December 21, 2023
232 New York State Troopers graduated from the 213th session of the basic school of the New York State Police Academy.
The ceremony was held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, NY. Thursday’s graduation increases the state police ranks to 4,781 sworn members. For the next 10 weeks, the new troopers will be evaluated under a training program supervised by senior field training officers.
“Today marks another significant moment in the proud history of the New York State Police,” New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento added. “The graduation ceremony is one of our finest traditions and introduces a new generation of highly trained Troopers, who will serve the citizens of the State of New York with honor and integrity.
“They have endured months of intense training both within and outside the classroom and have earned their place in our ranks. I am proud to welcome these graduates to the most prestigious and well-respected law enforcement agency in the nation.”
The new Troopers will report for field duty on Dec. 27. For the following 10 weeks, the new Troopers will be evaluated under a field-training program supervised by senior Field Training Officers.
In addition to honoring all graduates from the 213th Session of Basic School, Acting Superintendent Chiumento presented the following awards:
Academic Achievement Award
As a special incentive for all students attending the State Police Academy Basic School, the Superintendent sponsors the awarding of a firearm for the attainment of the highest level of academic performance during Academy training. The winner of the Academic Achievement Award is Trooper Mark J. Novello, a 24-year-old resident of Astoria, New York.
He is a graduate of Adelphi University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Prior to joining the New York State Police as a Trooper, he was a Police Officer with the New York City Police Department for 2 years. Throughout the Academy training program, he achieved an outstanding overall academic average of 97.23 percent. He will be assigned to Troop K.
Firearms Proficiency Award
The New York State Trooper Foundation has sponsored the awarding of a firearm for the attainment of the highest level of performance in all phases of firearms training.
The winner of the Superintendent’s Firearms Proficiency Award is Trooper David A. Heath, age 25, of Central Square, New York. Prior to joining the New York State Police, he was a Deputy with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office for 4 years. During firearms training, he fired an average score of 250 out of a possible 250. He will be assigned to Troop D.
Investigator Joseph T. Aversa Physical Fitness Award
The New York State Police Investigators Association has sponsored the awarding of a firearm for the attainment of the highest degree of physical fitness during the Physical Training Program at the Academy.
This award will be presented in memory of deceased Investigator Joseph Aversa. Investigator Aversa made the ultimate sacrifice in New York City on March 5, 1990, during a narcotics investigation while serving as a member of the Joint Drug Enforcement Task Force. Investigator Aversa was a six-year State Police veteran who believed that physical conditioning was an integral part of being a Trooper.
The recipient of this Award is Trooper Paul R. Tripi, who resides in Cheektowaga, New York. He is a graduate of Wheeling University with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. During the physical agility testing, he achieved the highest score of all 232 members of the 213th Session, a tribute to his superb physical conditioning. He will be assigned to Troop A.
The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has sponsored the awarding of a firearm to the member of the class who is selected by his or her peers to represent them during these exercises. The PBA presents the award in memory of Trooper John J. McKenna IV, who was killed in action in 2006, while serving his country as a Marine in Iraq.
The recipient of this Award is Trooper Kevin J. Knightes, age 32, who resides in Schenectady, New York. He is a graduate of Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in Middle East Studies. Prior to joining the New York State Police, he worked at Rotterdam Police Department for 4 years and served in the United States military for 12 years. He will be assigned to Troop G.