Two SUNY Oneonta University Police officers will receive an international law enforcement association award for their heroism in rescuing an 81-year-old man who accidentally drove his car into a pond on campus last fall.
Sgt. Nathaniel Leonard and Officer Christopher Skovira have been selected to receive the annual Award for Valor given by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). The award will be presented in a ceremony on Saturday, June 16, at IACLEA’s annual conference in Reno, Nev.
On the evening of Nov. 10, 2011, Leonard and Skovira responded to a report that a car had plunged into the pond near the Hunt College Union. After hearing pounding from inside the sinking car, Leonard jumped into the pond with a baton and a flotation device and swam to the car, where he smashed the back window and pulled out the trapped motorist. While Leonard was in the water, Skovira untangled the rope attached to the flotation device and pulled the pair to safety.
Leonard experienced severe hypothermia from being in the near-freezing water. He was treated at the scene by the Oneonta Fire Department and taken to A.O. Fox Hospital, where he spent several hours. The victim was also treated for hypothermia.
The Award for Valor is presented annually to an employee of an IACLEA institutional member campus public safety, police or security department for an act or acts involving personal risk while acting on behalf of the institution or members of the campus community.
IACLEA provides educational resources, advocacy and professional development services to 1,200 colleges and universities in 20 countries. In addition to its institutional members, IACLEA has 2,000 individual memberships held by campus law enforcement staff, criminal justice faculty members and municipal chiefs of police.