Police Officers Robert Aldas and William Asencio received the distinction during the latest 49th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, June 24.
Executive Commander Captain Linda Rock praised the partners’ valor and heroism, as Alexis Grenell, a representative for Senator Jeff Klein, who sponsors the awards, presented each officer with a certificate of merit.
While patrolling around Columbus High School on Astor Avenue, Aldas and Asencio responded to a robbery in progress with a gun.
“When the call came over the radio, we were just around the corner,” Asencio said. “We parked the car on Boston Road, and started to run toward the store, still thinking there was a gun involved.”
The partners ran across White Plains Road under the elevated tracks to the location of the robbery, at a bodega at Olinville Avenue and Thwaits Place.
“We scoped out the place, and people around said the person was still inside,” Aldas said.
The perpetrator was fighting with the owner on the staff side of the counter. The officers promptly cuffed and arrested the individual.
After the arrest, the owner of the store explained what happened, noting that the unidentified perpetrator had demanded money, and when the shopkeeper didn’t respond fast enough, the thief decided to jump over the cash register and take the loot.
Aldas commented that it was rare be so close when a call comes in, and to be so lucky that no one got hurt and there was no gun actually involved.
“We feel good that we caught the guy,” Aldas said, who said he has made other arrests, but never received this kind of honor.
The five-year veteran of the force had the pleasure of his wife’s attendance at the ceremony, who was busting with pride.
“She was excited, and was on phone to the whole family when I told her I won,” Aldas exclaimed.
Asencio shared in his partner’s pride and noted that the award shows the good work that police officers do regularly.
“It feels good to get a pat on the back when u do a good job because a lot of people forget what we do these days,” he said. “We’re out here to help people.”