County Legislature honors Mineola resident as ‘Top Cop’

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Sgt. Connolly, pictured with his family, was honored a "Top Cop" for answering an off-duty call in New Hyde Park. (Photo courtesy of Office of Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello)

The Nassau County Legislature honored county police Sgt. Robert Connolly of Mineola as a “Top Cop” Monday for making an off-duty arrest.

The ceremony was in response to Connolly’s intervening in a domestic situation in New Hyde Park this month.

Connolly, a member of the county Police Department’s Homeland Security Unit, was driving home from teaching a seminar on active shooter scenarios at Franklin Hospital when he heard a call about a woman being attacked by a male suspect.

Connolly said in an interview that he always has the police radio on: “I am a cop at heart. I listen to the radio.”  He learned on the radio that the scenario was a “heavy call” and that his help was ultimately needed.

Traveling down New Hyde Park Road, Connolly spotted the suspect’s vehicle and, using his own vehicle to block an escape, he pulled the car over. Having heard on the radio that the suspect had a gun, he had to prepare quickly. Connolly, who was still wearing his Class A uniform from the seminar he had taught, put a bulletproof vest over his shirt and tie.

Connolly retrieved a loaded handgun from the blocked vehicle and the suspect was arrested.

The “Top Cops” ceremony is a monthly occurrence for the County Legislature. Candidates are chosen by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the Nassau County Police Detectives’ Association and the Nassau County Police Superior Officers Association.

Connolly said of the ceremony, “it’s exciting for me and my family.” The officer said his unit was also at the ceremony and is like another family.

Connolly has been in the Nassau County Police Department since 2004. He started in the 3rd Precinct, then went to the 5th Precinct and is now a sergeant in the Homeland Security unit.

He said the unit’s major priorities are ensuring safety for houses of worship, schools and public places, and preventing acts of terrorism and active shooter scenarios.

Connolly, also chief of the Mineola Fire Department, said: “I’m a big advocate for service. A great community is people who give back.”

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