Ithaca, N.Y. — Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson and Ithaca College Officer Eric Willman were named the area’s officers of the month in a ceremony on Monday at Kendal of Ithaca.

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A few dozen law enforcement officials attended the event, which is hosted by the Kiwanis Club.

Police Chief John Barber spoke highly of Officer Williamson, calling him “the face of the IPD,” a hard-worker, clear communicator and overall excellent cop. (Williamson is the IPD’s spokesperson.)

Officer Williamson poses with his award
Officer Williamson poses with his award

Here are some of Williamson’s accomplishments, as relayed at the event:

April 2002: A young kid named Jacob Beardsley was drowning in a river in Cortland. He was floating face down.

Officer Williamson and a volunteer firefighter jumped into the water. They swam Beardsley to the other side of the river, started CPR and an ambulance arrived. Beardsley survived.

April 2010: A girl was struggling in one of the creeks off of South Titus Avenue. The creek was “much higher than usual,” Williamson said at the event on Monday.

“She wasn’t going to make it out of the creek bed,” Williamson recalled.

Williamson threw her a floating device and pulled her to safety, up out of the creek bed six feet down.

“Officers held onto my legs, and I reached down and was able to pull her out of the water,” Williamson said.

June 20, 2014: Officer Williamson is one of the first to get to the Simeon’s crash.

He helped secure the scene on what Mayor Myrick would later call one of the darkest days in the city’s history. He later briefed the media.

Williamson at the Simeon's crash.
Williamson at the Simeon’s crash.

August 14, 2014: Officer Williamson saves a kitten trapped six feet below a storm drain by borrowing a nearby woman’s purse and using a string to create a makeshift bucket.

The rescue took about 15 minutes and the kitten was saved. The Syracuse Post-Standard called it a “MacGyver display of ingenuity.”


Beyond the heroics, Officer Williamson has significantly improved the Ithaca Police Department’s communication with the public and media as its public information officer, Chief Barber said.

“Since being appointed (PIO), Jamie has done an outstanding job improving the transparency of our organization by providing clear and effective communication,” Chief Barber said.

Barber cited quick responses to reporters and members of Common Council as examples of Williamson’s diligence as a PIO.

Williamson was also praised for running the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages and for routinely uploading crime and activity logs to the IPD website. Additionally, when Williamson gets “data-driven” requests, Chief Barber noted, he’ll conduct and compile the research himself.

“He epitomizes the professionalism we aim to achieve each and every day, and I’m honored to be able to work closely with him,” Chief Barber said.

“He’s the type of guy that’s highly reliable and always gets the job done.”

Officer Eric Willman

Also recognized at the event was Officer Eric Willman of Ithaca College.

Officer Willman was nominated for the award by his peers, said Terri Stewart, director and chief of IC’s Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management.

Despite only recently being hired by IC, Officer Willman has compiled 6 DWI arrests, 11 criminal arrests and written 105 incident reports, according to Stewart. “That’s a lot of writing and investigating,” she said.

“Eric has been an amazing asset to the Office of Public Safety and Management,” she said. “Eric is an integral member of our office.”

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