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State police in Columbia County receive top honors

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    Contributed photo Senior Investigator Eric Barnes with the New York State Police is awarded Troop K Supervisor of the Year on Wednesday at a ceremony held at the Poughkeepsie Grand hotel. Barnes oversees the investigation team at the Livingston barracks.
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    Trooper Brennan Keeler was honored with Troop K’s 2019 Community Service Award on Wednesday at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel in Poughkeepsie. Pictured are State police Capt. David Kolb, Capt. Kathryne Rohde, Keeler and Troop K Major Richard Mazzone.
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    Contributed photo Trooper Michael Moore, of the New York State Police, accepts the Trooper of the Year award Wednesday at a ceremony at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Moore works out of the Livingston barracks.
October 4, 2019 07:50 pm

HUDSON — Three members of the New York State Police were honored for their service of ensuring the safety of Columbia County residents.

New York State Police Troop K, which encompasses Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties, held its 26th annual awards on Wednesday night at the Poughkeepsie Grand, 40 Civic Center Plaza. Three of the awardees are from Columbia County.

Senior Investigator Eric Barnes, who oversees the investigation team at the Livingston barracks, received Troop K’s Supervisor of the Year award.

“In instance after instance, Eric has shown himself to be an outstanding supervisor and leader,” said state police Bureau of Investigations Capt. John Ryan. “I trust his judgment and I applaud his dedication. He brings out the best in his investigators as they handle virtually all state police felony cases in Columbia County from homicides to sexual predators to everything in between.”

It’s not the first time Barnes has been honored by Troop K. He received the Zone 1 Trooper of the Year Award in 2006 and the Troop K Investigator of the Year Award in 2013.

“Success follows Eric, but not by luck,” Ryan said. “It’s more like a self-determined fate. Eric is a leader who cares deeply about the mission of the state police and the community he serves, and he always seeks to do his very best and success is a consequence of truly caring.”

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka called Barnes an “exceptional leader.”

“Senior Investigator Eric Barnes is not only an exceptionally effective leader in terms of his management skills, he leads while demonstrating the existence of a moral compass that is always working and always visible,” Czajka said.

This year’s Troop K Community Service Award went to 12-year veteran Trooper Brennan Keeler, son of county Treasurer Paul “PJ” Keeler, who is Columbia County EMS coordinator and former chief of the A.B. Shaw Fire Department. Keeler works out of the Livingston barracks.

Keeler has been a member of A.B. Shaw in Claverack for 31 years. He started there as a junior member, became an active firefighter and eventually rose to the position of fire chief. He previously held the position for nine years and is one year into his second term as chief. As fire chief, he is responsible for the department’s overall operations, the purchase and maintenance of department’s fire apparatus, and personnel management of the 25 active volunteer firefighters.

Brennan has volunteered with Greenport Rescue Squad since 1990. In addition to serving as an EMT, he has served on the squad’s board of directors.

“When his department is dispatched to calls, quite often Brennan is tasked with the responsibility of incident commander,” said state police Capt. David W. Kolb. “Through his actions, Trooper Keeler reflects great credit upon himself, his family and the Division of State Police.”

Trooper Michael Moore, of Livingston, who was accompanied by his father, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore, received the Zone 1 Trooper of the Year Award. Zone 1 includes the barracks in Livingston, Kinderhook and New Lebanon in Columbia County, and Pine Plains and Rhinebeck in Dutchess County.

Michael Moore has been a member of the state police since Oct. 24, 2016, and has been stationed at the Livingston barracks since completing his field training. As of Wednesday, Michael Moore made 222 penal law arrests and 21 driving while intoxicated arrests and issued 661 traffic tickets. In addition, he handled 599 calls for service and investigated 30 motor vehicle accidents.

Typically, a trooper must have four years of service to be considered for the job of Field Training Officer, but because of Michael’s exemplary work, Capt. Kathryne Rohde’s request to allow him to become a Field Training Officer was approved.

“Mike is finishing up his first group of recruits and I am confident they were provided with excellent guidance and instruction,” Kolb said. “Trooper Moore’s body of work this past year reflects great credit upon himself, his family, and the Division of State Police. He is a dedicated, consistent and motivated trooper. More than that, he is a genuinely decent person, who will always avail himself to anyone who needs help.”

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.