ITHACA, N.Y. – A New York State Police trooper was named the recipient of this month’s Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month award for her involvement securing a violent domestic dispute last year in Dryden.

The Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga awarded Nicole Hines, who has been with the NYSP for two years, during a luncheon on Monday. Hines was accompanied by NYSP Captian Jeffrey VanAucken and Sgt. Nathan Phelps, along with several other members of local law enforcement.

VanAucken said Hines was awarded for her role in response to a domestic dispute and burgulary investigation in Dryden on March 14, 2016. Hines responded to a complaint of a physical domestic dispute between a male and a female on Lower Creek Rd. when more violence ensued. 

“While responding, it was reported that the male had a pistol and had fired shots before fleeing the scene in a vehicle,” VanAucken said.

Upon her arrival, Hines found that the suspect and the vehicle were both still present. Police say they later discovered that the female had fled from the male suspect into a neigboring apartment, when the suspect forced his way into the apartment and physically assaulted the homeowner. VanAucken said at some point during the dispute, the suspect went outside and fired a 9 mm pistol.

“Hines successfully contained the scene and surveilled his apartment,” VanAucken said. “The suspect suddenly emerged from the apartment and Hines took the suspect into custody with the assistance with the help of other troopers and officers from the sheriff’s office.”

An additional firearm was recovered after the suspect’s arrest, and it was later determined that the second pistol had been stolen from the state of Pennsylvania.

“Reading your nomination in written words doesn’t compare to what you have to go through when you’re responding to a scene that involves possibly violence or guns,” Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said. “From what I’ve read about what you were responding to – you’ve really had an impact on something much larger than what you dealt with on that day.”

VanAucken said that Hines was also being recognized for her assignment on the case of an armed robbery home invasion in 2016. He said since the case is still pending in court, details were not shared in Hines’ nomination.

“These are two exampes of the violent and dangerous complaints that police officers respond to every day,” VanAucken said. “Trooper Hines responded fearlessly to these complaints and led them to a successful ocnclusion.”

When Hines acceped her award, presented by Mimi Melegrito, president of the Kiwanis Club, she was quick to thank her co-workers for their help in the case.

This job is made and built on teamwork…without all the people who came with me, it would have been impossible to get this guy out of the house – it’s weird to recieve (the award) on my own,” Hines said. “We do this every day – it’s just a job for us.”

Featured image: From left, NYSP Captian Jeffrey VanAucken, Trooper Nicole Hines, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia and Kiwanis President Mimi Melegrito. Alyvia Covert/Ithaca Voice

Alyvia Covert

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