Schuyler County Deputy Sheriff Andrew Yessman has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Deputy of the Year Award by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute. He is the 37th recipient of the statewide honor.
This coveted award, established in 1977, is given annually to a deputy sheriff who has displayed outstanding courage and heroism in the line of duty. Deputy Yessman was selected from nominations from across the state.
Deputy Yessman was honored with his prestigious distinction at the Sheriffs’ Institute’s Annual Heroes’ Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the Sheriffs’ Association’s Mid-Winter Training Conference in Albany.
Sheriff William Yessman, Schuyler County, was driving through the Village of Burdett and heard a gunshot that apparently had struck his vehicle. He pulled over a short distance away and was approached by two women inquiring if his vehicle had been shot, too. Their car’s tire had been flattened by a bullet. He immediately radioed for additional units.
Undersheriff Breck Spaulding, Deputy Sheriff Andrew Yessman and State Trooper Todd Cross responded. Trooper Cross had driven by the area of shootings as had about 20 other vehicles and no more shots had been fired. The Sheriff decided to conduct neighborhood interviews in an effort find the shooter.
Deputy Yessman and Trooper Cross proceeded on foot to conduct the interviews. A short time later they confronted a man standing on the porch of a house. He was concealing half his body in the front doorway. The officers started walking toward the house when the subject yelled “that’s far enough”. When asked to repeat himself he uttered the same phrase and stepped out of the doorway revealing a high powered rifle. Both officers took cover and Deputy Yessman radioed that they had confronted an armed subject with a high powered rifle.
Undersheriff Spaulding attempted to move closer to scene in his vehicle. The suspect then stepped out on the porch and fired bullets into the Undersheriff’s windshield. He quickly exited the vehicle and retreated to a position of safety. Deputy Yessman was behind a tree on the opposite side of the road. Revealing his position Deputy Yessman fired, hitting the porch rail. The suspect raised his rifle to fire at the Deputy Yessman, who fired his second shot just missing the suspect. But the narrow miss resulted in the suspect retreating into the house.
Deputy Yessman saw the Undersheriff’s unmarked vehicle slowly rolling through the yard and onto an embankment. Seeing no movement he thought the Undersheriff had been seriously injured. He didn’t know that the Undersheriff had escaped from the vehicle. He slowly worked his way, exposing himself to additional gun fire; to a position that he could see the vehicle was unoccupied. He got a service rifle out of the rear of the car and established a position where he could better observe the suspect.
Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police negotiators spent the next two and a half hours convincing the shooter to surrender, which he did.
It was later learned that the suspect, who was under the effects of Methamphetamine, had been targeting unmarked vehicles from the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office. The first vehicle, with the two women inside, resembled an unmarked car used the Sheriff’s Office.
In presenting the Deputy of the Year Award to Deputy Yessman, Sheriff Ron Spike, Yates County and Chairman of the Sheriffs’ Institute said, “You showed bravery, intelligence and you used the outstanding law enforcement training that has been provided to you to bring a volatile situation under control without injury to others.”
Photo caption – Deputy Sheriff Andrew Yessman, center, proudly displays the 2012 Deputy of the Year Award as his Sheriff and father, William Yessman and his mother Anne proudly look on.