Officer William Preuss

Officer William Preuss, who was injured in the line of duty by an assailant several months ago, will return to active duty with the Canastota Police Department this week.

Preuss was cleared by his doctor for light duty, which includes administrative and training functions; he suffered severe injuries to his eye and underwent multiple surgeries after the assault that occurred while attempting to apprehend a suspect in September 2022.

“We were shocked and saddened when Officer Preuss was injured and unable to return for an extended period of time,” said Mayor Rosanne Warner. “Billy is a highly respected member of the Canastota Police Department and, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I’m pleased to welcome him back to the team.”

Richard Branch, Jr., the man who assaulted Preuss, pleaded guilty in Madison County Court May 11 to first-degree robbery, a class B felony. As part of the plea agreement, Branch will serve 20 years in state prison with 10 years of post-release supervision and an order of protection. He has waived his right to appeal.

“The return of Officer Preuss to active duty is wonderful news,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Mascari. “There is no finer police officer than Bill Preuss. He has earned the utmost respect and friendship of all of those in the local law enforcement community. The senseless assault upon him in this case defies any rational explanation.

“The courage and determination with which he and his family have dealt with his injury is inspirational. While no outcome will ever be sufficient, I am happy that some small semblance of justice was obtained and that Bill was supportive of this disposition. It will be simply great to have him back.”

Preuss expressed appreciation to the community and his fellow officers for their support after his injury.

By martha

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