Vector Security Names First Falcone Scholarship Winner

The winner of the 2011 John Falcone Scholarship Program, Janeen Bligen, will be heading to Cazenovia College to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Bligen, who will begin her studies in the fall of 2011, says the additional assistance of the Vector Security scholarship will help her realize her dreams.

“I will continue to move forward at Cazenovia College,” Bligen said.

Located in Central New York, 19 miles southeast of Syracuse, Cazenovia College is an independent, coeducational college offering baccalaureate programs in the liberal arts and professional studies.

“I am so blessed and will remember those who have helped me this far. All I can say is I thank you, and I cannot describe what this means to me,” Bligen said.

When Poughkeepsie, N.Y. police officer, John Falcone, responded to a domestic dispute call on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, the 18-year veteran of the Poughkeepsie City Police Department would end up giving his life to save a 3-year-old kidnap victim. The selfless act did not go unnoticed by Hammond Security, the newest branch of Vector Security, which responded by establishing a scholarship program in the fallen officer’s name to help fund the educational needs of those pursuing careers in law enforcement or criminal justice.

According to Vector’s Kim Sears, even small city police forces need to be prepared to encounter events like this.

“Police officers know that domestic disturbance calls are some of the most dangerous types they can be dispatched to. Usually victims and assailants are in a highly troubled state of mind, and are making choices based upon the emotion of the moment. This crime, in particular, depicts how whole families can be impacted, to include both that of the child and of the police officer as well.”

In this instance, the child’s father was holding the 3-year-old and waving a pistol when Officer Falcone arrived on the scene. After wrestling the child free from his kidnapper, a struggle for the weapon ensued and Officer Falcone was fatally shot in the head in the exchange. The shooter then committed suicide. The shooter’s estranged wife was found dead in a nearby automobile and police theorize that the man shot his wife first, kidnapped his son and then met up with Officer Falcone.

The Hammond/Vector Security Scholarship for Careers in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice has been created to support and inspire an exceptional student.

“What better way can you keep a hero’s memory alive? This program rewards a man or woman who wants to serve the public as Officer Falcone did,” Sears said.

Vector offered the scholarship through the City of Poughkeepsie High School, with the inaugural award occurring with the 2011 graduating class.

Cazenovia Colllege also agrees that her future studies at their facility will honor Officer Falcone’s memory.

“We look forward to Janeen’s arrival on campus as a criminal justice and homeland security studies major, and the education that Janeen will receive at Cazenovia College will be a fitting living memorial to Officer Falcone," said Stewart Weisman, professor and director of the program.

The CJHSS program provides students with the tools they need to enter into a career in the expanding field of law enforcement, the emerging area of homeland security, or to pursue a graduate degree or attend law school, and is designed to educate students to be critical thinkers who communicate effectively, and who act in an ethical manner.

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