ITHACA, N.Y. — An investigator from the Ithaca Police Department was honored this month for his recent work on difficult cases.

The Kiwanis Club of Ithaca-Cayuga presented Investigator Kevin McKenna with the Frank G. Hammer Officer of the Month Award on Monday. McKenna has been with the department since 2000 and said he has been an investigator since 2009. He was recognized Monday for his part investigating some major cases, including a murder trial in the fall.

“Over the years, Kevin’s been dedicated,” Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello said.

Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler and District Attorney Matthew Van Houten both noted that 2017 was one of the busiest years for local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office, with multiple murder trials.

Related: Kiwanis Club honors Ithaca Fire Department for service to community

McKenna worked on the case of Anthony Nazaire, an Ithaca College student who was killed in August 2016. In November, Nagee Green was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of Nazaire and stabbing of another student.

Monticello said McKenna was key in that case as an investigator, witness in the trial and as an advocate for the surviving student that was stabbed.

McKenna’s strength, Van Houten said, is in “good-old fashioned police work.” He said McKenna testified twice in the Nagee Green case and has also been helpful in other trials.

“He was without question, the star witness and his testimony was really critical to coming home with the conviction in that second trial,” Van Houten said.

Monticello also mentioned McKenna was helpful in a recent case, but declined to comment on the details yet.

The award was presented at Kendal at Ithaca, with members from several different local law enforcement agencies present. McKenna thanked everyone for being nominated and said though he is the one being recognized today, the cases did not get closed alone. He said inter-agency cooperation is at an “all-time high.”

“I appreciate the fact that I’m getting recognized, but we all worked our butts off in one way or another for hours on end, and that’s what teamwork is and I hope that can continue,” McKenna said.

Featured image: From left, Ithaca Police Chief Pete Tyler, Kiwanis President Mimi Melegrito, Erin McKenna, Inv. Kevin McKenna, District Attorney Matthew Van Houten and Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello. (Kelsey O’Connor/The Ithaca Voice)

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.