DATE/TIME: Wednesday, October 26th, 2005 / 03:30 PM

The Schenectady Police and Fire Departments have been chosen as joint recipients of the 2005 New York State Fire Administrators Award for Excellence in Arson Programs. This prestigious award is bestowed annually to recognize accomplishments in arson investigation.

This year’s award honors the combined efforts of the Police and Fire Departments, the Florida State Fire Marshals Office, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the identification, apprehension and conviction of serial arsonist Benjamin Harris, who was responsible for more than 75 intentionally set fires in New York and Florida.

The award will be presented at a ceremony at the Annual Fall Arson Seminar Training Program in Montour Falls, New York on Thursday, November 3rd.

Mayor Brian Stratton stated, “On behalf of all Schenectadians, I want to express the congratulations and thanks of a grateful community to the men and women of the Schenectady Police and Fire Departments for this award, and for the work they do every day to protect and serve.”

Chief of Police Michael Geraci said, “It is an honor for our departments to be presented with this distinguished award. It is rewarding to know that the tireless work of our investigators is appreciated and formally recognized.”

Fire Chief Robert Farstad stated, “This is a great accomplishment for our investigators in partnering with Florida and federal officials to take a very dangerous serial arsonist off the streets. This award highlights the work our team does on a daily basis.”