Pennsylvania State Police Aviation Mechanics, Computer Crime Task Force Leader Receive Governor’s Awards for Excellence

Harrisburg, PA – Colonel Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), today commended three employees with the department’s Aviation Maintenance Unit and the supervisor of the Southeast Computer Crime Task Force Unit after all received recognition for their exemplary public service as recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence.

“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,” Colonel Paris said. “It is an honor to serve with them.”

Corporal Nikos Bilianis, supervisor of the Southeast Computer Crime Task Force Unit, Aviation Maintenance manager Brian Cavada, and helicopter mechanics Carl “Nate” Swiger and Mitchell Walker received the prestigious award Monday during a ceremony in the State Museum auditorium.

In 2023, from a single tip reported in Pennsylvania to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Corporal Bilianis effectuated the arrests of multiple individuals throughout the country who victimized children, produced child sexual abuse material, and distributed photographs and videos online. Previously unknown to law enforcement, this multi-state sharing ring used sophisticated technology to conceal their identities and avoid detection.

Corporal Bilianis went above and beyond typical investigative practices, applying all available resources to identify, locate, and effect the arrests of these individuals. He used his expertise in encrypted applications to derail the actors’ attempts to disguise themselves, all in addition to his duties of supervising the Southeast Computer Crime Task Force.

Corporal Bilianis’ efforts resulted in locating and saving a 2-year-old girl from years of further sexual abuse. His use of numerous non-traditional investigative methods pinpointed the address of a previously unknown out-of-state actor, saving a teenage girl from being further victimized without her knowledge and preventing her from physical assault, as the actor reportedly desired. Due to his investigative determination, two of those arrested will never open a daycare, as they intended, to facilitate their abuse of children.

In 2023, when the PSP engaged in two high-profile searches for dangerous prison escapees, the Aviation Section saw a 20 percent increase in total hours flown from the previous year. The Aviation Maintenance Unit worked tirelessly to ensure that mechanical issues were addressed immediately, in addition to completing the necessary maintenance on all PSP aircraft. The enormous efforts of these employees ensured that not one mission was declined due to a mechanical or maintenance issue.

The Aviation Section logged more than 180 hours of flight time during a 14-day search for one of the escapees, who said after his capture that the constant presence of a helicopter hampered his movement. That response and operational tempo could not have been possible without the incredible efforts of PSP’s helicopter mechanics.

In addition to their duties as helicopter mechanics, these employees took active roles in providing maintenance support for the PSP's fixed-winged aircraft. This enormous undertaking increased the productivity of the Aviation Section by lessening the need to outsource their aircraft maintenance. In 2023, the Maintenance Unit completed 88 percent of all aircraft maintenance themselves, the highest percentage in the unit's history.

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence recognize Commonwealth employees for exemplary job performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation and/or increased efficiency. Fifty-six employees from 12 agencies received awards for accomplishments in 2023.

Media Contacts

Adam Reed

State Police Media

Myles Snyder

State Police Media