Shelter Island Police Officer Kevin Springer, a 10-year member of the department, was named Shelter Island’s “Officer of the Year” Friday for his work that led to the arrest of four men wanted in an armed home invasion.
The award was given to Officer Springer by Sgt. Terrence LeGrady at Friday’s Annual Police Awards Ceremony, which is presented by the Southampton Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis started the awards 50 years ago, initially honoring Southampton officers, but the ceremony has expanded over the years to include all East End departments.
Officer Springer was given the award in part due to his actions on Dec. 15, 2018, according to Sgt. LeGrady.
“Officer Springer responded to a call of an armed home invasion,” Sgt. LeGrady said. “Upon his arrival, the suspects had already fled the scene and Officer Springer immediately began calming and interviewing the victim. The victim reported there were multiple suspects wearing ski masks and dressed all in black, and armed with guns, knives and a crowbar. They broke in to her residence and demanded money while putting a gun to her head and chest.”
After calling for additional officers and notifying dispatch with a description of the suspects, Officer Springer noticed a cell phone lying on the floor near where the crime took place. The phone didn’t belong to the victim or her son, so Officer Springer determined it must have belonged to one of the suspects, since they had taken the victim’s phone, according to Sgt. LeGrady.
Police were able to track the suspects by using the “find my phone” app on the victim’s account. Officer Springer realized he had been to this residence on a prior call of a specific person asking for money. The officer had written down the plate number for an unknown car parked in the driveway at that time, Sgt. LeGrady said.
That same vehicle, with the same plate number, was later stopped at a location in Yonkers and local police were notified.
Three of the suspects were arrested without incident, and a fourth was taken into custody in early 2019, Sgt. LeGrady said.
Officer Springer also was involved in two other cases that were mentioned Friday.
In one, the women was in the shower when her ex-boyfriend came into her home without permission and proceeded to sexually abuse, assault and strangle her, before fleeing the area.
Officer Springer arrived and searched the area, along with a police dog and other officers, for two hours before locating and arresting the suspect, who had a lengthy criminal history.
The other incident took place on Thanksgiving night when police got a call from another agency about an elderly, suicidal woman whose phone was pinging in the vicinity of Shelter Island Sound, Sgt. LeGrady said.
Officer Springer searched the beach in heavy winds and low temperatures before finding the woman in a vacant storage unit.
The woman looked confused and freezing and attempted to cover herself with newspapers, Sgt. LeGrady said.
She was then transported to a hospital.
“Her life was in jeopardy,” he said. “Officer Springer, like he does so often, went above and beyond to locate these individuals I’ve mentioned.”