NYPD Officer Peter Cybulski of Flanders receives the department's Medal for Valor yesterday at ceremonies at NYPD police headquarters. (Courtesy photo)

Riverhead native Peter Cybulski was honored by NYPD yesterday with a Medal for Valor, the department’s third-highest award.

The medal is “granted for acts of outstanding personal bravery performed in the line of duty and at imminent personal hazard to life, under circumstances evincing disregard for personal consequence,” according to an NYPD press release.

Cybulski, 27, a 2009 graduate of Riverhead High School and a was one of 15 members of the service who received the Medal for Valor yesterday.

He was cited for his courage in removing a device believed to be a bomb from a crowded Times Square street in July 2016.

NYPD Police Officer Peter Cybulski yesterday after Medal Day ceremonies. Courtesy photo: June Cybulski

Cybulski and his partner, Sergeant Hameed Armani, were sitting in a parked patrol car just before 11:35 p.m. on July 20, 2016 when a man pulled up beside them, threw a package into the car’s window, and zoomed away.

The package began to blink a flashing light.

“Boss, this is a bomb,” Cybulski said to Armani.

They looked at each other and knew what they had to do.

“It was a very crowded area,” Cybulski recounted at a press conference the following morning. “There were multiple children around, multiple families around. We weren’t going to let this take out other people with us.”

So Armani threw on the car’s siren and sped away.

“We were trying to get as fast as possible away from the crowd,” Armani said at the press conference.

They prayed aloud with each other as they drove, Cybulski holding the flashing package in his lap. It was only when they were at a safe distance from the crowds that they pulled over, jumped out of the car and placed the package on the sidewalk for inspection.

The bomb turned out to be a hoax, but the perceived danger and the courage mustered by the young officer and his sergeant were real.

Armani, now a lieutenant, was also honored with the Medal for Valor yesterday.

The 2019 Medal Day Ceremony took place at One Police Plaza. Medals were presented by Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The officers parents, June and Peter Cybulski, his fiancee Brittany Rocco and his sister Jessica Tenney attended the ceremony.

Cybulski was also one of the first officers on the scene of a deadly attack in Times Square in May 2017, when a Bronx man plowed a car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring 18 others. He administered first aid to numerous people that day.

He has also been honored with the Suffolk County Distinguished Service Medal, in addition to other NYPD honors, including a Cop of the Month award at his former precinct in Brooklyn.

“We’re so proud of him,” his mother June said today.

Cybulski, who lives in Flanders, joined NYPD in July 2013, after graduating from St. John’s University, where he served two years with NYPD Police Cadets. He graduated from the police academy on Dec. 27, 2013 and did his first tour of duty on New Year’s Eve.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.