72nd Precinct cops honored for Sandy water rescue

December 21, 2012 Denise Romano
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Four police officers from the 72nd Precinct were honored on December 11 for rescuing a security guard from flood waters caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Captain James Grant, commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct explained at the Community Council monthly meeting that on Monday, October 29 at about 10:30 p.m., a call went out over the police radio to help a security guard, Ronald Jefferson, stationed at the federal prison on Second Avenue and 29th Street. The storm surge came in so fast that the guard in his booth on the dock barely realized that the water would be up to his neck if he left his post.

Four officers on patrol received the call: Police Officers Brian Contratto, Isaac Klein, Jean Duliepre and Francis Ghanney and responded to the job, realizing that he was trapped.

“The officers removed their guns, safety belts, ballistic vests and shirts and walked to the dock [arm in arm] and helped him to Third Avenue to safety,” Grant explained.

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Wading through chest-high water, Ghanney and Duliepre secured a rope to a fire hydrant near the scene so that Contratto and Klein would not get washed away. Klein secured a second rope that held the “life ring” to the first rope. As Klein made sure the two ropes did not untie, Contratto waded out to the loading platform with the life ring to rescue Jefferson. Once Contratto secured Jefferson, Klein, Duliepre and Ghanney pulled them both to safety.

When Harbor Unit assistance arrived, they saw that the officers had already brought Jefferson to safety. When they arrived back at the stationhouse, they changed their wet uniforms and returned to their beat.

“This was a heroic act. Acting in the nick of time, they saved a life and that is why they are being honored as Cops of the Month.”

The 72nd Precinct has more to be proud of. Crime is down 7.5 percent for the year. Robberies have decreased by two percent, felony assaults by one percent, burglaries by 10.5 percent and grand larcenies by one percent.

“I can’t say enough about this,” commented Grant, who is approaching his one-year anniversary as commanding officer. “We have had a successful year. I want to recognize and excellent job of not only the members of the precinct, but the community of the 72.”

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