LaborPress held its Labor Leadership Awards In Law Enforcement on May 4 at the Teamsters Local 282 union hall in Lake Success, Long Island to honor six law enforcement union leaders who work hard on behalf of their members.
This year’s award winners included President Gerward Gwinn of the Suffolk County Court Employers Association, President Dalvanie K. Powell of the United Probation Officers Association, President Ingrid Simonovic of the New York City Deputy Sheriff’s Association, President Wayne Joseph of the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Benevolent Association, President Sgt. Patrick Cullen of the NYS Court Officers Association, President Benny Boscio of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
Michael Skelly was also honored with the Labor Communications Award for his work shaping the messaging of various law enforcement unions and publicizing their members’ stories.
LaborPress’ publisher Neal Tepel hosted the ceremony and Howard Raphaelson of Raphaelson & Levine Law served as master of ceremonies.
“I am so excited and impressed that we have these really special guests from law enforcement,” said Tepel.
Gwinn, president of the 820 member Suffolk County Court Employers Association, was the first to be honored.
“It takes a compassionate person to work in the courts and to be successful at it, you must be part officer and sometimes part social worker,” Gwinn told LaborPress.
Next up was Powel, whose union represents nearly 800 probation officers working in the NYC Department of Probation and more than 400 retirees. She has served as president of the union since 2016, and is the first woman of color to hold the position.
“Every day probation officers work to give people involved in criminal justice a second chance. And at the same time, I help keep neighborhoods safe. It’s challenging but rewarding work,” Powell said to LaborPress.
Raphaelson then honored Simonovic, who is the first female president of the New York City Deputy Sheriff’s Association and has served in that capacity since 2019.
“I learned that you must always work hard to get ahead in life. No one was ever going to give you another anything for free. Accept advice, and you must always be grateful for every big or small accomplishment with dedication and discipline. Any dream could be reached,” she told LaborPress.
The next recipient was Skelly, the president of Skelly Strategic Solutions who has more than 20 years of experience running communications for law enforcement unions.
“My greatest recognition and an award comes in the form of placing a story that brings light to another’s plight when they don’t have a voice,” he told LaborPress.
Cullen of the NYS Court Officers Association accepted his award next. He leads a union that reportedly has roughly 1,400 members and staff state Supreme Courts in New York City and in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties.
“I learned from my parents that to be a leader, you must work hard, respect your work, respect your community and don’t ever take it for granted. Entry into the union came from a desire to help my coworkers. And this has made a great impact on my life and all of my work,” Cullen told LaborPress.
Last of the night to be honored was Boscio of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, which represents 5,900 active members and approximately 11,000 retirees.
“I accept this award on behalf of every New York City correction officer who is doing a very hard job today. We don’t get the credit that we nearly deserve in this city. We provide this city with public safety,” Boscio said in his remarks. “Law enforcement as a whole is really tasked with a tough job, especially in this city. Thank you for everything you do.”