Ithaca, N.Y. — Soon after James Moscato graduated college he realized he wanted to be in law enforcement.

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But a state police hiring freeze complicated his plans. He had to wait over five years for his chance, working at a “cube farm … in middle management.”

“It wasn’t too bad, but it was mundane and unfulfilling,” Moscato said.

Moscato got his break and quickly joined the state police when the hiring freeze ended. And on Monday, only about a year after he was assigned to the state police barracks in Ithaca, now-Trooper Moscato was honored by the Kiwanis Club at Kendal of Ithaca as the officer of the month.

“I didn’t nominate him based on a single arrest but for his overall performance,” said Sgt. Michael Soroka. “Trooper Moscato has distinguished himself as a dedicated, hardworking member of the state police.”

Among the accomplishments Soroka listed were the total 58 arrests the trooper had made, including nine felony arrests and 10 DWIs busts.

“As a new trooper he’s entitled to request transfer back home but he’s decided to permanently relocate his family to Tompkins County,” Soroka said, noting that Moscato had grown up in Buffalo.

“No matter what job you go to there are people who are there who want to excel. There are people who are ordinary workers, and there are people who want to excel. And he works really hard.”

That might be in part because Moscato had to wait to get his break.

“I bided my time working an office job for about 6 years. It was a good job but it was not as rewarding as this job,” Moscato said.

Moscato is now able, he said, to find something new every day — to be outside and engaging with people, making arrests and helping citizens who need assistance.

“Obviously being recognized for your achievements is good,” Moscato said, “but the the rewards are also in the day-to-day.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.