State Police Troopers from Troops in Eastern Connecticut received awards for service during a ceremony on May 16, 2007, at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy in Meriden.
Twice a year, the Connecticut State Police honors Troopers who demonstrate exceptional service in the line of duty. The ceremony also honors men and women serving in local and federal law enforcement agencies and those serving as first responders, as well as civilians. Award winners received medals and certificates from Department of Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III and State Police Colonel Thomas Davoren.
Awards are presented in several categories, including:
Ø The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to any person who renders service with a high degree of alertness, perseverance and superior judgment in the performance of a difficult task resulting in the protection of life, recovery of property, the prevention of – or solving of – a major crime or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person.
Ø The Lifesaving Award is presented to any person who saves a human life or makes a valiant attempt to save a life.
Ø The Outstanding Service Award is given to any person who successfully performs an extreme, complex or difficult investigation. The person also may demonstrate exceptional skill or ingenuity in the apprehension of a wanted person, provide outstanding service to the public and or continuously achieves excellence in performance of duties over an extended period of time.
Ø The Unit Citation is awarded to members of a department, a command or group who combine their resources to achieve success in an investigation or event. The citation recognizes exceptional collective efforts.
Connecticut State Police Troop C in Tolland, Troop D in Danielson, Troop E in Montville and Troop K in Colchester are proud have these award recipients from their troops.
Trooper Timothy Begley and Trooper Daniel Mainiero On January 27, 2007, at about 1 a.m., Troop C received a phone call to check on the well-being of a Stafford man. Trooper Timothy Begley and Trooper Daniel Mainiero responded to the man’s house and saw an unconscious male through a window. The man was lying on a bed with several empty bottles of prescription medicine and did not respond to the Troopers calls or repeated knocking. The Troopers forced entry into the residence and provided medical attention to the man, who slipped in and out of consciousness. He was transported to a local hospital. A doctor at the hospital said that the man had consumed a lethal combination of prescription medication and were it not for the quick actions of the responding Troopers, the man would have perished. Troopers Begley and Mainiero were awarded Medals for Lifesaving.
Detective Jeffrey Payette, Detective David Lamoureux, Eastern District Major Crime Squad On November 17, 2006, 13 people were waiting outside a Putnam retail store to purchase a new video game. At approximately 3:20 a.m., two masked, armed assailants proceeded to rob those in line. One customer was physically assaulted, knocked to the ground and struck in the head with a shotgun. During the altercation, a shot was fired from a pistol held by one of the assailants. A second assailant began to leave, then fired a shotgun blast, striking the victim in the chest and shoulder, causing serious physical injury. The assailants fled into nearby woods.
Detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad began an investigation. Putnam Police provided vital leads and the detectives conducted several interviews based on these leads. Detectives Payette and Lamoureux interviewed an individual who revealed specific information not released to the general public. The detectives gained specific details of the crime, including the identity of two additional assailants. Detectives subsequently arrested and obtained confessions from all three individuals involved in this crime and recovered physical evidence, including the firearms that had been discarded out of state.
Detectives Payette and Lamoureux received Medals for Outstanding Service; detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad received a Unit Citation.
Trooper John Jette During the months of November and December 2006, several armed bank robberies occurred in New London and Windham Counties. During these robberies, a lone masked male armed with a handgun entered banks and demanded money. After obtaining money, the suspect would flee. In every case, there was limited witness information relating to the suspect or any vehicle.
Trooper John Jette of Troop E was assigned to patrol banks in Griswold. On December 12, 2006, Trooper Jette observed a suspicious male enter a bank. Trooper Jette approached the bank, exited his vehicle and approached the entrance of the building. Trooper Jette observed that the male had donned a ski mask and was robbing the bank. Trooper Jette maintained constant visual contact with the subject and confronted him as he exited the bank, taking him into custody at gunpoint and without further incident. Trooper Jette awarded a Medal for Meritorious Service.
Sergeant Clifford Labbe, Trooper First Class Timothy Brezniak, Sergeant Eric Murray (all of Troop D) Trooper First Class Daniel McCarthy (Troop C) On August 17, 2006, Troopers responded to a Canterbury home after a 911 call reported that a female was armed with a knife and threatening suicide. Upon arrival, Troopers found the woman holding a large knife to her stomach. From a position of safety, Sgt. Labbe and Trooper Brezniak attempted to convince the woman to release the knife. Sgt. Labbe and Trooper Brezniak negotiated with the woman while medical services were staged nearby. Sgt. Murray and Trooper McCarthy, both of the State Police Tactical Unit, also responded.
Sgt. Labbe and Trooper Brezniak continued negotiations for nearly four hours until the woman intentionally cut herself with the knife, causing a laceration to her stomach. Concerned that the woman might further injure herself, Sgt. Murray and Trooper McCarthy deployed a taser to bring this incident to a safe resolution. This allowed all four Troopers to safely disarm the woman without further injury or incident and turn her over to emergency medical professionals for treatment. The four Troopers earned a Unit Citation for their work.
Trooper First Class Timothy Bentley and Trooper First Class Victor Lenda On June 1, 2006, at 1:30 p.m., Troop E received a report of a one car rollover accident on I-95 in North Stonington. Troopers Bentley and Lenda responded to the scene and observed that the male operator had been ejected from the vehicle as it went down an embankment. Troopers Bentley and Lenda climbed down the steep, brush-covered embankment, located the injured operator and pulled him to a position of safety. They then provided first aid and initiated CPR on the victim until relieved by EMS personnel. Troopers Bentley and Lenda earned Medals for Lifesaving.
Montville Officer Greg Jacobson On October 20, 2006, at 11:30 a.m., Troop E in Montville received a report of a robbery at a bank in East Lyme in which the perpetrator fled. Arriving Troopers and East Lyme officers secured the scene and conducted preliminary interviews of witnesses. Troopers obtained a physical description of the suspect and the fleeing vehicle and attempted to locate both. About 15 minutes after the robbery, Montville Officer Greg Jacobson observed a vehicle matching the description. With the assistance of other patrol personnel, the vehicle was stopped and the suspect was apprehended. A subsequent investigation and search of the accused vehicle revealed evidence of the crime, including a large amount of cash. Officer Jacobson earned an Outstanding Service award for his work.
Montville Resident Trooper Office, Troop E, Eastern District Major Crime Squad On August 7, 2006, at approximately 1 p.m., Troopers and Montville Officers from Troop E responded to a residence in Montville for a report of a forcible abduction. Troopers learned that a woman and her 10-month-old son were taken from their residence by a male suspect and placed into a waiting car. Investigators learned that the suspect was an ex-boyfriend who abducted the pair after the female victim provided information that led to the arrest of an associate of the suspect. An Amber Alert was initiated and information was distributed statewide. Troopers, Officers and Major Crime Detectives developed leads and established contact with the suspect. At approximately 4:15 p.m., Troopers arrived at a residence in Norwich and located the missing child unharmed. The search continued for the child’s mother who was clearly in danger. Major Crime personnel utilized several technological methods and cell phone calls that led to the location of the missing mother. The suspect and accomplices had changed vehicles and were believed to in Glastonbury. This information was relayed to Troopers and Glastonbury Police who located the vehicle and conducted a felony stop. The kidnapped mother was found unharmed in the vehicle and the suspect and his accomplices were taken into custody. Montville Officers, Troop E Troopers and Eastern District detectives earned a Unit Citation in this case.
Trooper First Class Patrick Dwyer, Trooper First Class Jeffrey Rhoades On July 10, 2006, Troopers Dwyer and Rhoades of Troop K responded to a Marlborough residence for a report of a man threatening to commit suicide. They looked through a garage window and observed a male victim hanging from a rope. The Troopers entered the garage, grabbed onto the victim and cut the rope from which he was hanging. The victim was convulsing as the rope was still tightly wrapped around his neck. The two Troopers worked feverishly to cut the rope from the victim’s neck. The victim became unconscious and when therope was removed from his neck, he began to breathe again and regain consciousness. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he made a full recovery. Troopers Dwyer and Rhoades were awarded Medals for Lifesaving.
Trooper First Class Steven Bellandese On November 27, 2006, Trooper Bellandese of Troop K received information that a man wanted on an outstanding felony sexual assault warrant was in Salem to recover some personal property and flee the state. Trooper Bellandese stopped a suspect vehicle in Salem in which the man sat in the passenger seat. The suspect fled into a nearby cornfield and Trooper Bellandese chased after him. The Trooper wrestled the suspect to the ground after he refused to comply with verbal commands. As the struggle ensued, the suspect pulled out a knife and plunged it into his own throat in an apparent suicide attempt. Reacting quickly, Trooper Bellandese forcibly extracted the knife and threw it a safe distance from the ongoing confrontation. Although he personally suffered injuries and cuts to his hand, Trooper Bellandese provided medical treatment to the suspect before placing him under arrest. Trooper Bellandese was awarded a Medal for Meritorious Service.
Hebron Officer Marc Rubera On February 14, 2007, Officer Rubera responded to a domestic violence call in Hebron. Upon arriving, the officer was advised of loud yelling and the breaking of furniture coming from a second floor apartment. Officer Rubera was met by a distraught female who said that her boyfriend was in a back room with his uncle and that the boyfriend had a knife. Officer Rubera entered the room to find an agitated young man holding a knife. Officer Rubera immediately drew his weapon and ordered the man to drop the knife. After being given numerous commands, the man threw the knife to the ground and lunged towards the officer. Officer Rubera quickly holstered his weapon and engaged in a physical altercation with the man. Officer Rubera was able to place a handcuff on one of the man’s wrists. With the assistance of the uncle, the man was fully secured. Officer Rubera earned an Award for Meritorious Service.
Dispatcher Emily Larson On September 28, 2006, at approximately 4:30 a.m., Colchester Emergency Communications Dispatcher Emily Larson received a call from an East Haddam man whose pregnant wife was having contractions and that she felt like pushing. Dispatcher Larson calmly talked to the man and guided him through the delivery of the baby. Dispatcher Larson told him to support the baby’s head, clear the baby’s airway and clean the baby’s mouth and nose. After delivery of the baby, she told him to tie off the umbilical cord using a shoelace. Larson remained calm during the entire incident and constantly reassured the anxious father. Sergeant Christopher Sharland of Troop K witnessed the superior efforts of Dispatcher Larson during this entire event. She was instrumental in bringing this healthy baby into the world with her calming demeanor and her knowledge of emergency procedures. Dispatcher Larson was presented with a Commissioner’s Recognition award.
US Army Staff Sergeant David J. Farrell, US Army Corporal Stephen K. Taylor On November 9, 2006, the operator of a vehicle on Interstate 395 in Plainfield lost control of her vehicle and collided with guardrails on the highway. The vehicle then continued across both lanes of travel, struck guardrails in the center median and burst into flames. Staff Sgt. Farrell and Corporal Taylor witnessed the crash. The active duty soldiers stopped, approached the burning vehicle and pulled the operator to safety. The operator sustained injuries as a result of this accident. She told the investigating Trooper that she was disoriented and didn’t realize what had occurred until these two soldiers removed her from the vehicle. If not for the timely and heroic actions of these two soldiers, the operator would likely have perished in this fire due to her disorientation and the intensity of this fire. Staff Sgt. Farrell and Corporal Taylor were presented with Commissioner’s Recognition awards.