New York City Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton honored 47 members of the NYPD Tuesday for exceptional service and bravery.
At the 2014 Medal Day Ceremony, friends and family joined men and women in uniform. They gathered to celebrate the achievements of the NYPD. Mayor de Blasio said each of the 47 award recipients had an inspiring story of bravery.
"They did the things that every-day people can only look at with awe and admire," de Blasio said at the ceremony, "staring down the barrel of a gun and still fighting back."
One such officer is Juan Pichardo, who received one of 12 Medals for Valor. He was off duty when he overcame two car dealership robbers who tied his wrists and held a gun to his head. During a struggle for the gun, Pichardo was shot in the leg, but kept the gunman in the store until police arrived. Pichardo said he's thankful.
"I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad to be here," Pichardo said.
The Medal for Valor is the department's third highest award. The Police Combat Cross, which is the department's second highest award was given to 11 officers.
Twelve fallen officers were also given the Distinguished Service Medal and were added to the "Wall of Heroes" for their service during 9/11. They all died of illnesses developed during search and recovery efforts.
"They all selflessly braved the thick clouds of smoke and toxic dusk," de Blasio said. "Whatever was thrown at them, they kept working. And we'll always remember their valor and the sacrifice they made."
Traffic enforcement agent, Kalyanarthe Ranasinghe, was also given the Police Commissioner's Award posthumously, the police department's highest civilian honor.
There were also 11 unit citations, which acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of specific units within the NYPD.