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Local NYSP Investigator named Officer of the Year

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

An investigator with State Police in Herkimer has been named Officer of the Year by the American Legion.

The 95th American Legion Convention opened Thursday afternoon with greetings from local officials and then featured resolutions, reports and a number of top awards.

The American Legion National Law Enforcement Officer of the year was awarded to Benjamin F. Scalise Jr., an investigator with the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Herkimer.

During the latter part of 2011 and into 2012, Scalise investigated a robbery at Dari-Del Convenient store in the Town of Schuyler. After interviewing over 50 individuals, viewing video footage from an establishment across the street from the robbery, and following up leads, Scalise tracked the robbers to Pennsylvania and then Virginia.

Due to his refusal to give up on the case, both suspects, along with a female accomplice, are serving lengthy state prison sentences. Further investigation revealed their involvement in other unsolved cases - the suspects stole a pocketbook from an elderly woman, knocking her to the ground, at the North Utica Price Chopper, and broke down the door at the home of a World War II veteran in the Town of Herkimer, threatening him with a knife.

Scalise is a retired Army National Guard first sergeant who did a combat tour in Iraq. He is also a volunteer State Police Veterans Assistance Counselor and has been involved with the Central New York Veterans Outreach Center in Utica.

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