Cornell Police, civilians and K9s honored at ceremony

Cornell University Police officers – both human and canine – were honored July 20 during the department’s first commissioning ceremony since 2019 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officers were promoted to the ranks of deputy chief, lieutenant and sergeant, and five new officers were sworn in during the event in the Statler Ballroom.

Lt. Jeffery Montesano’s wife, Maria, fixes his pin while he holds their grandson at the ceremony.

Though many officers have been serving in their new roles for more than two years, the ceremony was the first opportunity to publicly acknowledge new and promoted officers since the pandemic began.

Chief David Honan presided over the event, which featured awards and honors for both officers and civilians, and recognized the promotion of former lieutenants Anthony Bellamy and Jeffery Montesano to the rank of deputy chief. Bellamy and Montesano, 17- and 22-year veterans of the Cornell Police, respectively, have both been serving in their deputy chief capacities since April 2019.

Former Sgt. Joseph Canzano, who joined the department in 2004, was promoted to lieutenant in June 2019.

Officers Justin Haines and Kyle Sandy were promoted to sergeant in 2019; Officer Kyle Hollenbeck was promoted to sergeant in 2020.

“As the first and most direct level of leadership, a sergeant is responsible for positive direction, mentorship and guidance to our patrol officers,” Honan said, as family members pinned the officers’ badges to their uniforms. “It is the sergeant’s responsibility to ensure the consistent, seamless delivery of police services to the community.”

Five new officers were sworn in: Elizabeth Starr, Jackie Cito, Bryant Winans, Aaron Thompson and Michal Hartnett. They were selected from hundreds of applicants and underwent rigorous evaluations of physical abilities, communication skills and suitability for campus patrol, Honan said.

Jackie Cito is pinned as a new CUPD officer.

Starr joined the Cornell Police in 2018. Cito and Winans were appointed in 2019; Hartnett and Thompson joined in 2020.

Another new member of the department, Luna, a German shorthaired pointer handled by Haines, was also recognized during the ceremony. Luna is trained in explosive detection and at 8 months old is the youngest K9 in Cornell Police history to obtain this certification.

The ceremony also honored retiring police dog Chase, who was a member of the explosive detection team for more than eight years and participated in 245 canine details for events ranging from visits from dignitaries to concerts. Chase, a yellow Lab handled by Haines, will join the Haines family as a pet.

New this year, Honan also recognized officers, staff and civilians with a series of awards for acts of public service and bravery.

Honan praised a group of Cornell Police officers and staff and Environment, Health and Safety staff who earlier this year received the Teamwork Award for their work to safely and effectively secure the scene as a fire alarm went off at Day Hall during a burglary and arson.

Luna, a German shorthaired pointer trained in explosive detection and the youngest K9 in Cornell Police history to obtain this certification, was recognized with a pin during the ceremony.

Deputy Chief Jeffery Montesano, Sgt. Eric Stickel and Sgt. Scott Salino were honored with the Director’s Citation, awarded to an officer for “outstanding performance of duties under unusual, complicated or hazardous conditions,” for assisting a fellow officer during a life-threatening medical emergency.

Honan also recognized six members of the Ithaca community including Cornell students Alexander Chung ’21, Anjan Mani ’23 and Felipe Santamaria ’23 for rescuing a fisherman from freezing waters at Taughannock Falls State Park in March, and three members of the DeNardis family – Ann, Stefanie and Julia MBA ’21 – for assisting a stranded child near Flat Rock in Fall Creek in June.

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