Sergeant Jay Cook
New York State Police
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Sergeant Jay Cook, of the New York State Police, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for November 2015.
On June 6, two prisoners escaped from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. The escape initiated a massive weeks-long manhunt with multiple law enforcement agencies involved in the search.
Later, on June 28, 2015, Sergeant Cook was patrolling alone in Constable, New York, when he spotted a man jogging alongside the road. Sergeant Cook exited his patrol car and attempted to speak with the jogger, who proceeded to ignore him and began to flee. Sergeant Cook recognized the man as David Sweat, one of the fugitives who had escaped from the maximum security prison.
The sergeant pursued the fugitive on foot into a field two miles away from the Canadian border when he noticed the suspect running towards a tree line. Concerned that the suspect would escape from his view into the densely forested terrain, Sergeant Cook fired two shots from his weapon, striking the fugitive twice in the torso.
Immediately apprehending the fugitive, Sergeant Cook ended the manhunt that lasted nearly three weeks and involved over 1,300 law enforcement officers. Sweat was serving a life sentence for shooting Deputy Sheriff Kevin Tarsla of the Broome County (NY) Sheriff’s Office. Sweat shot Deputy Sheriff Tarsla 15 times and then ran him over with a vehicle on July 4, 2002.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said, “Sgt. Cook happened to be from Troop B, which is this area, so he knew the area very well. But he was still alone and it was a very courageous act.”
“Sergeant Cook did an excellent job. He realized Sweat was going to make it to a tree line, and possibly could have disappeared—and he fired two shots from his service weapon,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico told reporters.
“Sergeant Cook’s recognition of the fugitive and his quick response in apprehending the suspect were integral to capturing a cop-killer and securing a community that had been on high alert,” said Memorial Fund Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd. “His brave actions are deserving of our 2015 November Officer of the Month Award.”
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.