ITHACA, N.Y.– The Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga has named Investigator Ryan Smith the recipient of this month’s Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award.

Smith grew up in the Southern Tier, and joined the New York State Police immediately after graduation from the police academy. This January will mark his 15 year anniversary with the NYSP.

In Sept. 2012, Smith was promoted from trooper to an investigator in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Senior Investigator Rick Haas, Smith’s current supervisor, said it was at this point he became more familiar with Smith and his work as a trooper.  

“(I became) aware of his talents and abilities as a police officer, including his ability to easily interact with and interview people,” Haas said in his nomination speech.

Investigator Smith was nominated for the award after his work on a case in Enfield, which began in Jan. 2016 after an attempted robbery became violent. Haas said that on Jan. 3, three men attempted to rob a local business owner on Sheffield Road in Enfield. Haas said the victim was pepper sprayed and physically attacked, while the robbers fled the scene.

Smith was appointed to the case and was called in to interview one of the suspects who was found hiding underneath a nearby deck. Haas said Smith worked throughout the night to find the second suspect, and throughout the following month the locate the third.

“Investigator Smith’s skill, tenacity and professionalism resulted in a successful investigation, arrest and prosecution of this violent crime,” Haas said.

Mimi Melegrito, president of the Kiwanis Club, said the club has been appointing the Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award every month since 1987. Melegrito said that even though the club is the only Kiwanis Club that holds a monthly recognition, that “once a month feels like nothing.” 

Smith said in closing remarks, after giving his thanks to various members of law enforcement that, like all good cases, this one took a lot of time and effort, the success which he attributes to a team effort.

“I was really surprised, I wasn’t expecting to be receiving an award for doing my daily job,” Smith said. “Some days are more rewarding than others – the more rewarding days are when I can solve a case and bring it to a successful conclusion, especially when it helps the victim and keeps them safe.”

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.