotherapy lasted 18 weeks and during that time he was under strict orders to refrain from active duty. Refusing offers of help in caring for his dog, Officer Gomez kept his 80 pound police canine “Hunter” at his house and continued to care for and train him in order to maintain their high level of proficiency as a canine team.
Despite the physically demanding nature of the job, he returned to work with “Hunter” in July 2015, months earlier than anticipated by his physician. Officer Gomez successfully completed a rigorous 3-week refresher training course for recertification by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services allowing him to return to daily patrol work. It was clear that Officer Gomez had maintained “Hunter” at a high level of performance while he was recuperating at home.
In December 2016 Officer Gomez was tracking a suspect through a backyard when he slipped on a ramp to a shed and fell, landing on his shoulder, causing a traumatic tear to his rotator cuff and ligaments in his shoulder. He was unable to lift his arm more than a few inches. Officer Gomez underwent surgery two weeks later followed by a rigorous physical therapy regimen. He returned to work in April 2017, once again well ahead of expectations.
Officer Gomez’s easy going nature, perpetual smile, sense of humor, and infectious laugh put all around him at ease. His positive attitude and consistent dedication to duty even in the face of personal adversity and his successful return to active duty after overcoming two serious medical conditions embody the qualities of an officer deserving the Theodore Roosevelt® Police Award.
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