Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Middletown Police Department Officer Evan Barone is the recipient of the New York State Police Officer Medal of Valor for demonstrating exceptional courage and bravery in service to his community. Officer Barone was on routine patrol when he was flagged down by a woman whose ex-boyfriend refused to leave her home. Seconds after stopping to help, Officer Barone was shot and despite being seriously wounded, he fired back, struck his assailant, and protected the woman, several children and other adults who witnessed the unprovoked attack. He is the first officer from the Middletown Police Department to be recognized with the award, also known as the Governor’s Police Officer of the Year Award.
“Despite being seriously wounded, Officer Barone demonstrated exceptional bravery by putting himself in harm’s way to keep New Yorkers safe,” Governor Hochul said. “His quick-thinking and swift action prevented anyone else from being harmed by the gunman. We honor him for his courage and service, and we also commend the thousands of police officers who work tirelessly to protect New Yorkers in communities across the state.”
“Middletown Police Officer Evan Barone exemplifies what it means to be a police officer, which is why he is being awarded the New York State Police Officer Medal of Valor,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “For demonstrating exceptional courage and unflappable bravery in the face of grave danger, Officer Barone is well deserving of this award, and I thank him and his fellow officers from the Middletown Police Department for their service to this community.”
Lieutenant Governor Delgado presented the award to Officer Barone this morning on Governor Hochul’s behalf during a ceremony at the Paramount Theatre in Middletown. The incident for which the office was honored occurred on August 29, 2020, and last month, a judge sentenced the individual responsible for the attack to 58½ years to life in prison. In nominating Officer Barone for the 2020 award, the Middletown Police Department provided the following account of the incident:
Officer Barone was on routine patrol as part of the department’s Neighborhood Enhancement Unit, when he was flagged down by a woman outside of her home. He stopped, got out of his marked patrol vehicle, and spoke with her. The woman told Officer Barone that her ex-boyfriend was inside her home, armed with a gun and refused to leave. As the woman talked with Officer Barone, her ex-boyfriend burst through the front door of the home and onto the porch, firing a 9mm handgun. A bullet struck the officer’s left forearm and lodged in his body armor.
Despite being seriously injured, Officer Barone returned fire and hit his assailant multiple times. He then secured custody of the gunman, protecting the woman with whom he was speaking and several children and adults nearby. Officer Barone then radioed for help, applied a tourniquet to his own wound to control the bleeding and waited for medical assistance.
Officer Barone, who is 28, recently marked his fifth year of service with the Middletown Police Department. Members of his family and police colleagues joined him at the ceremony, along with local and state elected officials and law enforcement professionals from the region.
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, “I am honored to join Lieutenant Governor Delgado in presenting this award on behalf of Governor Hochul. Officer Evan Barone’s selfless act reminds us that our officers put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniforms and that they are willing to make that sacrifice for us. We thank him and his colleagues for all they do for Middletown and New York.”
DCJS coordinates the work of the award selection committee, members of which represent law enforcement agencies and police union leadership. The committee considered nominations of 30 officers from eight police departments and two sheriffs’ offices before selecting Officer Barone for the recognition. Since its inception in 1984, the award has been presented to 122 officers from 21 different agencies since its inception.
State Senator James Skoufis said, “I want to congratulate Officer Barone on this well-deserved recognition, and thank him from the bottom of my heart for his unparalleled bravery in service to the Middletown community. This young man is an exemplary officer. His efforts to protect and serve, even after sustaining a bullet wound himself, should be celebrated throughout his long career ahead. The City of Middletown Police and its officers have my unwavering support in their work to strengthen public safety.”
Assemblymember Aileen M. Gunther said, “I am proud to congratulate Officer Evan Barone on being named the 2020 New York State Police Officer of the Year. His selfless and courageous deeds saved the lives of many civilians, and bystanders. He displayed a truly virtuous and selfless service to those he is sworn to protect in the City of Middletown. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor and I am so proud to represent Officer Barone, and all the brave law enforcement officers throughout my district. Congratulations.”
Middletown Mayor Joseph M. DeStefano said, “Middletown is home to an exceptional group of New Yorkers and Officer Evan Barone represents the best of the best. We are proud to have him among our ranks, not only as an officer of the law, but as a member of our community. I want to thank Officer Barone and his family for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe, as well as Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Delgado for recognizing Officer Barone’s valiant act.”
Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw said, “After Officer Barone was seriously injured, the Middletown Police Department received an overwhelming amount of support from our community and our law enforcement partners. Officer Barone’s heroism and bravery in the face of grave danger is a testament to the outstanding level of courage and commitment that police officers exhibit when serving their communities. I am eternally grateful that Officer Barone drew upon his training and experience to quickly incapacitate a deadly threat to himself and innocent bystanders. We will always remember his sacrifice and dedication to the residents of our city.”
All 29 officers nominated but not selected for the 2020 Police Officer of the Year Award receive Certificates of Exceptional Valor from Governor Hochul. DCJS is now accepting nominations for the 2021 award. Police departments and sheriffs’ offices must submit their nominations to the agency by Friday, December 30, 2022.
About the Division of Criminal Justice Services
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency and has a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry. Follow the agency on Twitter and Facebook.