Over the weekend, off-duty Nation Police Officer Andrew Costello quickly jumped into action to heroically rescue his neighbor who had fallen through the ice. Without Officer Costello’s quick and selfless actions, the fisherman would not have survived.

Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (February 5, 2024) – Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, joined by Oneida Indian Nation Police Chief David Verne, awarded Nation Police Officer Andrew Costello with a commendation for his heroic life-saving actions taken over the weekend while off-duty.

On Sunday, February 4, Officer Costello saw his neighbor had fallen through the ice while fishing on Oneida Lake and was in distress. Without hesitation, Officer Costello called 911 and then, relying on his police training, grabbed a ladder and immediately headed onto the ice to help. Using the ladder, Officer Costello was able to safely pull the fisherman from the ice and assisted him to shore, where they were met by Nation Police Officer Michael Grajko, members of the Bridgeport Fire Department and other law enforcement agencies. EMTs on scene reported that the fisherman’s safety float suit was severely waterlogged and if Officer Costello did not act as quickly as he did, the fisherman would not have survived.

Officer Costello has been a member of the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department for six years. He is among 34 officers at the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department, a highly decorated, professionally trained law enforcement agency. His actions over the weekend were a reflection of his commitment to the safety and well-being of all Oneida Indian Nation Members and residents of Oneida and Madison Counties – a commitment that has been a fundamental principle of the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department since its founding in 1993.


About the Oneida Indian Nation

The Oneida Indian Nation is a federally recognized Indian nation in Central New York. A founding member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy), the Oneida Indian Nation sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary War and was thanked by Congress and President George Washington for its loyalty and assistance. Today, the Oneida Indian Nation consists of about 1,000 enrolled Members, most of them living in Central New York. The Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,500 people, include Turning Stone Resort Casino, YBR Casino & Sports Book, Point Place Casino, The Lake House at Sylvan Beach, The Cove at Sylvan Beach, Maple Leaf Markets, SāvOn Convenience stores, RV Park, and marinas. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to rebuild the Nation’s economic base and provide essential services, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs, to its Members.


Media Contact:

Kelly Abdo, Director of Public Relations
Oneida Indian Nation