Pennsylvania State Police Honored for Exceptional Service

Pennsylvania State PoliceCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), recently commended four outstanding employees for their exceptional public service. These individuals received the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, recognizing their dedication and impact in their respective roles.

Recognizing Heroic Efforts

Corporal Nikos Bilianis, Aviation Maintenance manager Brian Cavada, and helicopter mechanics Carl “Nate” Swiger and Mitchell Walker were honored during a ceremony at the State Museum auditorium. Their extraordinary efforts in 2023 earned them this prestigious award.

Combating Child Exploitation

Corporal Bilianis, supervisor of the Southeast Computer Crime Task Force Unit, played a pivotal role in dismantling a multi-state child exploitation ring. What began as a single tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children resulted in multiple arrests across the country. These individuals were involved in producing and distributing child sexual abuse material.

Bilianis utilized advanced investigative techniques and encrypted applications to track down these perpetrators. His work led to the rescue of a 2-year-old girl from further abuse and prevented a teenage girl from being victimized. He also thwarted plans by two individuals who intended to open a daycare to facilitate their abuse. His efforts not only brought criminals to justice but also safeguarded vulnerable children.

Aviation Unit’s Tireless Commitment

The PSP’s Aviation Section faced increased demands in 2023, notably during high-profile searches for dangerous prison escapees. The unit saw a 20 percent increase in flight hours compared to the previous year. The Aviation Maintenance Unit, led by Brian Cavada and supported by mechanics Carl Swiger and Mitchell Walker, ensured all aircraft were mission-ready.

Their relentless work meant that no mission was declined due to mechanical issues. During a 14-day search for one escapee, the Aviation Section logged over 180 hours of flight time. This intense operational tempo hindered the escapee’s movements, ultimately leading to his capture.

In addition to helicopter maintenance, these employees also serviced PSP’s fixed-wing aircraft, reducing the need for outsourcing. In 2023, the Maintenance Unit completed 88 percent of all aircraft maintenance in-house, a record achievement for the team.

Recognizing PSP Heroes: Upholding Safety and Service

These awards highlight the critical roles played by PSP personnel in ensuring public safety. Corporal Bilianis’ work in combating child exploitation demonstrates the importance of advanced investigative skills and technology in protecting vulnerable populations. The Aviation Maintenance Unit’s dedication underscores the significance of efficient and reliable support systems in law enforcement operations.

Colonel Paris praised the awardees, stating, “I am proud of the outstanding initiative and leadership shown by these four remarkable individuals, the dedication and commitment with which they carry out their jobs, and the valuable service they provide to the people of Pennsylvania.”

The recognition of these PSP employees serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to public service. Their efforts have not only made Pennsylvania safer but have also set a standard for excellence within the state police force.

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