New York Dept. Names Utica Cop
As New York Officer of the Year.

JULY 25, 2910 -- Scott Berger, a Utica cop who dashed into a burning James Street building last September to evacuate residents, has been named New York’s Police Officer of the Year by the New York Department of the American Legion.

Mike Bowen
Officer Scott Bergern

Berger was the officer in charge when he and rookie Mike Petrie rushed to get occupants to safety in the 1:37 a.m. blaze that left four people dead. Eighteen people lived in the building.

Berger was nominated for the state-wide award by Utica Post 229, which honored both officers last April. He accepted the award during the New York Department’s recent Annual Convention in Syracuse, simply noting that he was just doing his job.

“If it weren’t for these two officers running into the building, full of smoke and flames, and getting people out, the death toll would have been much greater,” Police Chief Mark Williams had said at Utica Post’s awards presentation.

Paul Wojcik, the post’s law-and-order chair, joined New York Department Law-and-Order Chair Charles Hill in honoring Berger before hundreds of Legionnaires from around the state.  Wojcik noted that Berger and Petrie also were named Oneida County and 5th District Police Officers of the Year.

Post 229 honors top firefighters every fall and top cops in the spring.