Deputies help save man’s life, become Officers of the Year

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The quick thinking and heroic acts of two Albany County deputies has landed them with the title of New York State Officers of the Year.

The incident happened in September 2014 when sheriff deputies Brian Lawler and Mark Duda saw a man dangling from the roof of the judicial center.

Duda said it was a pedestrian that alerted him to the man hanging only by his fingertips and a maintenance worker clinging to the man’s t-shirt.

The man, David Schmandt, was an employee of North Coast Window Cleaning and had come unhooked from his harness while climbing over the edge.

David Schmandt, former employee of North Coast Window Cleaning
David Schmandt, former employee of North Coast Window Cleaning

The maintenance worker, Joseph Palella, said the officers came just in time.

“He was holding on by his fingertips, literally, and another ten seconds it would have been over,” Palella said. “Luckily it worked out for the best.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said their quick thinking very well could have saved the young man’s life and was proud the New York Sheriff’s Association recognized his officers.

“I think anybody would have done it,” Duda said. “Just acting to the situation and just helping somebody out.”

While Duda said Schmandt is safe today thanks to the actions of everyone involved, including Palella, everyone can agree it easily could have gone south.

“He was physically shaken,” Duda said. “He was a nervous wreck.”

“I’m just glad he is OK,” Palella said. “Just glad it worked out.”

Schmandt lives in Rochester and was not available for comment on this story. However, his coworkers said he is doing fine but no longer working for the window washing company.

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